Like a growing number of Americans, I decided to complete my undergraduate and graduate degrees later in life. I choose a distance learning program later in life. Find out why I did this and perhaps why it might be right for you.
Is Distance Learning the Right Fit?
When I graduated Riverside Military Academy I entered Florida State University in 1990. It was a huge shock to me. I went from a high school with a graduating class of approximately 120 to a freshman class in college that consisted of about 22,000 students. I will never forget the experience when during my first semester my biology class had 1500 students. It was held in the theater at Florida State. The professor stood up at the front of the theater with an overhead projector (we did not have tablets and smart board back then) and lectured for the semester. At the end of the semester we went and took the final at the testing center which consisted of a multiple-choice test where we colored in bubbles with a number 2 pencil.
After two years at Florida State, I decided to enter the workforce and start my career. Entering the workforce after two years of college is a decision that I do not regret, but as I progressed through the years, I realized that having an undergraduate and eventually a graduate degree was necessary for my career goals and aspirations. The coursework and subsequent research would give me a great perspective and experience that I would go on to utilize in my career.
In 2003 I decided to enroll in American Intercontinental University (AIU) distance learning program. At AIU I earned my AA and my BA degree. One motivating factor was that my employer paid a portion of the tuition which lightened the burden of paying for my education. This program was delivered entirely online and took me approximately two years to complete.
Eleven years later I made the decision to earn my Master’s Degree from Western Governors University (WGU). WGU also provides an online program with the ability to attend some courses and WGU campuses spread across the country. The WGU program was somewhat different than my AIU experience in that there was a testing components that AIU did not have.
Distance learning may not be for everyone. It does require time management skills as well as the ability to utilize non-traditional means in order to interact with professors and fellow students. In addition, since most, if not all, of your interaction takes place remotely, you need to be comfortable with writing so that you can convey to a course evaluator that you have learned the course content and are able to relate it to a real world scenario.
In subsequent posts, I will provide additional insight on both programs and my experience with each. If you are considering entering either of these programs or any online degree program, you will want to read these articles.