Where Can I Learn
For many people, the question of what to do with your life can be overwhelming, all the more so post-incarceration. There are so many challenges and obstacles that it can seem hopeless.
But when we look at the factors that decrease recidivism and increase happiness and quality of life, getting an education and being gainfully employed in a profession suited to you are at the top of the list.
What that looks like is unique to every individual. There are many paths to success, and the one that works best for you is a personal choice depending on your interests, goals and circumstances.
What follows are a few options to consider when plotting your own path forward.
Adult Education Centers
This path is particularly useful for adults who are not yet ready for a college setting but want to become ready. Adult learners who need a high school diploma, HiSET or GED can find local programs, along with college transition classes to prepare students, assessment tests to gauge skill levels and advisors to support and guide them. Adult education programs also exist for self-enrichment, skills training and language learning, including ESL/ESOL. These classes are generally inexpensive (compared to college) or even free, and some scholarships are available.
All adult education programs and locations in the state can be found at Maineadulted.org, which can direct learners to specific community programs or courses available.
Maine boasts a robust community college network that can ease an adult learner into the college world, either straight out of high school or after some time away. Many community colleges have more flexible requirements for admission, offer a more flexible schedule for part time or working students, and are generally cheaper than 4-year schools, making them a great place to start the journey through higher education. Students who may have struggled in high school or are not yet ready for more rigorous educational standards can find smaller and more personalized learning environments beneficial. Students who are unsure of their educational or career goals can begin here and later transfer earned credits to a 4-year college or university, which can save money, or earn their Associate degree or a certification in a wide range of trades from accounting to nursing and jump into a career.
All of Maine’s community colleges can be found at www.mccs.me.edu where students can find the nearest community college campus or search for specific programs.
Four Year Colleges/Universities
Students who have a definite career path in mind and are prepared can jump right into a degree program at a University or four-year college. Many institutions have admissions requirements to meet, such as transcripts and standardized test scores, and can be pricey, though financial aid is usually available.
Online or Correspondence Courses and Degree Programs
This option allows for much more flexibility in schedule and pace, and can be a great option for self-motivated, independent learners, or for students with inflexible schedules. Students can fit school around work, family and other obligations, and not having to commute is a plus. There are challenges to online education, such as finding legitimate, valid accredited programs; and there is a lack of resources found at physical universities, like libraries, labs and peers.