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4 Reasons Non-Traditional Students Should Consider a BIS Degree

4 Reasons Non-Traditional Students Should Consider a BIS Degree

"You get all the services you would expect from a university like this. It is amazing," says Jesus Pino.

What can you do with a liberal arts degree? Just about anything. But for many working professionals, heading back to school full time and during the day isn’t a viable option.

Degree programs that offer schedule flexibility are ideal for anyone looking to finish their undergraduate degree.

Stephen Levine, senior program director for the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) degree program at the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies notes that the option to attend online, in-person and hybrid classes are perfect for busy adult learners.

“We have innovative, engaging interdisciplinary courses that are available in a variety of formats,” Levine says. “We want to make sure that courses are available to working students without compromising the quality of instruction.”

Courses can cover everything from business and marketing to music, politics, psychology, literature and many other areas to equip students with the skills and know-how needed to excel in a variety of career paths. Many classes are interdisciplinary and draw from various disciplines and topical areas.

Is a BIS program right for you? Here are just a few of the benefits to consider:

1. Endless Career Prospects

In today’s economy, many employers prefer candidates who have an undergraduate degree. Graduating from an accredited degree program at any stage in your professional career expands your employment prospects. There are also students who enter a BIS program simply for personal enrichment because it covers so many topics of interest – and lets students choose ones that interest them most.

“This kind of program helps students become more adaptable. They learn how to learn,” Levine says.

Graduates from BIS programs can go on to launch new careers in everything from teaching to technology, or advance their career in their current profession. Some even continue their education in graduate and law school.

2. Useful Skill Development

Perhaps the biggest perk of earning a BIS degree is how relevant the skills are to any industry. Unlike a degree focused on a single topic, BIS programs give students a broad base of knowledge and allow them to strengthen crucial skills such as critical thinking, verbal communication, writing, problem solving and teamwork.

“These skills are foundational for students and serve them regardless of what they do with the degree,” explains Levine.

3. Connections and Resources

In addition to gaining useful skills, graduating from a top public university gives students access to many of the same benefits of traditional students, such as the alumni network, library system, writing center, organizations, committees and other groups. These resources can help BIS students succeed both during their studies and after graduation.

4. Personalized Attention

Many BIS programs also have the added benefit of smaller class sizes than traditional courses. This means students receive more one-on-one attention from instructors, which can enhance the learning experience.

At UVA, students are paired with a peer mentor to provide personalized advice and attention throughout the program. UVA students also participate in the Capstone Project, a two-semester research initiative in which they work one-on-one with faculty mentors, conduct research and produce in-depth papers on topics of their choice.

Because of the close connections the program keeps with students – even those who attend completely remotely – the program has an 85 percent retention rate, which Levine says is “sky high.”

Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies BIS program began in 1999 and has graduated more than 700 students. Candidates only need 60 transferable credits to apply.

With financial aid available, the program allows students to earn an enriching, transformative liberal arts degree that prepares them to navigate just about any path ahead. For more information, visit SCPS.Virginia.edu or call 800-346-3882.

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