How to Turn Previous College Credits into an Associate Degree

Did you spend time attending college in the past, only to leave with college credits and no degree? Multiple studies show you are not alone. Family, work, and everyday responsibilities often make it difficult to prioritize personal goals, including pursuing a college education.

The good news: You don’t have to lose the work, time, and money you already invested into school—and you’re probably closer than you think to your degree. The University of Cincinnati (UC) created an educational pathway for you to apply previously earned college credits towards an associate degree. It’s the Individualized Study in Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS) program, and it’s available entirely online. The program is tailored to fit your future aspirations and career goals, whether you seek to increase your stature within your organization, or you simply want to prove you can earn that degree.

Completing an associate degree will make you more marketable and better positioned for a competitive job market. If you are at a point in your life where school seems more manageable, it’s not too late to restart your journey. Read on to learn more about the pathway forward to applying your prior college courses directly toward a degree.

Meet Karen Lankisch and Her Connection to UC’s Associate Degree Program
Karen Lankisch has been on UC’s staff since 2000 and played a key role in developing the Associate of Individualized Study in Interdisciplinary Studies degree.

Karen Lankisch is the Program Director for UC Online’s AIS program. She played a key role in creating it and is an enthusiastic supporter of this associate degree, as is Jeff Rubel, UC’s Business, Law & Technology Department Chair and a Professor of Legal Studies. “Jeff and I worked together to bring this program into existence, and we both believe this program can be a game-changer for people struggling to earn a college degree,” Karen says.

Karen is a champion of UC’s online degree programs and their inherent flexibility because students access coursework and interact with professors and fellow students when and wherever works best for them. She’s a veteran of teaching in a virtual environment with experience that goes back years.

Karen’s passion for helping adult learners who had to stop short of completing their degree is inspiring. “I’ve seen countless times where students start their academic journey and have to quit for some reason,” she says. “I wanted to create something where they could apply their hard-earned credits to an associate degree to help them reach their goal — whether a work promotion or taking another step in their career.”

Karen calls it gratifying to see students enroll in this associate degree program after making education a priority again. “Now, they’re in a better position to return to school, get their degree and achieve the new goals they have. And they’re excited about what’s to come,” she says

Personalized, Customized Online Associate Degree

If the term or degree name “Interdisciplinary Studies” is new to you, it’s representative of the associate degree’s mix of college credit hours — and the program’s highly personalized aspect.

“Many students come in with quite a few credits already, and they’re able to complete the program quickly,” Karen says.

What makes the speed possible are the “cluster” options as part of the Interdisciplinary Studies program curriculum that let Karen and a UC faculty member brainstorm the best way to group a student’s existing credit hours into one or more specialty areas that maximize those credits.

“Students begin their journey with a focus on Academic & Career Decisions and are encouraged to think about where they’ve been and where they want to go,” Karen says. “They enjoy taking time to explore and reflect on how their goals and interests can be integrated into their degree.”

How You Can Use Your Associate Degree

If you’re wondering how students and graduates take their interdisciplinary studies degree into the real world, Karen shares several examples:

“We have students working toward careers in a variety of fields, including healthcare, management, technology, business, education, sports administration, criminal justice, legal studies, and religion. Some work in entry-level positions today and know this degree will help them move up to the next level. Others hope to enter a new field where an associate degree makes a difference.”

With the program’s highly customized features, UC’s associate degree program can be applied to almost any career goal you have.

Karen also notes that students earning their associate degree have a seamless pathway to move directly into the Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies (BTAS) degree, another 100%-online program. Most students can complete the BTAS degree with just two additional years. “Our grads appreciate the smooth transition from AIS into the BTAS program,” says Karen. “The way the programs are designed makes it easy for students to achieve an even higher level of education and keep moving forward in their career.”

Ready to Make Up for Lost Time and Use the Credits You Earned?

We’re ready to help you get started! Getting in touch with an enrollment services advisor is your next step in exploring UC Online’s Associate of Individualized Study in Interdisciplinary Studies program. We’re here to take your call Monday–Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST. Call (833) 556-4428 and let the advisor know any questions you have, including about financial aid, Veteran and military benefits, upcoming start dates, and how the enrollment process works.

Karen looks forward to meeting you and helping you apply your previously earned college credits to an associate degree that’s personalized for your career dreams!

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