Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
Emily Baxter, Web Editor
Tina O’Toole knew she wanted more for herself. Stepping out of an abusive relation- ship with her son at age 20, college wasn’t right for her just then. But then things looked up with a loving husband and giving birth to a daughter with a heart condition.
Although having a child with a disability was hard on her as well, O’Toole kept her eyes on the prize: college. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do though. What would college offer her?
Transferring from a community college to Cedar Crest became one of O’Toole’s best decisions. “I chose to apply to Cedar Crest because I felt it would be more challenging, and suit my personality and ambitions better than my other options,” said O’Toole.
Cedar Crest College is the only four-year college program in the Lehigh Valley to have almost half of its attendees to be over 24, unlike other colleges in the Valley whose attendees are mostly in the 24 and under age range.
According to College Navigator Fall 2011 numbers for Lehigh University, 100 percent of its attendees are 24 and under. For Muhlenberg College, 91 percent of its attendees are 24 and under. The same could be said for other Valley schools, such as Lafayette College and Kutztown University, with numbers for the 24 and under age range 99 percent and 92 percent, respectively.
It just goes to show that SAGE, or School of Adult Graduate Education, is doing pretty well for itself at Cedar Crest.
SAGE is a program where men and women come from all over the Lehigh Valley to finish up their education (graduate students) or began a whole new adventure in learning. Students like Tina O’Toole started at Cedar Crest at a later age, giving the college as a whole an “older” student body.
“We work with students in the Lehigh Valley workforce,” said Gaetan Giannini, Dean of the SAGE program. “We under- stand what it’s like to have a family and working full-time, so we accommodate our students through night classes or weekend classes.”
“Some colleges use adjunct professors to teach adult students,” he added, “but we don’t. We use full-time faculty to teach at night or on the weekends.”
Many adult students do work full-time and go to school part time. According to the SAGE website, adult students can take online courses or accelerated courses and go to work at the same time. SAGE also gives students the opportunity to transfer credits from a community college or another four-year university. If a student has enough credits, he or she would not have to take general education courses like a traditional undergraduate would.
SAGE is one of the best adult education programs in the Lehigh Valley. While other colleges in the Lehigh Valley are more traditional undergraduate and in the 18-24 age range, Cedar Crest College has students from all walks of life.
Cedar Crest College has a diverse population of older and younger students, and as for the older students, walking across the stage is one of the best feelings in the world.