Alumni update: Nikesha Wofford ’15 groovin’ in grad school

By Dana Davis, director, Columbia College-Hunter Army Airfield

Columbia College-Hunter Army Airfield held its 34th commencement exercise at Fort Stewart on Nov. 6, 2015, sending hundreds of well-prepared graduates out into the world. Nikesha Wofford earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Services and General Studies with magna cum laude honors. Her success at Columbia College was vital to preparing her for the Master of Social Work she wanted to pursue — and she’s already one semester into her goal at Savannah State University.

“Columbia College is where the foundation I needed to be successful on a graduate level was developed,” Wofford says.

She points to classroom activities such as role play, discussions, debates and hands-on games created by faculty as especially helpful in her academics. She also found two instructors in particular to be influential.

During Errol Roach’s music appreciation class, which Wofford found exciting and memorable because students were always on their feet, Wofford was inspired to explore disco for her class presentation. In addition to her PowerPoint presentation, she went so far as to demonstrate a dance routine from the cult-classic Saturday Night Fever, complete with costume!

Focusing on her core classes, Wofford found inspiration from human services instructor Tonya Ruffin.

“She is truly a mentor and inspiration to her students,” Wofford says of Ruffin. “Without her encouragement — and yes, even a little pushing — I would not be at Savannah State. To you, Mrs. Ruffin, I have to say thank you for believing in me and motivating me.”

College can be stressful, especially for individuals returning to school after a hiatus like Wofford. She is thankful to all who have and continue to support her, especially her husband, mom and the staff at Columbia College who guided her through her bachelor’s degree and helped her choose a graduate program.

Congratulations, Nikesha, and best of luck in graduate school. Columbia College is proud to call you an alumna!

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New Year, new career! Hottest jobs for 2016

New Year, New Career graphicIf your plans for 2016 include a career makeover, you’re notalone. Taking the plunge to switch careers tops many New Year’s resolution lists, but the question is, which jobs are people flocking to? Business Insider outlines the 19 hottest jobs for 2016 – all of which require a college degree.

Good thing you’re a Columbia College student. CC has flexible online degree programs (read: you don’t have to give up your current job to make the switch possible). Plus, you’ve got full access to the Grossnickle Career Services Center, which can hook you up with every career-exploring and job-hunting tool you need.

CC 360 highlights five of these high-grossing gigs, which CC online degree programs can help you achieve your goal, and Career Center tips to help make your dream a reality, even after you graduate.


Median hourly earnings: $61.12

Online CC degree programs:

Bachelor of Arts or Science in Business Administration with a marketing major

Marketing management certificate

Career Center tip: Gain experience in this field by taking a freelance marketing or media position. While in school, freelance jobs allow your work to be flexible and can add some extremely important technical skills to your resumé. Also, several part-time and volunteer jobs have landed CC students full-time positions.


Median hourly earnings: $39.76

Online CC degree programs:

Associate in Science/Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems

Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems

Career Center tip: If you like this field, consider the other tech-related jobs on the Business Insider list, like web developer, software developer, network and computer systems administrator or information security analyst, all of which require one of these degrees. Jobs in this field of study are projected to grow more than 22% within the next five years.


Median hourly earnings: $32.04

Online CC degree program:

RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program

RN to BSN Disclaimer: The RN to BSN degree program is not available to residents in the States of Idaho, Minnesota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington.

Career Center tip: If you’re already a registered nurse, the online RN to BSN degree can help take your career up a notch. The flexibility of the online courses means you can continue working as a nurse while gaining the skills necessary to enter nursing management positions. If moving up in your nursing career is on your mind for 2016, check out this degree option.


Median hourly earnings: $31.70

Online CC degree programs:

Bachelor of Art or Science in Business Administration with an accounting major

Master of Business Administration with an accounting emphasis

Career Center tip: To learn valuable information about the realities of accounting and to find current job listings in your area, check out your local and state professional accounting associations. Also consider an internship. During tax season, there are a plethora of internships, volunteer and part-time job opportunities for you. January through April is your best time to get those skills you need!


Median hourly earnings: $49.41

Online CC degree programs:

Bachelor of Arts or Science in Business Administration with a human resource management major

Human resource management certificate

Master of Business Administration with a human resources emphasis

Career Center tip: Human resource management gives you several options to specialize in as a career. From benefits management and company policy implementation, to recruitment and training, human resource managers act as the front door to many working environments.


Remember, you can check out all of Columbia College’s degree options through the Program Finder, then contact the Career Center for help exploring jobs in each field!

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It’s scholarship season!

Columbia College scholarshipsThe FAFSA isn’t the only application you should submit in January. Columbia College offers a variety of scholarships. Application deadlines are coming fast, so don’t miss your chance!





Scholarships for Nationwide, Online and Evening Students

$750 Frank S. Westling Scholarships: Feb. 5 deadline

Named in honor of a highly decorated infantry officer and former dean of Adult Higher Education, the application for this scholarship is available online and should be submitted electronically. In 2015, the award was given to 19 students from 12 campuses, including the Online Education Program. Visit the Columbia College Scholarship Finder to view eligibility criteria and to submit an application.

Campus scholarships: Deadline varies, check with your campus

Each campus offers its own scholarship for a minimum of $800 – often more! These scholarships are funded in part by the Adult Higher Education Endowment, which is supported generously by contributions from your local faculty and staff. Be sure to check with your campus office about the availability of and eligibility requirements for the scholarship at your campus.

Scholarships for veterans

$1,000 Col. Charles E. McGee Scholarship: Feb. 28 deadline

Awarded to one Columbia College student each academic year, this scholarship honors a Columbia College alumnus and Tuskegee Airman who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

$1,000 Col. Mike Randerson Scholarship: Feb. 28 deadline

Established in 2014, the Col. Mike Randerson Scholarship is an annual endowed scholarship created to help qualified veteran students, including active duty military, Guard, Reserve and/or their dependents who wish to attend the college. The scholarship recognizes the efforts of outstanding military students who exemplify Randerson’s dedication to service and education.

$500 Ousley Family Veterans Service Center Scholarship: Feb. 28 deadline

The Ousley Family Veterans Service Center Scholarship was established to honor and support the academic endeavors of veterans who have exhausted veterans educational benefits. The scholarship aids veterans who are making progress toward a degree but may not qualify for academic merit scholarship awards.

Click here for information on how to apply for scholarships for veterans.
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Six Sessions: Coming to a campus near you…

six sessionsImagine a campus in a galaxy far, far away where students can graduate sooner and take academic breaks when they want to.

Now imagine that campus is your Columbia College campus.

Coming this fall, education as you know it is about to change. Get ready to encounter the ultimate academic experience: six academic sessions per year.

Watch as students kick their degree completion into warp drive, successfully soaring through up to six sessions per year, rocketing their way to graduation at an unthinkable pace. Educational dreams will be achieved. Friends and loved ones will be proud. Lives will be changed.

Six sessions. In campuses this August.

Stay tuned for more details.
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How to make the best (and worst) financial resolutions

financial new years resolutionsIt happens every New Year: Millions of well-intending Americans make resolutions to get their finances under control. Yet, by February, the unwavering dedication to newfound, life-changing habits falls by the wayside.

Why do we fail? Because those pesky resolutions were probably unrealistic to begin with. This is what U.S. News & World Report Money argues in its article, “The 5 Best and Worst Financial New Year’s Resolution.”

The first worst/best resolution pair goes like this:

Worst Resolution No. 1: Pay off debt.

Best Resolution No. 1: Pay off $150 of debt each month, or $1,800 over the year.

A vague resolution to pay off debt won’t get you anywhere. Instead, resolve to pay off a specific amount of debt per month, or a specific amount of debt over the course of the year. Just be sure that your goal includes a specific dollar amount and a specific end date.

See the difference between a hazy, doomed-to-fail goal and one with a clearly defined, feel-good strategy? Here’s another one. Along the same lines of paying off debt is the resolution to spend less money to begin with:

Worst Resolution No. 3: Spend less money.

Best Resolution No. 3: Cut $50 per month off the grocery bill.

Student Success Advisor Rachel Smith of Columbia College points out that while this is a laudable goal, for a lot of people, it’s a hard one to pull off at the beginning of the year.

“December can be one of the most expensive months of the year,” Smith says. “Gifts, travel expenses, property taxes, utility bills for heating your home – there are a lot of extras to account for. Following a month like that can definitely prove difficult to gain traction for changing your financial habits.”

So how do you make sure a resolution like this one is realistic and achievable?

In addition to investigating your 2015 spending habits to identify areas where you overspent and think about ways to cut spending in those areas, Smith adds that it can help to give yourself some buffer time to get over the post-December hump.

“Your goal might be to save $50 a month, but in January, maybe you start with a goal of saving $30 to give your budget a chance to recover,” Smith says. “As you gain momentum and confidence in your goal, you can increase that monthly amount, which reminds you that you’re making progress and successfully sticking to your resolution as the year passes.”

Be realistic and specific and your resolutions are sure to be fool-proof in 2016!
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