Don’t Let a Good Degree Go to Waste

Many transfer students leave Parkland College before receiving their transfer degree. They often tell us 1) they thought it was done automatically or 2) officially graduating didn’t matter because they were pursuing their bachelor’s degree.

Here are our replies to those thoughts:

  1. Unfortunately, there is no way for Parkland College to graduate you “automatically,” because we need to know when you’ve finished and then perform a degree audit to make sure you’ve completed all the required course work.
  2. The idea that your transfer associate’s degree doesn’t matter couldn’t be more wrong. For example, your Parkland degree can make your transition to a university much easier by expediting your general education credits. Plus, you’ve earned this academic credential!

So, do you think you’ve earned enough credits at Parkland to receive your degree?

To be sure, login to my.Parkland and select Academic Profile (under “WebAdvisor for Students”). From there, you can conduct a degree audit yourself. Alternatively, you can contact Counseling and Advising to assist you.

It’s not too late to see if you “forgot to graduate!” Contact Dennis or Beth in the Admissions office, at 217/353-2634, or call 217/351-2887 for any questions.

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland College Admissions and Records.]


5 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

Hopefully you’ve already seen Communication major Scott Christopher’s introduction last week, as he began his life-changing educational experiences in Spain. In this latest post, Scott entices all students to try study abroad, listing some fabulous reasons for doing so.

Remember, anyone can study abroad; I have people of all ages and backgrounds go on these trips. We have 10-day, 4-week, and 15-week programs available at a variety of times in the academic year.

Enjoy some tapas for me, Scott!


I now have firsthand knowledge of what culture shock is! But I also know that it just takes a few deep breaths and a little bit of time to overcome it. Despite the difficulties of living day-to-day life in a foreign country and speaking a language that is relatively new to me, I have survived. I have just completed week number two of my first semester studying abroad, and the experience has been all I thought it would be and more.

I have been in Seville, Spain, for 14 days and am already beginning to see how this experience will impact the rest of my life. I have spent the last year of my life contemplating pros and cons, researching Spanish culture, practicing the language, and wondering if the investment is worth it. I can say with confidence that it is!  I made a serious commitment and left behind the comforts of home in order to further my education, and I recommend every college student do the same. There are many reasons why studying abroad is a wise decision. Here are just five of them.

Resume. Students whose main objective for pursuing a college degree is to increase employment opportunities should put study abroad at the top of their list. The workplace is becoming increasingly diverse, and companies are looking for employees who have an understanding of other cultures. Therefore, a solid candidate is one who possesses intercultural competency and an ability to speak multiple languages, two skills that are immediately put to the test when studying in a foreign country.

Immersion. There is only so much a student can learn sitting at a desk. The classroom is a great setting to gain knowledge about any given field of study but, as many students already know, learning how to apply that knowledge is essential to developing a career. The process of learning a new language is much the same. I have taken three Spanish courses at Parkland and have spent hours memorizing vocabulary and verb conjugation. I’ve learned more about the language in the last two weeks than I did during those three semesters. Studying was a great way to prepare myself but actually being immersed has forced me to understand the nuances and begin to think in a “Spanish” way, which has been a truly stimulating experience for me.

Networking. In the short amount of time I’ve been here in Spain, I have already made new friends as well as professional acquaintances. In my opinion, meeting new people and increasing the Rolodex is just as important to career ambitions as developing a well-rounded portfolio or an impressive resume. To have contacts in other countries increases the reach of my social circle. It also fosters more global awareness and provides different perspectives on worldly issues. My social and professional life will be forever changed because the connections I’ve made here.

Culture. Spending a significant amount of time in another country gives students the benefit of moving beyond the limitations of being a tourist and helps them adopt new ways of thinking and living. I began my journey in Paris, France, and have been to multiple cities since then. I have been lucky enough to spend time in different houses and hostels around France as well as in Madrid and Barcelona. I spent at least a few days in each location and made an effort to interact with the locals, which has actually been pretty easy to do! Studying outside of America has helped me realize what it’s like to be a foreigner as well as develop a better understanding of my own culture. I’ve also gotten an outside perspective on the United States and how American culture is viewed here in Europe. I think that this insight and knowledge is very beneficial to my intellectual development and is valuable to me no matter what career path I choose to take. Interacting with people from various cultural backgrounds has been enlightening in many ways for me.

Experience. Studying abroad has presented me with a myriad of challenges. Whether it was dealing with the feeling of being homesick or confronting the uneasiness of culture shock, these adverse situations provided me an opportunity to grow and have boosted my self-confidence. I have bonded with travelers from all over the world as well as other American students who have had the same kind of experiences. In many ways, studying abroad is a good excuse to visit new lands and learn about new cultures. Once inside Europe, it is relatively cheap and easy to travel to multiple countries and experience multiple cultures. There are many new activities and customs to experience that aren’t available in the States. All of this adds up to a rewarding and enriching experience for those who are curious about the world and a new way of life different than what they are accustomed to.

***The Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs and Parkland College work together to provide opportunities for Parkland students to study abroad. Multiple programs in various countries are available every semester. Students interested in enrolling should contact study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton via email at for more information.

[Associate Professor Jody Littleton teaches speech communication and serves as Parkland’s Study Abroad coordinator.]

Parkland Study Abroad: Meet Scott Christopher

What’s the first thing a student tells me when they come back from study abroad? This was the best experience of my life and has changed my life forever.” I encourage you to follow Communication major Scott Christopher on his life-changing experience abroad and live vicariously through him until you can go on your own Parkland study abroad! In this first video, Scott introduces himself and a few new friends.

Remember, anyone can study abroad; I have people of all ages and backgrounds go on these trips. We have 10-day, 4-week, and 15-week programs available at a variety of times in the academic year.

***The Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs and Parkland College work together to provide opportunities for Parkland students to study abroad. Multiple programs in various countries are available every semester. Students interested in enrolling should contact study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton via email at for more information.

HS Students Invited to Try Ag/Engineering/Tech Jobs

Regional high school juniors and seniors will soon compete in pit crew contests, spark plug challenges, carpentry contests, and other hands-on events introducing future career options in agriculture, engineering, and related technologies.

The annual Parkland College Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies Open House is happening Friday, October 14.

Parkland’s state-of-the-art lab spaces will host the day’s events. The Parkhill Applied Technology Center, the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center, and the Construction Education Alliance (Parkland on Mattis) simulate on-the-job conditions using industry-recognized equipment.

Students will choose two innovative sessions from automotive; collision repair; diesel power; electrical power; industrial technology and welding; construction management; engineering science; and agriculture, precision ag, and horticulture. Each session will last 40 minutes and provide a hands-on, career-exploration activity.

High schools are encouraged to bring groups of interested students. However, parents/guardians are also invited to bring their high schooler to the event should the local high school choose not to participate. Every participant will receive a free T-shirt and lunch.

Please visit for more information and to register. Registration is required by September 28.

Alum’s Career Has Gone to the Dogs (and Cats, Etc.)

From the time she was eight years old, Linda March wanted to be a veterinarian and had planned accordingly. “I applied to and was accepted to the University of Illinois as a graduating senior in high school,” she recently related.

But, as is the case for many students, life had other ideas in mind.

“I decided that I was going to get married instead,” she said, laughing.  “I was young and in love and didn’t go to school.”

The desire to pursue her lifelong passion never faded, however, although it was sidetracked for a while by the birth of her two children. “When they were young, I decided I still wanted to be a veterinarian,” Linda reminisced. “I started Parkland when Heather (oldest child) was about five.”

Parkland was able to help Linda coordinate her class schedule with her busy life as a mom. She was able eventually to complete her studies and graduate.

“I took one class at a time until the kids got into school,” she said. “Then I was able to go full time. Parkland took me five years instead of two.”

Linda transferred to the University of Illinois to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. She said it wasn’t easy being a working parent of two rowdy kids, while going to school,

“They always seemed to fight when I had a paper to do!” she remarked.  Yet through dogged persistence and passion, she accomplished her goal: in 1996 this wife and mother became wife, mother, and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine!

In 2003, after seven years of working at the Paris Vet Hospital in Paris, Illinois, Dr. March was able to realize another lifelong dream. She opened her own practice, the Red Barn Veterinary Clinic, LLC in Sidney, Illinois, where she is celebrating her twentieth year as a vet.

A passion for animals. A dream. The willpower to see it through to its conclusion. These are the tools that Dr. March brought with her. A flexible, convenient schedule of affordable classes. Instructors who matched her passion for knowledge. That’s what Parkland offered Dr. March as she began her academic journey, and it’s what Parkland still offers 30 years later.


[To get started finishing your degree, contact Tony Hooker with the Parkland College Adult Re-entry Center at or 217/351-2462.]