Cleveland State’s Advance Program Ideal for Working Adults

Cleveland State’s Advance Program Ideal for Working Adults

Holly Vincent
Friday, April 9, 2021 12:00 AM
Students, Community

Eighteen months. One night a week. Earn a degree! Are you ready to make a career change? Looking to be promoted? Cleveland State Community College can help! CSCC offers students the opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Business in 18 months at all CSCC sites—the main campus in Cleveland, in Athens, as well as Vonore.

The Advance Business program is the college’s accelerated program that offers students a quick and convenient way to obtain a college degree. This option is suitable for highly motivated and mature adults that are seeking an A.A.S. in Business. Many business students obtain their A.A.S. in 18 months at Cleveland State and a bachelor’s degree in an additional 18-24 months at a selected four-year college or university.

According to Candice Patterson, Associate Professor/ Director of the Advance Business Program, the majority of Advance students are working adults who thrive in this scheduling option because they are enrolled with their peers, those with similar responsibilities and obstacles.

Patterson stated, “Since students go through all of their classes as a group, they form incredibly strong bonds and connections. Even having virtual meetings during the pandemic, we have found that students have still been able to connect and form these bonds. At times, we have even seen these connections lead to job opportunities and / or job advancement.”

Advance Business student Travis De Wind decided to enroll in the program after one semester at CSCC when he found out he could focus on one class at a time and still be considered a full-time student.

“Candice Patterson explained the Advance program to me, and I liked that I could focus on one subject at a time,” stated De Wind. “When I was taking multiple classes, I felt like I was always juggling my schedule to not miss a deadline for another class. Then, I would have to come back and try to pick up where I had left off.  For me, the Advance schedule just works better. I liked that I could check off another class every few weeks. Although it can be intense at times, I figured I could survive anything for five weeks!”

De Wind continued, “The instructors have been great. They truly want to see me be successful and finish my classes. They have taken the time to answer my questions and support me through some challenging times.”

The schedule for the Advance program is so accommodating that the majority of students are able to work and go to school. According to Patterson, the common factor for all Advance students is the relentless pursuit of a degree and the willingness to do what it takes to be successful. Students have to have a strong dedication to earning a degree. The benefits of the Advance Business program include attending class one night a week (virtual meeting options), completing the degree in a fast-paced format and working with the same group of students throughout the program. Students complete online assignments throughout the week in preparation for their Thursday evening classes.

In a recent survey conducted of Advance students, 43 percent said that during the program, they had received a raise or promotion, while 62 percent anticipated receiving further incentives upon graduation.

Cleveland State also offers the Tennessee Reconnect Scholarship, a scholarship for adults to earn an associate degree or technical certificate, tuition-free.

The next Advance Business group begins this summer. Classes for summer begin on June 1. For more information on CSCC’s Advance Business program, visit or email For more information on Cleveland State Community College, visit 


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