‘Support from the Inside’: Veronica Summers Helps Adult Learners
October 14, 2014
Veronica Summers has been there.
She came back to college in her 40s and knows all about the nerves and the fears. She knows how overwhelming it can be for people to get their transcripts, turn in everything needed for financial aid, and even decide which course of study is right for them.
She knows how challenging it can be to juggle children, a full-time job, and classes.
Now, she’s using that experience to help other adult learners return to school. Summers is Dalton State’s Adult Learner Specialist and is there to assist nontraditional college students enroll and finish their degree.
“I was an adult learner,” said Summers, who has been with the College working in several different capacities since 2007. “I was afraid I’d be the oldest in the classroom, but I wasn’t. There were other adult learners. When the professor walked in, I was OK then. I had two kids, had to work and raise my kids while going to school.”
Having an Adult Learner Specialist on campus fits into Gov. Deal’s graduation plan for the state.
“We want educated, trained, and prepared workers for jobs of the future,” said Katherine Logan, assistant director of admission at the College. “Veronica can take an adult learner from the beginning through graduation. With her experience as an adult learner, she has that perspective she needs to really help others through this process. She can walk students through any fears and questions they may have. They may not know it’s possible, but it is.”
Summers has worked in all areas of enrollment, admissions, registrar and financial aid, making her the perfect person to help students, Logan said.
Additionally, Summers will be trained in career assessment and advisement, said Dr. Andy Meyer, assistant vice president for academic affairs.
“She’ll be able to help those who want to go to college but don’t know what area to focus on,” he said. “She can find a path to help them advance their careers.”
Jeri Lynn Mitchell, a 36-year-old psychology major on track to graduate in 2016, said she wishes she had someone to guide her through the process when she was returning to college.
“I remember having a definite goal in mind, and it didn’t matter what it took, I was going to get my degree,” said Mitchell, a single mother of three children. “A lot of things were difficult; it would have been a huge help to have a person there to encourage me and tell me where to go find what I needed.”
Traditional-aged students don’t typically have as many stresses as adult learners, she said. So she thinks it’s easier for them to go on to college because most of the time, they’re not also raising children or working full-time.
“When you’re older you need that extra help,” Mitchell said. “It makes a difference to have that extra support from someone on the inside.”
Summers will also be assisting in the College’s Quick Admit Day, which is Friday, Oct. 24 at Dalton State and Wednesday, Oct. 22 at Dalton State’s Gilmer Center. The day is designed to make it easier for people to register for classes.
“It’s a day we set aside so adult learners can come in and bring in admission requirements and get it all done in one day,” Summers said. “You can apply, take your COMPASS (a placement test required for admission), be accepted, be advised, register for classes, go to financial aid counseling, all in one day.”
Students are asked to make appointments by calling (706) 712-8202.
Summers hopes her new position makes an even bigger impact on students at the College.
“I love working here,” she said. “I like seeing students graduate that I’ve helped. I’ve had a lot of students stop by and thank me. It’s very rewarding. They hug you or thank you and you don’t even realize you have had that kind of impact on them.”
For more information on adult learners or quick admit day, visit www.daltonstate.edu/adultlearner.