Andover College attracts people looking to change, upgrade career

Having recently been laid off from the local paper mill, David Radcliffe saw an opportunity to do something he’s thought about for a long time-go back to school.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years and now that the opportunity kind of presented itself, I just decided to go for it now,” Radcliffe said.

Radcliffe, of Rumford, enrolled at Andover College’s Lewiston campus and began classes in March to pursue an associate degree in criminal justice.

“After getting laid off so many times, I’m kind of looking to have a career instead of just a job,” Radcliffe said; and he isn’t alone in his thinking.

Andover College’s Lewiston campus has seen student enrollment increase by nearly 15 percent in the past year alone, and many of its new students come to the campus looking to change careers or upgrade their skill set after a lay off.

“Going back to school can be a really good use of someone’s time right now,” said Tina Kelly, career services coordinator at Andover College’s Lewiston campus. “A lay off can provide someone with the time it takes to pursue their educational goals.”

Instead of enrolling at a traditional four-year or community college, laid-off workers are also considering career-focused schools, which offer shorter-term programs that emphasize hands-on experience applicable to the work world, Kelly said.

“They don’t have to commit two calendar years to complete their degree like they would at a traditional campus. If they are motivated, they could finish their program at Andover in as little as 16 or 17 months.”

Kelly said students can also start classes sooner than at a traditional school that runs on a semester schedule. “Our eight-week term schedule is more convenient.”

Returning to school after so many years in the work world can seem daunting. Kelly said student support services help them adjust to being a student again. Academic assistance centers offer tutoring at no extra charge, and student affairs departments assist students in overcoming non-academic obstacles to their education like child care and transportation concerns.

“For someone who hasn’t been in school for a long time or has never been to college, these services can really help students gain the confidence and provide the support they need to be successful,” Kelly said.

“I’m 37 [years old] and it’s a little scary going back to school, but once you get there and get in the program, it’s really not as intimidating as you think,” Radcliffe said.

Despite his initial fears, Radcliffe said he is happy with his decision to go back to school and is enjoying the criminal justice program.

“It makes me feel a little bit more secure with everything that’s going on right now,” Radcliffe said. “I think it will give me and my family a better future, a better outlook on things.”

For more information about career-focused schools, visit or call 800-986-9030.

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