Many adults find themselves wanting to go back to college to finish an old degree or work on a new one.

Columbia College offers affordable opportunities for adult learners to take classes among their peers. Amber Ellis is director of recruiting and enrollment for global and military at Columbia College, which handles adult learners.

Where to start

Ellis recommends that returning students start with the Columbia College website.

“They have two different options on the website that would connect them with an enrollment counselor,” she said.

“One option would be to fill out an inquiry form or they can go ahead and fill out the free online application to get started with the admissions process.”

Admission requirements are simple: Verify your identity and provide proof that you have completed high school. There is no application deadline, but it is recommended that students apply as soon as possible to complete the admissions process before the first summer session begins on May 3. The late summer session starts June 28.

A free one-time pre-cursory review is part of the process. Columbia College takes all previous transcripts so the Registrar’s Office can see which credits will transfer.

Once admitted, students are assigned an academic advisor to remain consistent through the degree program until graduation.

Two course formats

Classes for adult learners are offered in eight-week sessions with a total of six sessions per year. Courses are offered on a flexible schedule, mainly in the evening, to help balance everyday responsibilities while giving learners plenty of time to complete their classwork.

Classes are offered in two formats, online or “in-seat/virtual,” Ellis said.

In-person classes

Classes are filled with other adult learners so everyone is in a similar situation. The classes are offered Monday through Thursday evenings, with the earliest start at 5:30 p.m.

Online classes

For online classes, students typically have weekly assignments and discussion board posts that can be done anytime throughout the week on a student’s schedule. Although this can vary by teacher, it is the basic plan for most online classes.

Graduation and beyondA bachelor’s degree usually takes 3½ years to complete, Ellis said.

Online and evening classes cost $375 per credit hour. Columbia College wants the entire process to be as cost-effective as possible for adult learners, there are no fees and no book costs.

“We’re to help and just to encourage students,” Ellis said. “We’re very excited for them and happy to help them reach their educational goals.”

  • I am Sports Reporter for the Columbia Missourian covering high schools sports in the area. You can reach me at 816-835-0142 or at

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