Wednesday, July 10, 2013

School's NOT out for Summer!

Most people get excited for Summer because it means school is out and they can enjoy the sun and the fun without worrying about homework. For me, I still get to enjoy the sun and the fun, but I've got homework daily!

I started my second term at WGU on June 1st, and since then I've finished 5 papers to pass my Quantitative Analysis class, completed 2 of 4 Econ papers, and have 1 Business Research and Writing paper to finish. I'm on an accelerated plan to finish my degree before the end of the year and I am DETERMINED to meet that goal.

Last year, I spent a number of months researching different school and degree programs. I knew I wanted to finish up my Bachelor's degree, but did I want to finish it for Teaching? For Business? For something else completley? And once I picked a degree path, which school would I go to? I wanted to find a program that would allow me to complete it mostly online, if possible. With my work schedule, finding classes I could take at a standard school was going to be difficult, and the price was not ideal.

Then I heard about Western Governor's University, WGU. I had 2 friends that were already going to school there and another one who had just enrolled. I was skeptical at first. Most all-online schools are not very reputable and wont' get you very far. But the more I dug and the more I research, the more I realized how credible the school was. Unlike other online colleges, WGU is a non-profit school that offers incredibly low cost Bachelors and Masters programs. It was founded by 19 western state governors who wanted to provide affordable, accredited education to people. What I enjoyed the most about it, was the support provided to the school by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since I am a consultant for the Gates Foundation, I hear a lot about the work they do in the education sector and the steps they are taking to help ensure everyone has the opportunity to attend school and gain a quality education for a low cost. The icing on the cake was when I researched their accreditation and learned that WGU is the only all-online school accredited by the National and Regional school boards for obtaining your teaching certification! I know how strict teaching degrees can be in obtaining, and the fact that this school allowed it to be done online and then partnered with you to obtain student teaching was a great selling point.

Here's where their education gets really awesome. WGU is a competency based education. so instead of drowning you in material that leads you nowhere and dozens of books to read that only have a fraction to do with the course you are in, WGU structures their courses so that you are learning the key points to every subject. They provide you with all the resources online to study and pass their courses. Some courses require an exam to determine your competency, while others require you to complete tasks, or papers, to explain through different concepts and show your competency. And when you get done with one class, you move right on to the next class without delay! Each term is 6 months and in that time you have to complete a minimum of 12 credits. But if you are a quick learner and finish those 12 credits sooner, you can add additional classes to your term without any additional cost!

I decided against my teaching degree, as I can do alternative methods to obtain that in 10 years, but I did decide to further my business career and chose their Business Management degree! After submitting transcripts and taking a look at the courses left to finish, I had 18 classes to finish my Bachelor's degree. After a rocky start (personal issues), my first term was 3 courses for 12 credits. I finished them in 3 months time and was able to add an additional 3 classes to finish the term with 6 classes completed, a total of 23 credits. And it still only cost me the initial term fee! I didn't have to pay any extra to add those three classes into my term! I now am in my second term, which ends at the end of November, and I'm on track to complete each course in 3 weeks. That includes studying, paper writing, submittal, grading, and passing!

I'm really excited to be able to finish my Bachelor's degree this year. The price savings is phenomenal, the education is extensive, and the rewards are priceless! I've learned so much from the course I've already completed and am applying what I've learned directly to my daily work activities! My employer is very supportive of my decision as well and some of my co-workers are even thinking about taking the plunge to further their education with a degree from WGU.

If you are looking for something low cost, accredited, allows you to work at your own pace, and provides a great education, I recommend WGU:

Well, time to get back to studying! Maybe next week I'll dive into how I work through my courses!

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