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College of Extended Learning

A University Degree is Closer Than You Think

A University Degree is Closer Than You Think

You are a mid-career adult and never had the chance to finish a university degree. You want to invest in your career and want to take on a new challenge. The University of New Brunswick’s College of Extended Learning (UNB CEL) can help you reach your educational goals.

After graduating from high school in 1993, Ian Kennedy went directly on to study at university. After two years he decided to leave his studies to embark on a career with the military.

Even though he had every intention of getting back into school, the opportunity never arose until after a 25-year career in the military. He decided it was time to complete what he had started so many years ago.

Reaching out to the University of New Brunswick College of Extended Learning (UNB CEL) to explore his options, he discovered the Bachelor of Integrated Studies (BIS), UNB’s degree completion program designed for adult learners.

“The BIS was appealing because of UNB's transfer credit and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) policies. I was able to transfer credits into the program from my previous university courses, military experience, and from Red Seal credits.”

His first step was connecting with Lorna Campbell, academic advisor for the program, who first introduced him UNB’s PLA process.

“Lorna worked closely with me throughout the entire process; she was a great guide and very supportive.”

Ian was granted academic credits from three different sources outside of UNB.

BIS is a 120-credit hour (ch) program, where students are required to complete a minimum of 45ch from UNB coursework (online or on-campus), and a maximum of 75ch can be transferred from other sources.

In Ian’s case, he received 39ch in transfer credit from his university courses, 15ch in credit equivalencies from his military training, and 21ch for his Red Seal designation.

“This saved a significant amount of money in tuition fees and two and a half years of schooling in the process.”

Ian encourages more military members to take advantage of the BIS program because it is a tremendous opportunity for growth.

“The greatest benefit of the whole experience for me was it brought closure to my lingering question of ‘where could I have gone had I finished my degree?’”

“It opened my eyes to new learning; I feel like there was a pause put on to my personal development for a long time and enrolling in the program opened me up to a whole new world of learning and expanded interests.”

Even though Ian completed his degree and did exceptionally well (he was on the Dean’s List during his time at UNB), it wasn’t always easy.

“After being out of high school for 20 or more years you need to learn how to be a student again, and a lot has changed since the 90s. When I started my learning journey it was tremendously daunting, everything from using the online learning platform to relearning how to write a paper using APA format, it was all challenging.”

UNB offers services to help adult learners ease back into the world of higher education such as writing and study skill and math help centres to workshops on time management.

Ian’s next steps are to pursue career opportunities in project management or investment management. With his new-found passion for learning, he wants to do his Masters in Business Administration eventually. His next learning goal is to acquire French language training which will be beneficial for work in the public service in Canada.

Ian’s advice to anyone returning to school as a mature learner is, "Take the first step, and if you fail, get back on the horse. Keep it simple and stay focused on the goal.”

“For me, it was worth the journey.”

For information on UNB’s Prior Learning Assessment process visit go.unb.ca/pla or contact Lorna Campbell, Adult Learner Services Coordinator, at (506) 458-7976 or lorna@unb.ca.

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