3 stories of successful online students
Unless you personally know someone who has graduated from an online degree program, it can be difﬁcult to know what to expect. A student might choose to study online for a number of reasons, and each may have a different experience. They may enroll in an open university immediately after completing secondary school. Or they may return to the classroom to gain additional training for their current job.
Here are three stories of students who used programs in India and the United States to gain the education they needed to help secure a successful career.
1. From farmer to an advanced degree
Born into a farming family in the Warangel District, A.P. India, Mr. Sudhakar and his family lived below the poverty level. However, as described in a case study published by Kakatiya University, Sudhakar used distance education to earn an advanced degree and become a well respected journalist.
An intermediate drop-out, Sudhakar was admitted to the School of Distance Learning and Continuing Education (SDLCE) at Kakatiya University in 1991. He completed his undergraduate program in 1995 and became a reporter with the Eenaadu daily newspaper.
After being promoted to State Chief Reporter for the newspaper, he returned to the SDLCE to earn his Bachelor of Communication and Journalism qualiﬁcation through the distance learning program. That education enabled him to move on to electronic media, and Sudhakar worked for ETV2 for several years.
Sudhakar eventually moved back to the print media and helped the Andhra Jyothi publication move into top circulation. He also continued his education further and now holds a master’s degree in sociology as well. In Sudhakar’s own words, he would still be only an agricultural labourer if not for the opportunities afforded to him by the SDLCE at Kakatiya University.
2. Online education helps mother balance family with school
Prior to online education, a degree would have likely been out of reach for Rose Youngmark of Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States. At 28, she was the mother of six young children and had precious little time to pursue her education. Although she had taken a few courses on a local campus, she quickly realised regular attendance would be nearly impossible.
Instead of pursuing her degree through a traditional program, Youngmark turned to online learning, which offered her the ﬂexibility to study at her child’s baseball game or work late at night once her children were in bed.
Youngmark was proﬁled in a Minnesota newspaper, not just because she was close to earning her associate of arts degree, but also because she was the 100,000th student to enroll in a class in 2011 through the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. To earn her degree, Youngmark took classes through Metropolitan State University and North Hennepin Community College. With an associate degree under her belt, Youngmark hopes to continue her education and earn a bachelor’s degree that will eventually allow her to become a Spanish teacher.
3. Using an online program to advance a successful career
By all accounts, Dianna Searles had a successful career in the ﬁnance industry. Living in Kalamazoo, Michigan in the United States, Searles worked at PNC bank as a senior loan support specialist. With 17 years on the job, her employment was secure. However, Searles knew her advancement opportunities were limited without a bachelor’s degree.
Her associate degree had taken seven years to complete at a traditional college, and Searles was hoping to ﬁnish her bachelor’s degree in less time. Since she didn’t want to quit her job, she turned to an online program through the University of Phoenix, the United State’s largest online university.
There, she studied human services management at her own pace and on her own schedule. Searles says that her coursework involved a great deal of writing and selfdiscipline. While not easier in terms of coursework than a traditional degree, Searles does say she appreciated being able to schedule study times around her work shifts. Searles has completed her bachelor’s degree in human services management and is conﬁdent it will help her take her established ﬁnance career to the next level of success.
More education, more salary
Mr. Sudhakar, Mrs. Youngmark and Mrs. Searles all used online education to improve their careers and increase their chances of earning higher wages. Although a college degree cannot guarantee a boost in salary, many employers see higher education as a sign of broader and deeper knowledge and skills.