The reasons students call on Empire College vary. They may be unhappy in their fields, may have not completed a degree, or are looking to land the credentials to boost their careers.
Many come and simply don't know what they want to do. For those students, it is back to the basic formula: What are your interests?
"We have many conversations about them, what they want to do. We form a relationship with the person," Hadley said. "It's like doing a puzzle. It's putting the pieces of their life back together."
At the college, students attend an educational planning course that helps them choose, or at least whittle down, their prospective career choices. They are then sent off to interview people in several fields of work, or shadow workers to gauge their interest in various careers.
A recent Empire College student quit her work as an accountant to focus on working with people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, said Handley. It was an interest she had always had.
Hadley said the trend in recent years is an increase in the population of younger students at the college, which has traditionally served older students. For whatever reason, whether they had "too good of a time" their first year of college or simply weren't ready for work life, former college students and graduates are coming to colleges like Empire to refocus their efforts and interests after gathering life experiences that may have altered their career paths.
At 18 years old, there just isn't that much life experience, Hadley said.
"People need work and non-work (hobbies) to satisfy their diverse needs and interests. We try to encourage students to explore as many of their interests and strengths as possible," said Gracon.
It is as simple as following their dreams, but those dreams change after one, three or 20 years, said Gracon.