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.



Giving Back to the Battle Creek Community

We love being a part of the Battle Creek community. This is a place where everyone can live, work and play. That’s thanks to the people who make up our community and the volunteers who give back.

In order to foster a culture of vitality, it’s important to have people who are passionate about giving back to the community around and want to celebrate our city.

That’s why our team put together a list of some of the best ways to give back in the Battle Creek community. Keep reading to find out about some awesome opportunities.

Offer to Help

One of the easiest ways to give back to your community is to volunteer when opportunity comes knocking. If you’re a part of an organization, club, or other group, make it a point to volunteer the next time they ask.

You can also keep an eye out on the people around you. If you see someone struggling with groceries or if a classmate needs a ride, offer to help out. That helps to spread a feeling of community among all of us in Battle Creek.

Look for Opportunities

Keep an eye out for larger opportunities in the community. Some neighborhoods may have associations that you can join. Other groups in the community focus on different cultures or interests. Find one that you like, and then start asking how you can help them out.

You can also try asking teachers, supervisors, or other role models if they know of any opportunities to give back. If you can’t find any, try hosting a food drive with your friends or coworkers. Then drop the collected items off at a local charity.

Make sure to check out our blog about the simple ways you can improve Battle Creek for more ideas. There are also a lot of local resources available to you. Check out Neighborhood Planning Councils, United Way, and BCCF if you need a good place to start.

Sign Up to Volunteer

When in doubt, you can always volunteer to give back. Depending on where you volunteer, you can commit to a one-time experience or to a recurring position.

If you’re interested in flexible volunteer work, try getting involved in our Street Team or one of our other volunteer opportunities. We’re always looking for a dedicated volunteer base to help promote a culture of vitality.

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in our community. Even if an organization doesn’t say that they are actively looking for volunteers, many will still gladly take your help. Try reaching out to causes that you’re passionate about. After all, when you volunteer for something you care about, you’re more likely to enjoy yourself and make a real impact.

Our team is dedicated to creating a culture of vitality in the Battle Creek community and ensuring that Battle Creek is a city where everyone can live, work, and play. Want to learn more? Visit our website to learn about how we are moving Battle Creek forward.

When to Start Looking at Colleges

We know that college isn’t for everyone, but if you’re interested in pursuing a higher education, it can be hard to decide when is the right time to start looking at colleges to attend.

Our team wants you to feel prepared as you begin your college exploration, so we’ve put together some tips on when to start looking into higher education and what your next steps should be.

Getting Started

Most high school students take the SATs during their junior year. Even if you aren’t a junior, it might be worth thinking about where you want to go. If you’re not sure what your first step should be, try reaching out to your guidance counselors, an advisor, or career coach to help get you started.

If college sounds like the right fit for you, you might want to start asking the people in your life where they went to school. You’ll probably get a wide range of suggestions, from large universities to local community colleges like our own Kellogg Community College. Be sure to ask your family and friends if they have any advice from their own search and experiences too! That can help you if you need help finding a good place to start.

If you’re a junior or have already graduated, that’s okay! It’s never too late to start exploring a college or university education as an option. If you’ve been out of high school for a few years, you may qualify as a non-traditional student, which could even mean that you qualify for additional grants or scholarships, too.

What to Look For

Once you have a few colleges you’re interested in it might be time to start looking for key factors that can contribute to your success. If a college or university catches your eye, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this college or university offer a degree that I would like to pursue?
  • What are the admission requirements, including required test scores, essays, and application fees?
  • How expensive is tuition at this college or university?
  • Does this college or university offer financial aid? What about scholarships?
  • Will I feel welcomed and inspired at this college or university?

If you find that the answers to these questions match your expectations, or if you can’t find enough information to know the answers, you might want to arrange a college tour. That way you can explore the grounds and talk one-on-one with someone who can answer your questions directly.

Start Preparing

If you find a college that you want to attend, it’s time to start preparing. Ask around at your school to find out if there are any scholarship opportunities that you could apply for. You can also typically find scholarship contests online that offer small but useful boosts to your education fund. Check out BCCF and BCCAN for great resources for local available scholarship opportunities.

Some universities may require letters of reference. If you’re thinking of attending college, it’s never too early to start asking people in your network for letters. Check out our blog on how to get started.

Remember that everyone’s educational experience is different. It isn’t a race to the finish, so keep your head up and do your best. After all, every step you take to further your education can help you change your future for the better.

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

Writing New Year’s Resolutions that Last

Welcome to 2020! Every new year brings the opportunity to start new habits and reach new heights. This year, we want to help you create New Year’s resolutions that can have a positive impact on you and your community.

The hardest part of starting new habits or breaking old ones is dedication. That’s why we’re giving you some tips on how to stick to your new goals all year round.

Write Great Resolutions

A lot of people write resolutions that are either very general or too ambitious. When you come up with your new goals, make sure to make them measurable and realistic.

What do we mean? Instead of deciding your goal is to “give back to the community,” try making your goal something like, “Volunteer at least four times this year.” When you do that, you set yourself a specific goal and a time frame. Once you volunteer once, you’re motivated to do it again to achieve, or exceed, your goal. It’s within reach!

When you’re choosing your resolution, make sure that the goal isn’t too hard. If you already volunteer twice a year, for example, giving yourself a goal of four times this year is achievable and reasonable. If you pick up trash every other Saturday, try doing it every week. One step up is always the best way to go.

Stay Motivated

When you have specific goals, it is far easier to stay motivated. It can still be discouraging when you haven’t made any progress after a few months in the year.

If that’s the case, try this: break the year into four sections. Those are January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December. During each one of those quarters, make sure to accomplish one thing that gets you closer to achieving your resolution.

If you’re following our volunteer example and you want to volunteer four times this year, you can volunteer once during each of those three-month periods. That way, you don’t feel overwhelmed. Break it down into smaller, bite-sized chunks.

Need Ideas?

Some of the best New Year’s resolutions are the ones that help out your community. If you’re stuck on what to do this year, try asking yourself these questions:

  • Are there any local nonprofits I’d like to help out?
  • How can I help the people I see every day?
  • How can I help to make my neighborhood better?
  • What is a small way that I can make the people around me happy?
  • What is a big need in my community?
  • What is a cause that I’m passionate about?
  • Who can I collaborate with to create impactful change?

Hopefully just reading those questions sparked some ideas for you. If you’re still stumped, fill out our volunteer form. We’d love to talk to you about how you can help us make the Battle Creek community a place where everyone can live, work and play.

2019 Year in Review

Our incredible community and partners have helped us make 2019 a fantastic year. The BCVision team has been hard at work, along with community members, to create lasting and visible change in Battle Creek.

Our goal is to make our community a place where everyone can live, work, and play. That’s why we work to create a thriving Battle Creek with equitable opportunity for income, education, and resources for all.

Our community-driven work focuses on:

  • Culture of Vitality
  • Jobs
  • Talent Development

This year, some or our community’s notable achievements include, but are not limited to:

  • Recognizing the unsung difference makers in our community
  • Creating the Community Loan & Grant Fund through the Small Business Action Team
  • Winning a 2019 All-America City Award
  • Celebrating the 41st annual International SummerFest
  • Honoring our community by having the All-America City Award Celebration
  • Establishing a GED Taskforce to combat the education gap in our community
  • Nurturing youth through the MyCityBC Internship Program

Learn more about the programs, incentives, and more of the great Battle Creek news from 2019 by clicking here.