Category Archives: Graduation and Transfer

Parkland Pathway to the U of I: Is It for You?

You’ve always wanted to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but you find the size of the place huge, the cost seems overwhelming, or perhaps your grades aren’t quite what they need to be. Parkland Pathway to Illinois could be an option for you!

Parkland Pathway is a two-year program where you attend Parkland College for your general education classes but can also take one class a semester at the UIUC. At the end of the two years, you are guaranteed a slot into the junior class in your major as long as you have maintained the college GPA for transfer.

You would get the benefit of small classes with dedicated faculty  from Parkland combined with the enormous opportunities available at a world-class institution like the University of Illinois. Plus, your tuition will be based on your Parkland residency rate. Parkland Pathway really is the “best of both worlds.”

If you are a soon-to-graduate high school senior or are a junior who would like more information, please sign up to attend a special Parkland Pathway Information Open House coming up Sunday, Feb. 12 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the Parkland campus. In addition to an overall explanation of the program, counselors from each of the UIUC participating colleges will be present with their Parkland counterpart. Come and get answers to both your Parkland and UIUC questions.

For more information and to RSVP for this event, please click here.

[Mary Kay Smith is the student services advisor for Parkland’s  Admissions and Records office.]

Three Good Reasons to Take an Online Course

Usually, when you see this headline, you expect to see reasons like “greater convenience” or “lower costs” or “a more comfortable learning environment.” And while all of these are true, here are three reasons to take an online course you might not have considered.

1. Technology education. Most, if not all students will be working with “others” sometime in their future careers. To be successful, the use of technology is very important. Taking online courses now at Parkland College helps prepare you to communicate with others using today’s technology, including virtual meetings and collaborations through email and social media devices. Business and management instructor Mark Kesler says he encourages all of his students to be comfortable in the online learning environment: “I highly recommend all my students take at least one online class before they leave Parkland.”

2. Cultural diversity. Students all around the world take Parkland’s online courses. By enrolling in an online course, you get the chance to meet students from other countries. Students benefit mutually from learning about each others’ cultures and educational and life experiences. Often, you can get a “study abroad” experience without leaving the comfort of your own home.

3. Career skill-building. Taking an online class requires discipline, punctuality, and self-motivation, all excellent skills to have in the workforce. Online courses create a solid foundation that prepares you for your next step, whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution or starting your career.

So, while online courses are recommended for their quality instruction, transferability, and affordability, they offer so much more than just that for students. Online courses can provide a broad experience that shapes the future of your employment and life goals.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead, sign up for an online class today!

[Lori Wendt is the learning management system specialist for the Professional Development and Instructional Technology department at Parkland College.]

***Parkland celebrates National Distance Learning Week, Nov. 7-11.***

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.]

 

Degree Completion Day, Sept. 27

Parkland College’s next Degree Completion Day event is coming Wednesday, Sept. 27.

But you might ask, “Why should I graduate? I’m getting my bachelor’s degree in a couple of years.”  Here why:

  • Who wants you to graduate? Your parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, favorite Parkland Instructor, advisor—all those that care about you, that’s who. It’s not always just about what you want.
  • You have spent countless hours in class and trip after trip to Parkland. Why wouldn’t you want to graduate?
  • It looks good on your Parkland transcript, shows accomplishment on your resume, and can enable you to move up in the workplace. If you are transferring to a university, it can make for a smoother transition and save you from having to take extra general education courses at that university.
  • If you are completing a career program, graduation may be required to verify with future employers. Probably most important of all, you’ve earned it!

Come out to Degree Completion Day in the Student Union (U building) from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and find out more about graduating and how it could benefit you.

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

 

It Only Matters How You Finish!

Parkland College Student Trustee Crystal Bates (above, third from right) details below her determined journey to get to, and succeed at, Parkland College.

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Life threw me a couple of curve balls long before I had ever chosen to take swing at bat:

I was recruited by the US Navy at age 17 and spent two years doing secure communications in a foreign land. I had joined because my options were to go to college, join the military, or enter the workforce with zero training or experience.

I came back home and the years slipped away from me; I was busy trying to have fun with the least amount of responsibility possible. I worked retail for almost 10 years before retail took a big hit because of the tight economics. The job was not fulfilling, and each day I dreamed of how I could escape this tedious work that made me feel so mundane. Soon, I was laid off from my job and so worked various short-term jobs to pay the bills and take care of my daughter.

Next thing I knew, four more years had passed, and I was pregnant with twins! This was a shock; I believe that most of that pregnancy I really thought the doctors were kidding. After 34 weeks in, we found out that one of the twins was in distress and had to be delivered immediately. Realization set in when I was holding two healthy, and happy babies. Now I was a mother of three. This was my title, my work. But all the while, I’m dreaming of a better life for my children and me. How was I ever going to accomplish anything with three small children? With passion and unbridled determination.

I had a fire burning inside me, and the only way to put it out was to invest in myself for the benefit of my children, myself, and others. Dreams that I was in school, receiving an education that no one would ever be able to take away from me, drew me to Parkland College, where I knew they held the keys to my dreams.

Application for admission, assessments, orientation, student ID—before long, I was officially a Cobra! Upon meeting with a counselor, she revealed the degree of my dreams: Associates of Arts in Psychology. I signed up for fall classes immediately. Was I nervous? Super nervous.

As a matter of fact, I would come early just so I could find friends to keep the panic attacks at bay. The circle of friends I have made have been some of the best friends a person could ask for! We help each other with assignments and are there for each other for social and emotional support. These connections with students and our professors has kept me at Parkland for my (now) fifth year, as a nontraditional student.

I have had to take longer than most, but I graduate in the spring of 2017. Has it taken me longer than that of traditional students? Sure it has, but I have a 3.2 overall GPA, all because I took considerable time on assignments and made sure that my grades were a high priority. Also, because I have determination and passion, I have held two offices in Student Government. I started out as a student senator and have currently been voted and sworn in as student trustee.

My time at Parkland is coming to an end, and I am so sad. This is such a great institution with amazing professionals who make it their personal goal to see each and every student succeed. I have been so fortunate to have built such amazing social connections because Parkland feels like an educational “family”. Besides fantastic professors, the Center for Academic Success has assisted me in ensuring that my GPA is as solid as it is. CAS is an amazing tool that each and every student has access to. I cannot speak highly enough about our tutors and our Writing Lab! Use these free tools that help make each one of us better students and extremely qualified professionals in our chosen field of study.

Has it been hard to go to school with little kids? Of course. It is a balancing act, just the same as daily life is. But I decided to tip the scales in my favor and invest in my personal academic path. Do I plan to transfer? Absolutely. I am not done yet. I have developed an addiction to learning as much as I can, as long as I can. The end result will be a mater’s degree in clinical psychology. Being a veteran, I feel I have a duty to help my brothers and sisters in their struggles to maintain normalcy, and this is whom I hope to work with, for the most part.