Oct. 27, 2022

‘It’s never too late to come back and finish your degree’


Ali Johnson
Allison Johnson recently earned a bachelor's degree in University Studies in the NDSU Degree Completion program. She returned again to work on a bachelor's degree in biological sciences education.

Allison Johnson returned to NDSU to finish her degree after leaving higher education more than a decade ago. She finally accomplished a lifelong goal by earning a bachelor’s degree in University Studies this spring.

“I was at work and was thinking, I can’t do this forever. I know what I want to do, so I’m just going to take that leap. I went to the NDSU website and walked through the steps. It asked if I wanted to come back and finish my degree and I thought, ‘yes – yes, I do.’ I filled out the form and the next day we were ready to go,” said Johnson, from Minot, North Dakota.

Johnson said NDSU provided classroom flexibility and a supportive atmosphere as she transitioned back to school. “My advisor, Jessie Bauer, was so great about answering questions, helping me figure out what the next steps were and finding the best courses for me. I was nervous about coming back, so we decided the best path was to start with a few credits and see how it goes,” Johnson said. “Knowing I wanted to come back for a biological sciences education degree, we figured out how I could finish this degree while also working ahead towards my next one.”

Johnson was more invested this time around because life experience has helped her become more comfortable and confident to talk with professors or ask for help.

“I wanted to do well and felt they also wanted me to do well,” she said.

Having a college degree is important to Johnson because it opens new career paths and opportunities. It also helped Johnson gain confidence as a student and member of the workforce while providing a feeling of accomplishment for finishing what she started years ago.

Johnson works remotely as a project manager at a logistics company. She recently came back to NDSU again to work on a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences education with the goal of becoming a teacher.

Johnson encourages anyone interested in the degree completion program to take that first step.

“Fill out the form and just get started,” she said. “You’ll find out quickly if it’s not for you, but you won’t know until you have that first meeting. It was such an easy form to fill out and they get back to you right away. They really want to help you finish that degree, so it’s worth looking into.”

Students returning to finish their degree will find specialized support to meet their needs through the NDSU Degree Completion Program. Bauer, assistant director of student success initiatives at the NDSU Career and Advising Center, works with students in the program. She helps students throughout their NDSU journey.

“It’s never too late to come back and finish your degree,” Bauer said. “I have had the opportunity to work with so many students to use their credits and finish what they started years ago. It opens the door for career changes or promotions. We have staff and faculty to support students academically and scholarship opportunities to support them financially. We all really want to see students succeed and achieve their goals.”

Degree completion students can start their NDSU experience by filling out the interest form or emailing Bauer to schedule an appointment in person or via Zoom.

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