Maybe you need some new options

By DAVID BOBO / Guest Columnist

Fear, doubt and anxiety are feelings many adults experience when they consider beginning or returning to college. These feelings often intensify with the added responsibilities of families and financial strain. Although they know education is the path to a better standard of living and opportunities for the future, many adults don’t know where to begin.

A special, free program at Jefferson State Community College called New Options helps adults face these obstacles and provides much needed support to adults in need.

“I was very unsure of myself,” said New Options Participant Martha Ahern. “They encouraged me and gave me the confidence I needed to go forward with my dream of becoming a college graduate.”

The New Options program offers free seminars about beginning college, vocational assessment and career counseling, personal development seminars, and academic support services.

“After enrolling in college, my husband and I divorced,” said Ahern. “My husband provided our only source of income. College became so much more than my dream… it became a necessity for my survival.”

Martha needed financial assistance to continue college. Once again, the New Options program was there to provide guidance and support. “They found grants, loans and scholarships, and encouraged me all the way,” said Ahern.

There are many students like Martha in our communities. She represents many adults who do not qualify for academic scholarships designed for traditional college students who are just out of high school. New Options helps these students realize that earning a degree is an attainable goal and walks them through every step of the way.

“The free New Options program helps with study skills and time management, helps students choose the right course of study, and helps them find career opportunities,” said New Options Administrator Ann Fulmer.

Adult students are realizing they can return to college and be successful.

New Options has helped change the lives of countless Jefferson State students by giving additional support needed for returning to college. “I am leaving Jefferson State a new woman,” said Ahern. “I will soon be a nurse and am now confident I can care for and make a difference in the lives of my patients and their families. My head is held high and my heart is lighter.”

To learn how you can get help from New Options, call (205) 856-8571 or go online at

David Bobo is the director of college and community relations at Jefferson State Community College