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Achieving the Dream by Dr. Carol A. Leary

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Amazon: Achieving the Dream: A How-To Guide for Adult Women Seeking a College Degree

“As an educator for more than 45 years—33 of those at women’s colleges—I have witnessed the incredible spirit and tenacity of adult women as they embark upon and continue their higher education journeys.” —Carol A. Leary, Ph.D.

There are over 76 million women in this country without a college degree. According to the 2015 “Status of Women in the States” report published by the Women’s Institute for Policy Research, only 29.7% of adult women aged 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree. Even more compelling, significant gaps in degree attainment among racial and ethnic groups are a stark reminder of inequalities that remain in accessing and completing a college education: only 21.6% of African-American women and 15.5% of Hispanic women have earned their bachelor’s degree.

Dr. Carol A. Leary, President of Bay Path University with 40-plus years of experience in higher education, most of them at women’s colleges, is a first-generation college student herself and has a personal and professional commitment to dramatically improve these statistics. Bay Path, a women’s institution, is one of the fastest growing baccalaureate colleges in the United States according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2014, under Leary’s leadership, The American Women’s College at Bay Path University, the first all-women, all-online baccalaureate program in the nation was launched. Dr. Leary’s experience and her passion for women’s education led her to write ACHIEVING THE DREAM: A How-to Guide for Adult Women Seeking a College Degree (White River Press; September 15, 2016; $22). The book is an enlightening, step-by-step guide that coaches and inspires women to successfully navigate the higher education system.

According to Dr. Leary, “There is so much cynicism about the value of higher education. We hear it all the time. Yet the real issue is the cost of not going to college or not completing a college degree.”

She states that more attention must be paid to the direct correlation between a woman’s level of education and her overall quality of life. Women with a college degree are far likelier to have financial security for themselves and their families, earning on average between 500,000 and over 1 million dollars more than those with a high school diploma alone. Their health outcomes are stronger; their children have a higher likelihood of going to college.

Despite these compelling reasons to earn a degree, Dr. Leary acknowledges that the prospect of starting college or returning to higher education as an adult can feel daunting. Women who never began a degree program or who never finished college, because of any number of life reasons, may lack the confidence to move forward. Challenges such as finances, time, and educational support are seemingly insurmountable. Adding to these obstacles, adult women often find that the traditional model of higher education at most colleges doesn’t address their unique needs. Limited information on where or how to begin is yet another impediment.

In ACHIEVING THE DREAM, Dr. Leary tackles these issues, presenting a clear and compelling case for not only why a woman should earn a college degree, but how to enroll in college and successfully complete a degree. Each chapter of the book includes a step-by-step guide addressing such topics as:

  • Why you need a college education
  • How to apply to college
  • What is financial aid and how to get it
  • How to choose a career path
  • How to find the right college
  • What to expect when taking your first course
  • How to develop relationships with faculty and others who will give you the support you need

Each chapter includes resources, websites, and all the information needed to get started and successfully attain a degree. Personal anecdotes of adult women graduates conclude every chapter, offering motivation and inspiration for the reader. ACHIEVING THE DREAM is an essential tool for any woman who wants to earn her degree. As Dr. Paul LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University, says in his endorsement of the book, “whether 18 or 80…this is a must-read.”

A How-to Guide for Adult Women Seeking a College Degree
By Carol A. Leary, Ph.D.
White River Press
Publication Date: September 15, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-88704324-3
Original Trade Paperback
Price: $22.00
310 pp

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