Dream Becomes Reality for APS Student

As a teacher at Brookside Elementary School in Nicholasville, Kentucky, Trina Moore spends her days educating and inspiring 26 second-grade students. Just last year, however, Moore was a student herself, earning her bachelor’s degree in elementary education through Asbury University’s Adult Professional Studies (APS) program.

“There was a time in my life when I thought I would never get the opportunity to go to college and earn my degree, yet Asbury made it possible,” says Moore, who completed her final semester last fall.

APS is a unique undergraduate program designed to provide working adults with a convenient way to complete a college degree. Students attend classes from 6 to 10 one night a week, and they can choose one of three majors: elementary education, management and ethics, and leadership and ministry.

“I happened to see an ad in the newspaper for the elementary education program at Asbury and decided to attend a meeting at the (APS) office to learn more,” says Moore. “I learned that it was much more affordable than I had expected … The location was also a plus, and the evening class one night a week worked well with my busy schedule.”

When Moore enrolled in 2007, she had already completed an associate’s degree in child and family studies. Like many APS students, she earned her bachelor’s degree while balancing family and church commitments and a full-time job as a state-certified home day care provider.

Josh Fee, director of APS, recognizes that adult students need a way to complete their degrees without putting their jobs and families on hold.

“In this day and age, people really can’t drop their jobs and go back to school three times a week during the day,” says Fee. “They have to have some kind of opportunity to finish their degree … that’s going to help them manage all the important things in their lives.”

APS enables students to do just that and complete their degrees in about two years. To enroll, students must have already earned 39 credit hours that transfer to Asbury. Those who have not already taken the required general education or elective classes can earn credit for them by taking online courses through the program.

“Our adult students are carrying many responsibilities … One of the great things about the program is that we can be flexible and work with the students,” says Fee. “If we need to slow the program down a bit for them, we can do that. Ultimately our goal is that they finish and that they have a great experience while they’re here.”

The flexibility of the APS program makes it convenient for students of all backgrounds and ages. “Students come from all different walks of life, from different vocations and places of employment, and from different theological traditions and previous college experiences, but I think that’s what makes for such a neat experience for them,” says Fee.

“The curriculum is set up to provide them an opportunity to share from those experiences. For adult students, the model of education that seems to work best is one in which they are actively engaged in the classroom. They have an opportunity to take the theory of the things they are learning and really think about what it looks like in practice.”

Roughly 180 students are currently enrolled in the APS program. They are organized in groups of 12 or 15 called “cohorts.” There are separate cohorts for students enrolling in the spring and fall semesters for each of the three majors. Because a cohort sticks together until graduation, it becomes more than just a group of classmates.

“One of my favorite parts of the APS program was being able to stay with the same cohort of students throughout,” says Moore. “We were there for each other and prayed for each other in class as well as outside of class … We developed lifelong friendships in our two years together.”

Moore’s cohort provided her with the encouragement she needed to stick with the program even when she felt overwhelmed.

“There were times that I felt like I was in over my head, but I kept on going, knowing that the Lord had led me there for a reason … I am immensely grateful to have been blessed with the greatest support group I could have ever asked for, my cohort, who have become some of my very best friends.”

Helen Rader, APS assistant professor and practicum coordinator, acknowledges both the effort APS students devote to classes and the rewards they gain.

“It takes a lot of courage, and it takes a lot of perseverance … but in the end, that investment that they’ve made in themselves is going to pay off over and over and over again,” says Rader. “Not only are their family and kids proud of them, but they’re proud of themselves.”

Moore echoes this sentiment. “At the age of 34, I graduated with summa cum laude honors and the most amazing feeling of accomplishment that I have ever experienced,” she says. “It was one of the most joyous, unforgettable days of my life, and getting to share that experience with my husband and children was just icing on the cake.”

For Moore, the rewards have continued long past graduation. “I think back to all the time I spent at Asbury preparing for my new career, all the classes, studying, and rigorous work that I did … Well, today, I have 26 good reasons that greet me with smiling faces every morning,” says Moore. “They make every bit of that hard work worthwhile.”

Whether students enroll in the APS program to set an example for their children, prepare themselves for a new job, respond to God’s call, or simply complete an unfinished degree, they gain more than an education. They gain a new sense of personal fulfillment.

Says Moore, “To know without a doubt that I am fulfilling God’s calling in my life — that is the best reward of all.”