STARKVILLE, Miss.(WCBI) – Once you leave college early, it can be hard to go back to complete the courses for your degree.
Now, there’s a new avenue to the graduation stage with plenty of support along the way.
“There are a lot of benefits to obtaining your degree no matter what age. Ok, I was 48,”said Starkville-Oktibbeha County Consolidated School District Transportation Director Kelvin Gibson.
Gibson says going back to school was always important for him, as well as an obstacle.
“I would get a phone call from my mom weekly telling me how smart I was and how I should make sure I finish, because you could be doing so many different things with a degree. I’ve always had a good job, but we all know that a degree can really put you in a position to elevate,”said Gibson.
Gibson took classes on and off over 30 years, but once he learned about the Complete to Compete program he got on board.
“One of the neat things about it is they would take your transcript and do an evaluation and give you several different options. I started out in political science and ended in general studies. Basically, at this stage in my life I just really wanted to have a degree. It’s a foundation for me, or a beginning. Now, I can actually come back and continue with a Masters program or PhD program,”said Gibson.
Lynda Moore is the director of the Mississippi State University Academic Advising Center and a Coach in the C2C program. She says the program is designed for folks like Gibson, who want to further their education.
“The purpose is to encourage you to come back to school. If you maybe left school three years and four years in and didn’t finish your degree. The purpose is to get you to come back and at least talk to someone and see how close you are and what’s the best path to graduate,” Moore.
Students in the program get to select any junior college or university in the state. Gibson says he couldn’t have done it with out the support of the coaches.
“I wasn’t on the journey by myself. They made it a lot easier, made it a lot better. I didn’t have to figure things out, questions are always answered. So, I had a lot of support,”said Gibson.
Gibson is sharing his success to encourage others.
“I do my part from social media, to just casual conversations. I have people come up to me all the time telling me how they were inspired by my story, once it got out there,”said Gibson.
So far, there have been roughly 1500 applications from students interested in completing their degree at Mississippi State.