by Anne Shaw Heinrich for the Healthy Planet
With a full-time job, a wife, twin four-year-old daughters and a baby on the way, Fontbonne University OPTIONS student Brandon Palmer doesn't have a lot of time to waste. In fact, it was the program's accelerated, streamlined approach to earning a degree that appealed to him. After nearly a year of research, he chose Fontbonne OPTIONS over other programs in the area that also serve non-traditional students. A convenient North County location also made the decision an easy one.
The thirty-year-old client relations manager lives in North County, and OPTIONS offers a unique program for working adults with little or no college credit: Gateway. Designed to help students like Palmer get a jumpstart on their bachelor's degrees, Gateway consists of a sequence of general education courses that can be completed in about 18 months. Palmer started in July 2005 and will wrap up Gateway in December 2006.
He's not stopping there. In January, he'll begin coursework for the OPTIONS Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Studies degree (BOS), one of many undergraduate and graduate degrees offered by OPTIONS.
"I think the BOS will help me get a better understanding of the big picture and how organizations are structured, how they work," says Palmer, an eight-year employee of TALX Corporation, a full-service provider of outsource human resources management.
Being back in student mode after such a long stint away from the classroom was a bit intimidating in the beginning.
"Once I got started though, I realized, 'Hey, I can do this'," he says.
In the long term, Palmer has already set his sights on a graduate degree, but says he's not exactly sure how any of his additional education will play out just yet.
"I'm very happy with my job right now," he says. "But you never know what's ahead. My education will make me a more valuable candidate when new opportunities come along."
Palmer says his children also keep him motivated to achieve the highest levels possible.
"There aren't many in my family who have a college education," he says. "I guess I want to start a long-standing tradition of family members who are college graduates. How can I expect my children to work for something if I haven't done it myself?"
OPTIONS degree programs begin throughout the year at several convenient locations: Clayton, South County, North County, Chesterfield and downtown St. Louis.
Fontbonne University has been a provider of high-quality educational programs for more than 80 years. For more information about your OPTIONS, call 314-863-2220 or visit the website at www.fontbonne.edu/options.
with permission, copyright (2006) Healthy Planet