My Big Decision
The economy today is slowly rising, but finding a decent paying job for many still seems like nothing more than a fantasy. I have felt this way for some time now because it seems that without a degree, the only way I was going to get a job, is to fight teenagers for positions at McDonald’s or Taco Bell. For the past few years, I had been a seasonal worker as a housekeeper for beach homes. The pay was okay, but I still was not making enough money to pay my bills and secure my future. And the worst part was that I hated my job. I did not want to spend the rest of my life cleaning up after people who could afford to rent beach homes for vacation. I wanted to be one of those people one day. So, on my next day off, I decided that I would do some research online about different colleges because I had had enough. I was going back to school to earn my degree so that I could find me a normal office job that offered benefits, vacation time, and best of all…was not seasonal.
Choosing the Right College
I found searching for the right college for me to be daunting. I knew that the first qualification for the right school was that it had to offer all the courses that I needed for a degree online. At first, I decided to use one of those websites that “help” you to find the right college. While for many people this may be a big help, I found it to be annoying. I was constantly getting phone calls and emails from schools and many of the phone calls where from each college a few times a day. I tried talking to some of the people from the colleges, but they seemed to only want me to know what they wanted me to know and would pressure me to go to their school. I found that removing myself from all of these lists and researching each school on my own worked the best for me. The more research that I did, the more I found out about how important a schools accreditation was. By this I mean, how many different states accepted the potential degree as an official degree. Many online schools are accredited in only a number of states! This means that you could work hard to earn a degree and may even have to pay students loans to earn that degree, and it may end up completely useless in the state that you live in! I also found that a very important attribute to an online college is whether or not they transfer credits that you may have already earned previously. Back when I was in High School, I had taken two English courses at a local Technical College and wanted to have to credits transferred because this meant that it was two less courses I had to take and pay for.
Who Did I Choose, Why, and How Things Went?
After much research, I found myself contacting Ashford University. They are a nationally accredited college that offers many different online Bachelors’ and Associate’s degrees. I spoke with an admissions adviser who was great and walked me through the entire process. One of the things that I found amazing was that before the admissions advisor even enrolled, she walked me through a demo online that gave me an idea of how the online classrooms ran and how to find information that I may need such as how to contact advisers or instructors, check my account balance, and information about my financial aid. This demo allowed for me to decide whether or not I would be able to work with the online system. She also helped me to transfer my credits, get financial aid, and set me up for an Associate’s Degree and all of my courses. She made it all so easy and painless.
As I started on my journey to earn my degree, my assigned student adviser would call to check on me every week for the first couple of weeks. They made sure that I was adjusting to the classroom platform and was working well with my studies. The student advisers are great and will answer any questions you may have and within 24 hours. In most cases, they have contacted me the same day I sent out an email. For example, my student adviser is Robert Schadt and I had a concern about a book that I needed for my next course, but had not received my financial aid yet. I was having financial trouble and could not afford the book, so I emailed Mr. Schadt. The next day, I received an email back from him and he adjusted my schedule so that I could take the class at a later time so I would not have to worry about purchasing the book just yet.
The classroom platform is very easy to work with. Your homepage has everything you need and you can adjust it to fit your needs. On my homepage, I am able to see what courses are coming up, the latest Ashford news, and degree status (i.e. credits needed, credits earned, credits remaining). Once you enter your current course, you have all of your expected work laid out for you over the course of five weeks. This is great because each class lasts five weeks and every week begins on Tuesday and ends the following Monday. You easily know what is due and when so that you can work around your schedule to complete your assignments. They also have many “constellation courses”. Constellation courses are courses that give you your textbook online and can easily be accessed at any time and are stored in your own personal textbook library. For me personally, I have had to only purchase three books because the rest of my courses were constellation courses. I found this to be very convenient because I did not have to purchase expensive books or worry about shipping for book rentals.
My Final Thought
I have only three classes left before I earn my degree and am pleased with the decision I made to not only go back to school, but to attend Ashford University Online. I also wanted to add that if you are looking to earn your Business degree, Ashford University has partnered with the Forbes School of Business, so now you have even more accreditation! I do not want anyone to think that this is an easy ride to a degree (an should not be). You still must work hard as you would at a traditional college and the instructors expect only your best work. If you work hard, you will be greatly rewarded. I hate to do it, but I do have one discrepancy with Ashford University. Financial aid has made it possible for me to earn my degree through student loans and the pell grant. I really did not intend on having to take out so many student loans. I just wish that Ashford awarded more grants to outstanding students. I say this because over the past two years, I have worked hard to maintain a 3.9 GPA and have been on the Dean’s List since day one. I would just greatly appreciate some sort of recognition that could help me lower the amount that I owe on my student loans. Other than that, I have no complaints with Ashford University and the Forbes School of Business. I highly recommend Ashford University to anyone who is seriously looking to go back to school and need to do it online.