MTSU's online options allow busy mom of 11 to return to college to pursue degree

Jun 17, 2021 at 01:26 pm by WGNS

MTSU adult learner Julie Witt of Old Hickory, Tenn., standing, homeschools five of her children as she also pursues completion of her bachelor’s degree in integrated studies after two decades away from the classroom. Pictured with her at their home, from bottom left, are Lincoln, 13; Clara, 16; Noelle, 9; Barrett, 15; and Kenny, 11. (Submitted photo)

Going back to college as an adult is all about balancing your time between work, a family, a social life, and school. For Julie Witt, a mother of 11 children, finding a way to balance all those things comes sort of naturally at this point.

MTSU University College’s Integrated Studies program offered the online flexibility that allowed the Old Hickory, Tennessee, resident to resume her journey toward her educational goals.

Witt decided to return to college after more than two decades away from academia. She had attended Eastern Kentucky University right out of high school, but left after about two years when she was offered a job. She had a growing family, so it made sense to work and return to school later.

She homeschooled the children — Cameron, Avery, Lauren, Harrison, Corban, Bristol, Clara, Barrett, Lincoln, Kendall and Noelle — because her husband, Joshua, was full-time with the Tennessee Army National Guard. He was traveling a lot for work, and she says it was hard to balance everything.

“I had no real time for myself,” she said. “Then, when they stopped homeschooling I started working again.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Julie and her husband had five kids still in school, but they were soon sent home because of restrictions. She decided to homeschool them again to make their schedules more manageable, but she wanted to start school herself.

“I knew it was time to focus on myself a little bit,” she said. “I had always loved school and loved learning, but I just didn’t know what I wanted to focus on.”

“The MTSU program, not only is it close, but when I looked into the adult learning program and heard about PLA I thought it would be a good thing to explore,” she said, referring to the university’s Prior Learning Assessment program. “I thought this could be a way for me to finish up my bachelor’s degree a little faster.”

With the Prior Learning Assessment course, often referred to as PLA, adult students are able to convert their prior work and training and certifications into college credit and use up to 60 credits toward electives. Students do all of this for the cost and time of a three credit-hour course.

“I have loved the online format because I can really focus in here and work when I find the best time for me, “ she said. “I love forming personal relationships, but for where I am right now, I have to find something that works on my schedule and this works perfectly.”

If you are interested in finishing your degree or starting as an adult, visit for more information.

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