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Returning to School as a Working Parent: Ensign College Was the Perfect Fit

For many working adults, the thought of going back to school can seem daunting, if not impossible. Juggling a job, family responsibilities, and hitting the books is no easy feat. But for Brandee Nadauld, a recent graduate of Ensign College in Salt Lake City, the flexibility and support system provided by the school made achieving her academic goals an empowering reality.

At 49 years old, Brandee found herself at a crossroads. A divorced mother of seven children, she knew she needed to find a way to better support her family financially and pay off debt. Though the path forward seemed unclear, Brandee was determined to lead by example for her kids and accomplish the goal of earning her bachelor's degree in Business Management .

"I knew I needed to go back and get an education, but also be able to work full-time while I got my education and still be a mom," Brandee explained. With employment and parenthood at the forefront, flexibility and efficiency in her academic program were essential.

A Flexible, Working Parent-Friendly Program
What made Ensign College stand out for Brandee was the ability to take evening classes while continuing to work full-time during the day. During the pandemic, she took most of her courses online at night. When in-person learning resumed, Brandee was apprehensive at first about making it work with her schedule. But she soon found the night class times were the perfect solution.

"I thought there's no way I can do it," she recalled. "Then I came to my first in-person class and fell in love with in-person classes. I was able to work until 4:00 or 4:30 and then come do the night classes and be home most nights to tuck my kids into bed and still do the mom things I needed to do."

This flexibility was pivotal for Brandee being able to earn her Bachelor of Science in Business Management while upholding her roles as a working professional and devoted parent.

A Faith-Based Education
Beyond the program's convenient schedule, Ensign's blend of secular and spiritual learning was also a major draw for Brandee. As a religious person, she appreciated how each class started with a prayer and spiritual thought - something she found inspiring and grounding amidst the academic demands.

"When you have the spiritual with the secular, you have the spirit there to help you remember the thing you need to remember, but also just the extra support and knowing this is where Heavenly Father wants you. That all plays a part and helps you feel more confident in what you're doing," Brandee explained.


An Affordable, Supportive Community
From professors who became friends and mentors to advisors who went the extra mile, Brandee found the Ensign community to be a remarkable support system throughout her academic journey. Her advisor, in particular, was instrumental, meeting with her each semester to ensure she stayed on track while navigating any obstacles.

"He was a big cheerleader for me and really helped me decipher which classes I needed and how to make my schedule work," Brandee said. "When problems came up, he was a great resource for me. I wasn't a number to him. He knew me."

Affordability was another major benefit at Ensign. Brandee initially received the school's self-reliance scholarship her first semester before learning about the single-parent scholarship that she says was "such a blessing" and "unexpected." This financial assistance helped tremendously in making her degree possible.

A Proud Graduate's Advice
Looking back, Brandee has nothing but gratitude for her Ensign experience and all the individuals who supported her in reaching this milestone. As she walked across that stage at commencement, she felt overwhelming appreciation for the teachers, administrators and others who played a role.

For working adults considering a career change or going back to school, Brandee wholeheartedly recommends Ensign: "It's a way to follow your dreams and accomplish your goals that you want to accomplish, and have people cheer for you all along the way and not be alone in your journey."

Ensign made it possible for this determined mother to create a brighter future for herself and her family while still showing up fully in her professional and parental roles. If you're in a similar situation, taking the leap by exploring programs like the ones at Ensign College could be the first step towards making your own dreams a reality.

Ready to make a similar move? Reach out to our admissions team for more information.

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