Alumni Update: Heather becomes a teacher

Posted by Granite State College on Apr 13, 2015 12:30:00 PM

The Summer 2015 course schedule features an inspiring and bright recent GSC graduate, Heather.

We recently had the opportunity to get an update from Heather! Learn more about what she has been doing since graduating last year.

Heather's starts her journeyHeather_grad

Carpenter Elementary School in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire is a place I know well.

As a young mom who was new to the area, I first visited Carpenter Elementary 17 years ago while holding the sweaty palm of my nervous five-year-old son, Everett. I felt warmth and acceptance from the principal, kindergarten teachers, and staff as I set foot inside. Many years later my daughter Allison attended Carpenter and now my nine-year-old son who is in third grade is there as well. 

This year was different. When I entered those big front doors and walked across the gleaming hard floors, I was the kindergarten teacher. I was reaching out and welcoming my new young students and their families, assuring them of the exciting journey of learning we would all be taking together. 

Life is a journey and though the path may have detours along the way, it is these detours and tests of faith that mold us into who we are. On my journey to finish my degree and become a teacher the single most important thing I would say to myself is, “Heather, don’t give up! You can do this.” 



Heather perseveres

Did I have doubts? Yes, of course. But fortunately, I had professors at Granite State College who believed in me and encouraged me every step of the way (Christine Thompson at the Conway campus and Claude Caswell at the Rochester campus to name just a few).  I was also able to do much of my coursework by taking online classes because of GSC's education programs.

When I heard our district was going to all day kindergarten in the fall of 2014, I kicked my studies into high gear. I wanted to be considered a candidate for a possible full-time kindergarten teacher. Though I knew there was no guarantees, I knew I needed to get my ducks in a row in order to be considered for  a position.

Up until this point I was taking two courses a term and working as a paraprofessional during the school year and was a camp director during the summer. This was in addition to being a mother of three busy children and wife, my two most important jobs. With the assistance of GSC, we mapped out what classes and tests I would need to take over the course of 4 terms in order to finish.

Heather_FamilyHeather shows determination

I took four classes each term, studied and passed the Praxis and Pearson’s Foundation of Reading test, and had many nights my head would not touch the pillow until well after 2 a.m. I kept these late nights in order to limit the impact on my family as I accelerated my course load.

Though Mount. St. Laundry was a permanent fixture in all of our bedrooms and crock meals were a staple, I mustered up every piece of strength and courage within myself to forge ahead and finish my degree and certification.  

I finished my college journey last summer with a bachelor’s in early childhood education with NH teaching certification. 

A kindergarten position did become available and with my portfolio in hand and on a USB drive (thank you GSC School of Education), I applied and interviewed for the position

Heather becomes a teacher

When the principal spoke to me and offered me the position, I had to catch my breath before answering as the tears of hard work and perseverance started rolling down my cheeks. I did it!   

Today I am proud and fortunate to be the kindergarten teacher of eighteen wonderful students. 

Heather's Advice

Dreams really can come true you just need to take that first step. You are worth it!



  Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.

Tags: Teacher certification, Finding your passion, Alumni

Thank your loved ones at Commencement 2015

Posted by Granite State College on Apr 10, 2015 4:54:00 PM

Hey Class of 2015!

Are you looking forward to your big day on June 7, 2015?

The journey to graduation is unique for Granite State College students. We're a college that embraces busy, working students. Throughout the process of completing a college degree, you often rely on your friends and family for support. These people have been with you every step of the way and we're sure they'll be there at graduation, too.

Don't they deserve some love?

We think so!

For the first time ever, we've developed a really cool way for students to thank their friends and family at graduation. These messages will be displayed on the big screen for everyone in the audience to see as you get ready in your cap and gown prior to the ceremony.

Here are some examples of how these messages will look:

Option #1 (with your picture):


Option #2 (if you're camera shy):



This is amazing!! How do I submit my message?

It's easy - we promise!

1. Find a photo (optional)
Either find your favorite picture that you have saved on your computer or snap a selfie. We have three golden rules, here: format, file size, family friendly.
As long as you follows these rules, your photo will be included! If it does not fit these guidelines, a text-only message will display instead.
The photo must be in .jpg format (which is the most common).
File size
File size must be at least 2 MB. If not, the quality of the image will be too blurry to display on the Jumbotron.
To find out the file size of an image that is stored on your computer:
  • Open the file where the image is saved.
  • Place your cursor over the image icon, and right-click if you are using a PC or Ctrl-click if you are using a Mac.
  • Choose Properties.
  • Click the Details tab.
  • Scroll down to the File section - To view the image file size. Keep in mind a KB is smaller than an MB.

Family Friendly

The audience at graduation will range from infants to the elderly, so please choose a photo that will be in good taste for all attendees.

2. Fill out the form
Click here to access the form. You'll provide your name, hometown, degree type, and major. You'll also type in your message to your loved ones (25 words or less) and upload your photo.
Pro tip:  spell check, spell check, spell check!
3. Review your information
If any of the required sections are not completed, you'll be prompted to fill it in again and re-upload your picture (sorry!). We encourge you to get it right the first time to prevent this scenario.
4. Submit!
It's easy as that! You'll receive a confirmation email after you complete the form.
Deadline:  Monday, May 25, 2015

We're really excited to offer this interactive component to our 2015 Commencement Ceremony and we can't wait to put it together!

Tags: Commencement 2015

Spring term kickoff and advice for new students

Posted by Granite State College on Apr 9, 2015 2:18:00 PM

It’s the first week of classes for the Spring 2015 term at Granite State College!

Getting tips and advice can help you stay organized and on track throughout the term will be valuable whether you're taking your first, fourth, or fourteenth class.

To help set the pace for a successful semester, especially for those just starting or returning to college, we asked our faculty and staff to offer their best advice for new students.

Blog_Happy-First-Week_imgCommunicate, communicate, communicate

If you have questions or just want to have a point or two clarified, definitely reach out to your instructor. There is a ton of information to take in at the beginning of the term:  new material, new deadlines, new goals. Your instructors understand this reality.

Whether it’s on your syllabus or not, consider asking questions and addressing anything that seems confusing as part of your assignments for week #1 of your course.

In this case, it pays off to over-communicate versus under-communicate. Don't worry about whether it's a "silly" question. If there's something that's preventing you from fully understanding your responsibilities, it's worth asking.


Create a master calendar

Once you have deadlines for the term, record all of the dates that are important to you over the next few months. A few things to consider…

  • Course due dates
  • Academic calendar (GSC holidays, Add/drop, etc.)
  • Your personal vacation
  • Appointments (doctor, car service, hair salon, dentist)
  • Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day
  • Graduation celebrations and other family get-togethers
  • Your kids’ school vacation days, weekly activities, and last day of school
  • A little "me time" for some relaxing, fitness, or family time
  • The season finale of your favorite TV shows or a a few Red Sox games. If you don't want to miss it, lock in the date and time so you don't feel under pressure/


No matter what you’re studying, find a way to draw a connection between your life and the subject of your course. This can be tough when you're taking a general education requirement, but the pay off is big for a few reasons:

  • You will gain more valuable take-aways
  • Class discussions will come alive
  • Your instructor will learn more about your interests and be able to provide mor relevant and helpful advice
  • It will foster a sense of community with your classmates

Know where to go for tech support.

GSC can provide support and resources to get you back on track if you’re having technology issues. For log in related questions, get in touch with IT Department by visiting or call 1-888-372-4270.

If you're taking online courses, make sure you're comfortable in Moodle, GSC’s online learning system. Anytime throughout the term, you can check out our self-paced tutorial on to get a refresher on how it all works.


What is your advice for a successful term? 


Download our white paper  Granite State's $10,000 bachelor's degree

Tags: Student success tips

The real benefits of taking online classes (from our online students!)

Posted by Granite State College on Apr 1, 2015 5:30:00 PM

If online classes are a mystery to you, you probably have questions about what they’re are really like. Our blog team could certainly put together a fact sheet to help demystify online learning but to really get at the heart of the matter, we went directly to the source: we asked our current online students what they think.

Online_learningSpecifically, we wanted to know: what are the benefits of taking online classes? They described what students can expect and explained that the advantages from their perspective.

The feedback was awesome!

Some students summarized the benefits in a few simple words and others submitted multiple paragraphs, rich with nitty gritty details.

We compiled their responses and have summarized them here. If you’re considering an online class and you’ve been looking for more information about the experience, check out our top five takeaways.


The real benefits of taking online classes (from online students!)

  1. Real interaction. Real community.

For someone who has only taken traditional courses, it’s hard to imagine not having the feedback and energy of a room full of classmates. Believe it or not, the interaction and deep sense of community was talked about a lot among are online students. The instructors are known for incorporating new tools that allow the class to have deep discussions and interactions that are on par (if not greater), than what you’d experience face-to-face. In some classes, you’ll use the chat function and have real-time discussions with the professor and your classmates. When it comes to doing presentations, many courses use Kaltura—a video tool that allows you to upload videos of your presentation to share with your class. These tools all emphasize group participation and aim to help online students build real relationships.


  1. Time to reflect

Have you ever been in a meeting or had a group discussion and thought of the perfect way to add to the conversation after the fact? One advantage of taking a class online is that you don’t need to miss these opportunities. If you think of a really insightful perspective a day after your post—guess what, you can log in and post your new idea that very same week. Overall, you’ll be less rushed to provide the perfect post and you can edit your work along the way.


  1. You save money

Without the back and forth to a campus, you’ll definitely save money on gas. You won’t need to pay to park at a large campus garage or pay room and board. At the end of the semester, the savings can really add up.


  1. It’s flexible

If there are parts of your life that you just can’t reschedule such as a full-time job or caring for your family, online classes are worth looking into. You can go online from your own home at a time that is convenient for you anytime throughout the week so you can balance all your responsibilities. Instead of fitting everything else around your classes, your classes fit into your priorities and responsibilities. Instead of locking in Tuesdays from 6-9:30 p.m. on your calendar each week, you fit in your study time based on what makes sense to you: an hour here, an hour there, a block of time on your days off.


  1. It will reveal or strengthen professional skills

One student shared that taking courses online helped him build up his writing skills. If you think about it, some professionals have jobs that are more hands-on and rarely require writing at all. An online class can really help you perfect this skill. It’s not just about writing, either. You’ll learn about technology, sharpen your time management, and overall communication skills. These are all qualities that businesses are looking for in their employees and will help you when you’re in the market for your next big career opportunity.


Like any other undertaking, learning online is what you make of it. Like every single college course, it will require organization, self-discipline, and hard work. You’ll learn a lot, and even expand your professional portfolio of skills in new and unexpected ways.


What is your favorite part about online learning?


Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.


Tags: Register for classes, Online classes

Choosing a graduate program: what they don’t tell you

Posted by Granite State College on Mar 26, 2015 2:10:00 PM

Think about purchasing a home

Grad_school_check_blog_graphic-696454-editedlt’s an enormous investment and when you’re in the market, you invest a lot of yourself in that search. You chat with friends and family who have recently gone through the experience. You can do a ton of research online. You can even download apps that will show you listings that fit your exact criteria. On top of that, you can get a real estate agent who you trust and will work hard to find your dream home.

Now think about enrolling for a master’s degree.

It’s not quite as expensive as purchasing a home (hopefully!), but it’s another important and very personal search. You can once again ask for the advice of your loved ones. You can search online, read lists of rankings and reports, and discuss it with a representative from the College or University.

But when there’s a selection of programs that will suit your needs, the search suddenly becomes infinitely more complicated.

The tricky part (and the part nobody really talks about) is that local colleges are really working hard to develop high quality, relevant, and affordable degree programs and they’re doing a great job. They’re making their programs more affordable, more convenient for working professionals, and easier to access.

It creates a good news/bad news scenario for potential students: having options is amazing but it can be a huge challenge when it’s not clear which one to pick.

Does this sound familiar? What can you do to move forward with choosing a graduate program?

Think real estate: you’re the buyer and the potential graduate programs are the motivated sellers. Just like a real estate agent would steer you away from properties outside of your criteria, you can take this approach when finding your master’s degree program.

Of course it’s not easy to separate yourself from the search process. A real estate agent doesn’t have to live in the house they sell to a client—they don’t need to live with the result. You however will be deeply tied to the result of your master’s degree search, so how do you shift your approach?

We put together our tips for executing your search for a master’s program with the focus and determination of a real estate powerhouse.

Here are five steps to becoming your own college search agent.

1. Criteria – what are your “must haves”?

To think like a college search agent, you’ll need to be highly aware of which features are the most important to you. Is it affordability? How quickly do you want to start? Do you want to study online or on campus or both? How soon do you want to earn a degree? Do you want a broad program that’s applicable in any field or a niche area of study? Are you willing to take a GRE or GMAT?

2. Rank it.

Distractions happen. We have all gone to the grocery store and purchased items that weren’t on our original list. Maybe you had the intention of buying the generic version and ended up with the name brand instead. In most cases… no biggie. But you don’t want this to happen with your college search—you can potentially lose time, money, and experiences that you would’ve really valued.

The beauty of developing your criteria and ranking it is that you build up a natural defense against these distractions.

3. Stick to your guns and limit negotiations

Referring back to the real estate analogy for a moment… if having a yard is a must then a good real estate agent is not going to show the client a house on a postage stamp-sized lot.

Let’s say that your top priority is to finish a degree in less than two years. You’re also interested in programs that offer diverse electives, but that’s further down your list. If you happen upon a program with amazing elective courses that you’d love to study but the program takes four years to complete, you’ll need to stay true to your criteria. It’s a tough call, but it allows you to stay focused on your goals.

Only consider the most relevant “listings” so you don’t end up giving your attention to master’s degree programs that won’t ultimately make you happy. Critically examine your criteria alongside the features of the potential master’s degree programs and aim to narrow it down to two or three.

4. Narrow it down and inquire

When your list of potential schools is wittled down, it’s a great time to reach out.

With your refined criteria and your ability to stick to these perimeters, you’ll be able to forge a really productive conversation with representatives from your master’s degree program.

Be sure to have your criteria handy. If you’re speaking with someone on the phone, have it nearby. If you’re meeting face-to-face, bring it in a padfolio. We already addressed how it’s easy to get distracted. It’s also easy to forget to ask a question that’s important to your decision.

5. Make your choice!

At this point, you should have one or two programs that fit your needs. Use your criteria (or at this point, your gut instinct) to make your final choice and submit your applications.

And of course, congratulate yourself! You found your master’s degree program and you didn’t even have to pay a finder’s fee (college searching is so much better than house hunting!).


With the added structure you get from thinking like an agent, you can feel confident that you’re moving in the right direction as you narrow down your options.

Download Winning your Grad School Search Checklist and move closer to choosing a graduate program.

Click her to download a free checklist for your grad school search


Tags: Graduate studies

Interested in becoming a teacher? Learn how one graduate is making a difference in Coos county

Posted by Granite State College on Mar 19, 2015 7:30:00 PM


Have you ever asked a teacher why they chose a career in education? In their explanation, they’re sure to exude passion for their work. Even if you know that teaching isn’t for you, hearing a teacher’s answer will often have you feeling inspired. did a great job at bottling this energy when they put together a blog of their top "7 Reasons Why Becoming a Teacher is Awesome:"

  1. Be a leader kids can look up to
  2. Give kids the skills they need to compete in a challenging global market
  3. Create new and innovative lesson plans
  4. Become an expert in your subject
  5. Be the most important person to many families
  6. Fulfill your true calling
  7. Shape our future

There’s a strong common thread here. Becoming a teacher is all about making a difference.

Granite State College has the opportunity to be a small part of a teacher’s journey. It’s something that means a lot to the institution.

The facts and figures show that our education students are working in almost every single school district in the state. A recent report announced that teachers from our programs have an 85% hire rate in New Hampshire.

This is incredible reach that makes GSC proud, but there’s just something different and powerful when you see this impact in action.

This is how we felt when alumna Sue Cloutier was in the news for being Named Recipient of the Sylvia Evans Award. Cloutier received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Granite State College.

"I have been working with young children since before mine were even born and I continue to do it because I know that child care providers do the most important job in the world," Cloutier said.

"We have both the responsibility and the ability to influence children's entire lives. We are helping to raise the future leaders of our community. Every day in the field of early childhood education there is a new adventure. That is what captured my interest early on and what has kept me in the field for over 30 years," she said.

Cloutier emerged as the 2015 honoree for building a true legacy in her community. In her career as a teacher, she has served a leadership role and at the Gorham Community Learning Center and the Early Childhood Education Center at White Mountains Community Center.

Becoming a teacher is all about making a difference, just as Sue Cloutier has demonstrated. Congrats, Sue! We hope your story inspires others who dream of becoming a teacher!

For our current and future teachers, what reasons inspire you to pursue this career?

Thank you to the Berlin Daily Sun's Barbara Tetreault for covering Sue Cloutier’s accomplishments!


Tags: Teacher certification, Alumni, In the news

2014 Commencement Highlights

Posted by Granite State College on Mar 9, 2015 12:17:20 PM

Countdown to Commencement!

In less than 100 days, we will celebrate Commencement for the Class of 2015.

Let's revisit all of the wonderful moment's from last year's graduation!


Setting up the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook, which will once again serve as the venue for Commencement.



It's always a family affair!



The graduates lining up for the processional.


Picture perfect!


The recipient of the Honorary Doctorate Degree, Jeremy Hitchcock, CEO of Dyn.


Someone is proud of their #granitegrad!


A touching tribute.


The Class of 2014 graduate students posing for a group shot.



Stay tuned for more updates on the 2015 Commencement Ceremony and be sure to save the date!

Sunday, June 7, 2015  |  Noon
Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook  | Gilford, NH


Tags: Commencement 2015

Is a master’s degree worth it?

Posted by Granite State College on Mar 6, 2015 8:30:00 AM

For the past few years, there have been countless headlines about student loan debt, especially in New Hampshire where the state has topped lists ranking the highest levels of student debt in the country. It’s an important issue that potential students need to consider and an important issue that College’s need to respond to (read more about our approach in our white paper, $10,000 bachelor's degree).

If undergraduate loan debt is a factor, how can you consider a master’s degree? Should you even try?

If you read our recent white paper on the $10,000 bachelor’s degree, you’ve learned that Granite State College really works to make an undergraduate degree possible, especially for those who have a financial need. Potential graduate students can expect the same commitment to affordability.

Even so, any potential graduate student needs to deeply examine if a master’s can benefit their career goals—it can be an incredibly advantage for some, while others may want to pursue other means to get ahead.

Where should you start? We’ve put together a few suggestions in our latest guide:  Is a master's degree worth it?

In this download, you can learn about various ways to help measure the impact and value of a master’s degree for you. It also comes with a checklist to further help you determine if the investment in a graduate degree is a good fit for you.


Download your guide:  is a master's degree worth it?




Tags: Affordability, Graduate studies

Meet Elizabeth | Milford, NH

Posted by Granite State College on Feb 25, 2015 11:45:00 AM


Enhancing your leadership qualities can permeate all the other aspects of your life. Elizabeth from Milford, NH, is the perfect example.

Along her journey, Elizabeth developed effective leadership practices that not only advanced her own goals, she applied what she learned to build and support leadership within her community. In the end, this gave her a rich experience that offered academic, personal, and professional fulfillment.

Academic Fulfillment

Elizabeth was interested in a graduate program long before she found the Master of Science in Leadership at Granite State College. She had even tried a master’s program at another institution, but it didn’t match up well with her lifestyle as a working professional. Finding GSC’s Leadership program was a game changer.

I wanted to make sure that a master’s program wasn’t going to negatively affect my family life. I’m someone who wants to do it all and Granite State has given this to me. I’m able to be successful in my full-time job. I’m able to have a personal life, quality time with my family, and I’m able to be a successful student. The online format allows me to log in when I want and wherever I am, so I’m still able to go on vacation – I just take my computer with me.

Personal Fulfillment

Outside of work and school, Elizabeth is passionate about the local food economy. She is a regular at her local farmer’s market and she was concerned when she noticed that it wasn’t as vibrant as year’s past.

I wanted to provide support, so I asked how I could help. I found out that they were in a period of transitional leadership. The founders of the farmer’s market had been running things for the past 36 years. They also run a fulltime farm and were finding that the operations of both, along with everything else in their personal life, were getting to be too much. They were identifying a new manager but in the interim, they needed support.

Using concepts that she was exploring in the Master of Science in Leadership, Elizabeth worked with the founders to solidify a marketing plan, introduce social media, and get things back on track.

My goal was to help bridge that gap during the transition in leadership.Now the farmer’s market is moving forward and thriving with their new management.

Professional Fulfillment

Elizabeth began her career in Human Resources through a temporary position. She learned quickly, grew as a professional, and proved to be an asset in the workplace. Her supervisors saw her potential, and Elizabeth earned a role as a full-time, permanent employee. There is a lot of synergy between Elizabeth’s professional career in Human Resources and the M.S. in Leadership.

The Leadership curriculum linked to my work in human resources so seamlessly. Everything just fed into each other. Through my professional experience, I had a lot to offer to the discussion and could share real-life, career-relevant examples that were relevant to the topics in our classes.

Because Leadership spoke to so many areas of her life, Elizabeth thrived as a student in the Master of Science in Leadership program. In June 2014, she participated in Commencement. Elizabeth will continue to foster leadership in everything she does and looks forward to living her life with this purpose.


Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.

Tags: Register for classes, Leadership, Finding your passion, Graduate studies

Reaching her fullest potential: Susan earns her teacher certification

Posted by Granite State College on Feb 13, 2015 1:57:00 PM
Susan reached a point where she looked at her life critically.
How satisfied am I? What am I doing to contribute to my growth as a person, my community, and my family?

This self-reflection was fueled by Susan’s career aspirations. A marketing professional turned stay at home mom, once her kids were grown and comfortable, Susan was eager to find a new sense of purpose.

I didn’t want to go back into work for a paycheck. I wanted to go back to work to make a difference.

She was attracted most to teaching. She knew she needed to go back to college to reach this goal. Susan acknowledged that making this leap, no matter how carefully planned, would have an impact on her family. She needed compromise and support from her family.


It was a shift and we had to all be on the same team. I had to accept that it was OK if to cut back in certain areas. It’s not

about what mom isn’t able to do now that she’s a student. It’s about creating a legacy so my children can see my example.

With her support system strong and secure, Susan began to study at a private college in New Hampshire but for Susan, the program didn’t quite fit. Susan sought a school that was fluid and one that would embrace her as an individual.

Then Susan found the teacher certification programs at Granite State College. Not only did it provide her with the education she needed to make a career transition, but Susan valued that at GSC, the teacher certification programs would enable her to holistically improve herself, her classmates, community, and family.

Susan is passionate about her new opportunities and passionate about sharing her story with others who are trying to find their way.

Any dream you have is worth fighting for. You can’t let anything get in the way of pursuing your potential and for me, I found that education is the key.

The legacy that Susan wanted to build to inspire her family took effect sooner rather than later: Susan’s husband Nathan is now pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Granite State!

Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.


Tags: Career transitions, Teacher certification, Register for classes, Adult students