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Oklahoma's Reach Higher program seeks to help adult students return to college

by Silas Allen Published: July 28, 2013
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“If you're in Durant, you can't just drive up to the city for a class,” Blanke said.

The program offers two-year and four-year degree programs. Part of the program's goal is to help students take courses from several different institutions without needing to drive all around the state, Blanke said.

For example, if a student at Murray State College needed a course that was only offered at Connors State College, he or she could take the Connors State class online without needing to drive to the college's campus in Warner.

Access to advisers

The program also offers advising services that are geared toward working adult students, said Sheila Smith, the state Reach Higher coordinator.

Returning to college is a major decision for many of the program's students, Smith said, and it can be an intimidating experience. Advisers work to help allay students' fears and walk them through the process.

Now a student at the University of Oklahoma, Seward said the one-on-one advisement she got through Reach Higher helped her make it through Rose State. The advisers didn't assume students already knew how to navigate college life, she said. They were also accessible, even at odd hours, she said.

That level of flexibility is critical for nontraditional students, who are often balancing school with family or work, she said.

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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