Cleveland State’s Advance Program Ideal for Working Adults

Cleveland State’s Advance Program Ideal for Working Adults

Napierra Alexander
Monday, April 25, 2022 12:00 AM
Service-Learning, All, Press Releases, Students, TBR

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - At Cleveland State Community College, you can earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Business in 18 months, one night a week virtually. Students can take classes 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.” 

Davella Porter is an adult student in the Advance Business program. She was nervous to get back in school and balance her work and family life, but when she enrolled in this course, she felt that it was perfect for her lifestyle and career goals.

Davella Porter, CSCC Student in the Advance Program

I was intimidated when I thought about coming back into a classroom with kids who have grown up with all of the technology adults sometimes struggle with, so I get it,” stated Porter. “But this program has the classes already scheduled, so you really do not have to stress about getting the classes you need for your major because it is built in the schedule.”

Porter plans to graduate this fall and is considering finishing her degree at Middle Tennessee State University. 

Porter continued, “This schedule can be intense, but the professors are here for it! They are dedicated to helping the adult students in their classes. The programs used for this course are really user-friendly. With anything, you have to put in the time, but this layout is great for helping to ease back into the school atmosphere.”

The schedule for the Advance program is so accommodating that the majority of students are able to work and go to school. Currently, students meet virtually on Thursday evenings. 

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 virtually, 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, 42 percent said that during the program, they had received a raise or promotion, while 62 percent anticipated receiving further incentives upon graduation. Eighty-six students in the Advance program rate the program as excellent.

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 May 23. 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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