Excelling in School as a Non-Traditional Student

It’s never too late to further your education. For people who are getting back into school after taking a break, though, the experience can be overwhelming. Our team wants to help non-traditional students succeed in achieving their educational goals.

To make things easier, we’re compiling some of our top tips for nontraditional student success.

Set a Routine

If you’ve been out of school for a while, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things. A lot of non-traditional students have to juggle work, family, and school, which can be taxing.

To prepare for this, sit down before your classes start and work out what a typical week will look like for you. Of course, things will change from time to time, but this can help provide a sense of stability when situations get stressful. Be sure to block off time for studying and homework, too, even if you have to do it in chunks. It’s best to overestimate the amount of time you’ll need to complete your schoolwork so if you get a big assignment, it doesn’t throw you off.

Once you have a routine established, share it with your friends and family so they can support you. Explain to them when you’ll need time alone and when you’ll be available to spend time with them. This can help cut back on distractions and put you in the right mindset to succeed.

Take It Slow

Everyone’s educational experience is different. Remember that there is no “right way” to complete your education. Instead, you should take it at the pace that feels comfortable to you.

Try to challenge yourself a little, but don’t start taking on more classes or projects than you can handle. Remember: you want to achieve your goal of graduating, but you don’t want to burn out along the way.

It might also be helpful to set a target timeframe for when you would like to have your degree by. Give yourself a little wiggle room but try to stick to this deadline. It’ll help motivate you to keep going, even when things get tough.

Ask for Support

No matter what happens along your educational journey, know that you’re never on this path alone. Your school will likely have a counselor or advisor that you can turn to with any questions you have about your classes or requirements. Make sure to meet them and feel comfortable talking to them about your goals.

You also have your family, friends, and coworkers on your side. It might be smart to mention to your boss or manager that you are taking extra classes, especially if you work an hourly job. That way they’ll know what blocks of time you absolutely aren’t available.

If you need more support, reach out to our team. We’d love to connect you with educational resources to help spur your success. While you’re at it, try checking out our blogs on how to apply for scholarships, too, to help jumpstart your educational funding.

The BCVision team works to foster talent development in the Battle Creek community. We are happy to provide assistance and resources for you throughout your college application experience and into your career. Contact us for more information.



How to Apply for Scholarships

Preparing for college is a long process. There are a lot of steps, from researching options to requesting reference letters and more.

For many students, scholarships are an important part of their college application process. These funds can make a huge difference in a student’s ability to pursue higher education. That’s why our team has put together some tips on how to find and apply for scholarships to help make secondary education more accessible.

Scholarship Basics

Scholarships are sums of money that are either reoccurring or a one-time payment. These payments are directly applied toward your education expenses, and they never have to be repaid. That’s why most scholarships have an application process, and why often times the qualifications require an essay. The essays are often required for applicants to explain why they are deserving of the funds. They’re granted based on need and on your achievements or application.

As we mentioned, scholarships don’t need to be repaid, unlike student loans. That means that they’re a great first place to look when you’re trying to find college funding.

Finding Scholarships

There are different types of scholarships. Some of them, called merit scholarships, are based on your grades and activities. There are also other types of scholarships that are awarded based on talents or demographics. There are also need-based scholarships, which are awarded according to financial need.

As we mentioned in our blog about when to start looking for colleges, there are a lot of great scholarship opportunities in the area including BCCF and BCCAN. Start searching for scholarships by asking your teachers or school guidance counselor for suggestions. They know you and your academics, and they might be able to point you towards specific scholarships that are a good fit.

If you’re part of a community, cultural, or religious organization, you can also ask those leadership teams for any advice. They might know of scholarships that are already available from those groups.

If you’ve already decided what college or university you want to attend, their admissions office may be able to connect you with scholarship opportunities, too. There are plenty of places to look! Just be sure to ask a credible source for suggestions in order to avoid scholarship scams.

How to Apply

Most scholarships will require you to answer one or two essay questions. These can range a lot in topic, but it’s important to always read the application thoroughly. Here are some tips to write an awesome response:

  • Read the whole prompt before you begin writing.
  • Don’t be afraid to make it personal.
  • Make sure to include one sentence at the beginning of your response that summarizes your thoughts (a.k.a. a thesis statement).
  • Make sure to answer the question truthfully.
  • When you’re done, read your response out loud. It may sound silly, but when you read out loud, your ear can help catch any grammar mistakes you might have missed when you wrote.
  • Run a spell check on your response.
  • If there is a word count requirement, make sure your response meets it. If there is a maximum word count, make sure you don’t go over it.

If you aren’t sure about your response, try asking a friend, parent, teacher, or other trusted person to read it for you. They might be able to help you spot any areas that might need more attention.

Many scholarships have deadlines. The most important part of applying for a scholarship is to make sure that you submit it before the deadline!

The BCVision team works to foster talent development in the Battle Creek community. We are happy to provide assistance and resources for you throughout your college application experience and into your career. Contact us for more information.

Which Questions to Ask in an Interview

Job hunting can be difficult. In fact, when some people get an interview, they find themselves nervous instead of excited. That’s because interviewing takes practice, and when you don’t know what to expect, the experience can be intimidating. Although it’s completely normal to have anxiety even if you are completely prepared.

We previously put together some tips on how to have an impressive phone interview, and many of those tips apply to in person interviews, too. That’s why we’ll be focusing on the questions you can ask to get the information you need to succeed.

When to Ask Questions

During a typical interview, the interviewer will ask you a series of questions that they expect you to answer. Once they’re done asking, most interviewers will ask if you have any questions for them. Generally speaking, they are hoping you have some questions because it shows you are really interested in the role.

If you’re in an interview that doesn’t ask you for feedback, it’s okay to politely say, “I have a few questions about the position. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind answering them for me.”

In most cases, your interviewer will gladly answer any questions you have. If they aren’t willing, the job might not be the right fit for you.

Which Questions to Avoid

Although it’s good to ask questions during your interview, there are some questions that you shouldn’t bring up. Try to avoid topics like:

  • Salary or pay
  • Timelines for promotions or raises
  • Requests for special accommodations

These topics are important, and you should ask about them, but you shouldn’t do that until a job offer is on the table or being discussed. Then you can begin negotiating specifics, which is a normal part of the hiring process.

Which Questions to Ask

When you prepare for your interview, you might want to write down a few questions that are on your mind. That way, when you’re at the interview, you’ll come prepared with at least two questions that you can ask.

Here are some example questions to help give you ideas:

  • What is your company’s culture like?
  • Can you go into a little more depth about what a typical day in this role would look like?
  • What do you expect your new hire to accomplish in the first six months?
  • Why is the position empty?
  • When should I expect to hear back from you about this interview?

Remember to also bring a notebook with you so you can write down any questions that come up while you’re talking. 

The BCVision team is dedicated to developing the workforce in the Battle Creek community. We are happy to provide assistance and resources, whether you’re looking or applying for a job, in the process of interviewing for a job, or want to further your education to move up in your career. Reach out to our partners, like Michigan Works! Southwest for the next step in your career, or contact us for more information. Make sure to also check out our blogs about how to write an impactful resume and cover letter for more information.

Awesome Halloween Events in Battle Creek

Happy Halloween! Battle Creek has been filled with Halloween fun the past week and it’s not over yet! With so many fun things happening in Battle Creek this October 31st, we encourage you to take part!

Halloween Happenings

There are endless options for trick-or-treating on Halloween, but if you are looking for something a little more organized that the traditional neighborhood stops check out some of the events happening around the city.

Halloween at The Hub

Stop by The Fire Hub, located at 175 S. Kendall Street this Halloween for a kid friendly free event! Partners, South Michigan Food Bank, Battle Creek Chamber and The Fire Hub, will be providing multiple trick-or-treat stops from 5:00-7:00pm.

Trick or Treat at Lakeview Square Mall

Chilly weather doesn’t have to stop the Halloween fun in Battle Creek! From 5:00-8:00pm this Halloween, the Lakeview Square Mall, located at 5775 Beckley Rd, will be opening its doors for indoor trick or treating! Participating stores, who have a Trick-or-Treat sign on their doors will be handing out candy to all the little ghouls and goblins!

BCPD Trunk or Treat 

Come to Battle Creek Central High School from 5:00-7:00pm for the seventh annual Trunk-or-Treat hosted by the Battle Creek Police Department! This free community event will be full of fun and of course, candy! The event will be held in the Battle Creek Central High School parking lot, at 100 W. Van Buren St.

Halloween Safety Tips

We want to make sure your kids stay safe this Halloween! In doing so, we encourage you to follow these tips and pieces of advice when enjoying these community activities!

  • Ensure your child’s costume is a good fit. Oversized shoes, and hanging fabric could result in a tripping hazard.
  • Consider adding reflective tape to your child’s costume to ensure they stand out in the dark.
  • Because masks can block or inhibit your child’s vision, try non-toxic makeup or face paint.
  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 or make sure they have or know your phone number so they can have someone call you if they get separated.

Our team is passionate about making Battle Creek a great place to live, work, and play and all of the fun community activities add so much value to the community. To be part of our volunteer network and help at great events like these, contact us today!

Graduates throw their caps into the air in celebration.

What Does It Mean To Be College Ready?

In Battle Creek, three in ten children under the age of eighteen live in poverty and are still expected to find ways to succeed. Teachers in our classrooms are faced with having to use class time to address this issue instead of being able to help children succeed academically.

We are working hard to help our students prepare for higher education. We want Battle Creek students to have the skills, resources, and ability to apply and attend college. Interested in learning what our goals are for our students and our work to date? Read on:

Our Goal

BCVision’s goal is to help students be successful in the pursuit of careers and life paths that lead them to economic stability, regardless of their race, gender, or financial background. We are doing this by creating community work groups to support our goal and through building relationships between our work groups and our community.

Our Work

To create opportunities for success we have started by conducting a student-centered study that will lead to the creation of a plan of action community-wide. This plan of action will create a strong educational system that is accessible to all students in Battle Creek.


We have resources available to help our students get prepared to either enter the workforce or attend college upon graduation. From SAT preparation and scholarship opportunities to connections with Michigan Works Southeast and the Regional Manufacturing Technology Center, we have resources ready to help Battle Creek students move forward in their education and career paths.

Our action teams are spearheading this initiative to create a Battle Creek that fosters growth in our students so that they can become successful. Whether you would like to learn more about the work we are doing to help our students become college ready or if you would like to get involved in helping us create successful opportunities, please visit our website to learn more.