EdSurge Collection

Second Acts Podcast Series

Second Acts Podcast Series

There are 36 million Americans who have earned some college credit, but not an actual degree. More colleges than ever are trying to help these students return to finish what they started. But so far, colleges are better at attracting these learners than helping them get across the finish line. Why is it so hard? What do these students want? What challenges do they face? And what strategies seem to be working?

EdSurge is digging into the struggles of returning adult college students in this three-episode narrative podcast series. We’ll be following the educational journeys of three college students from different backgrounds and different parts of the country. Along the way, we’ll also meet some of their professors, academic coaches and other folks working to help them succeed.

Episode 1: The Many Reasons Students Quit College

Bad experiences and feelings of disengagement in middle and high school can haunt students even as they enter college. That, plus a number of other factors, explain why millions of students have left college without a degree. In the first episode of a new podcast series we’re calling Second Acts, we hear the in-depth stories of three students who walked away from post-secondary education.

Episode 2: How to Keep Returning College Students on Track

Millions of U.S. adults have attended some college but never finished a degree. What does it take to get them back in class? And once they’re back, how can colleges help them stay on track? In the second episode of our podcast series Second Acts, we hear the in-depth stories of three students who headed back to finish a degree.

Episode 3: What a College Degree Means to Adult Students

There's a big difference between being nearly done with college and getting that diploma. In the finale of our Second Acts podcast series, we learn whether the three students we’ve been following finished their degrees, and what the distinction of college grad means to them at this point in their lives.

This series is supported by The Lumina Foundation.

Meet the Students

Paul Carr is 47 and lives in Detroit.

He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta in the 1990s but dropped out just one semester short of graduating. He has now re-enrolled and hopes to finish.

Gina Petersen is 42 and lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

She headed straight to her local institution, Kirkwood Community College, after graduating high school. But she left after a year. Will she finish the online program she's in there now?

Tim Lum is 34 and lives in Honolulu.

He enrolled in a technical school after high school but didn’t stay long. Now he's trying a combination of a coding bootcamp and his local community college.

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