An Introduction by Andrea Biklen

Persistence is a challenge. I don’t mean the persistence of my 5 year old begging for a toy in Target, but the persistence of an adult student toward completing a bachelor’s degree. Adult students persist to graduation at much lower rates than their traditional counterparts. This is not due to a lack of ability, but because the other important variables in their lives (job, family, health, finances) can pull adult students away from the path toward completing a degree.

One of the ways we counter this trend at Simpson is to offer the Life Experience Portfolio for eligible students. Several factors which contribute to greater adult student persistence can be linked to the portfolio process: confidence, connection with classmates, and a connection to Simpson College.

Confidence: The process of documenting prior experiences and learning positively alters how adult students view past successes and failures. Taking the time to look back and reflect on all that has been accomplished can be a transformative experience.

Connection with Classmates: At Simpson College most of the students who complete the portfolio take advantage of our one-credit Writing Workshop. Adult students in this class write about life experiences that are personal in nature. All of the students are focused on the shared goal of earning credits for learning gained from prior experience. These factors combine to allow students to forge connections to each other through this class.

Connection with Simpson: Simpson College places value on the prior experiences and learning that adult students bring with them. In turn, the adult students value the positive impact the portfolio process has on their tuition and time spent toward their Simpson degree.

Your persistence toward completing a Simpson College degree is important. Can the Life Experience Portfolio process help you?

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