How I Earned My Degree Online with University of Phoenix – #LetsGetToWork

Is online college the right path for you?… Let me tell you a little about my experience getting my degree online, why online college is a perfect fit for busy moms, and how to figure it all out: What to study, how to pay for it, and what to do with that online degree once you get it. Keep reading to learn what it’s all about…

How to earn a degree online

See that? That’s one of my biggest accomplishments – My college degree! I was an honors student all through high school, taking advanced placement courses, and scoring in the 99th percentile in the state on my ACT tests. But my family didn’t have a lot of money, and my parents divorced right after graduation – meaning that mom and I had to move, and life was pretty chaotic. I’d already been working since I was 15, so I continued on that path, thinking that eventually I’d find a way to pay for college.

Fast forward 10 years, to my high school reunion.

As I mingled with all of my former classmates, it really sunk in how long it had been since graduation, and I was embarrassed that I still hadn’t gotten even a basic degree. I enjoyed working in visual merchandising and retail management – but knew I wanted to do more. But again … I procrastinated. “When things slow down. When I have more time. When I save up more money.” But if you put off a goal until the “perfect time” – it’ll NEVER get done!

Why online degrees are a great option for busy moms

Then, my youngest brother enrolled in online IT courses at University of Phoenix. After the first few months and the completion of his first set of courses, he was raving about how much he loved it and how excited he was to be able to learn that much from online college courses. I decided it was time. I called an enrollment agent that very day, and she walked me through the process of getting started. She was amazingly helpful, never pushy, and helped me to discover all of the cool online tools that they had to help me get set on my educational path.

And guess what? Those tools have gotten even BETTER.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a live webinar with some of the amazing people from University of Phoenix, to see all of the awesome new tools and resources that they’ve added to their site. They made it easy to get started back when I enrolled a few years ago – but it’s even more helpful now! Here are a few of the ways that they make everything simple for you:

  • Career Interest Profiler: First, you can take this assessment to help determine what you’re truly interested in. There’s no point going into a program or career that you won’t enjoy, right?
  • Job Market Research Tool: Once you have some ideas of what you’re interested in studying, you can use this tool to research the labor market for your area. Labor market information helps students make informed choices about their career path by learning about the current local hiring demand, typical salary ranges and in-demand employers.
  • My Career Plan: This personalized roadmap includes a student’s educational path with the University – it’s designed to help you understand how your coursework is preparing you for your career, and give you a heads up on what skills employers in your field will be looking for so that you can develop those skills where there may be gaps.
  • Career Preparation Tools: Here, you can get help creating a resume and cover letters, interview preparation services developed by professionals in your field, and access to tons of helpful content and videos to help you prepare for your first job or a career change.
  • Career Opportunities and Events: This is so cool – you get access to this resource where students AND alumni like me can access potential career opportunities available with great companies all over the U.S. You can also join PhoenixConnect®, and network and build connections with some amazing people. There are also local events throughout the year to help connect students with employers and potential career opportunities.

Amazing, right? The tools make sure that you choose a field that you love, and that you have clear goals in mind for what you’ll be using your degree for once you graduate. Everything you do is focused on helping you find the perfect career for YOU. Because, while I loved my experience at University of Phoenix, I’m not going to lie – going back to school is a lot of work. I got pregnant partway through, and remember taking Advanced Algebra exams while bouncing a fussy baby on one knee. But, when you know WHY you’re going to school, and are excited about what you’ll be doing afterwards, it’s much easier to keep that momentum and motivation, knowing it will all be worth it!

How will I pay for online college?

University of Phoenix has some amazing tools to help you with this too. The University’s Financial Plan is a new service designed to help potential students estimate tuition and fees for their entire degree program and build a personal plan for how they will pay for it. The Financial Plan displays the estimated monthly payment for any loans built into the plan, so that you fully understand what you’ll be borrowing before enrolling. It helps you figure out what grants you qualify for {“free” money that you don’t have to repay}, how much student aid you’ll be able to receive, and how to get loans for any additional costs. This ensures that you’re making an informed decision about the financial responsibilities of your education.

Don’t believe me? Hear it from an employment expert.

Abby Kohut, a human resources executive, recruiter and author of Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets, has built her career around helping people get hired and succeed in their jobs. According to Abby, “There are jobs available in just about every industry and market across the U.S., but not everyone is on the same playing field when it comes to being qualified to fill those positions; that is where education comes into play. University of Phoenix is leading the way in preparing its students for today’s competitive job market by providing educational programs and career resources to its students every step of the way.”

Was it worth it?

YES! My brother and I both graduated in the past year. It was such a proud moment for me to get that diploma. I went to school to get a marketing degree, with a focus on the Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality industry. I live in Central Washington, in the new Wine Country. (We’re now second in the country, right behind California for making wine!) My goal was to work in PR or marketing with one of the amazing new wineries being developed here.

But while I set out to work in that field, due to life’s unexpected bumps – being laid off during maternity leave with a two-month-old daughter and a full time schedule of online classes – I jumped into the online world. I started this site, found additional freelance work, and hoped it would be enough to get by until I graduated. I quickly found success online, and fell in love with what I was doing. But – it’s my background in business and marketing from University of Phoenix that really helped me be successful – the skills that I learned, the writing experience, the whole process of having to motivate MYSELF every day to keep working hard and stay on track, and the mentoring I received – those things are absolutely invaluable to me. Going to school online was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.

To learn more about University of Phoenix’s efforts to help close the skills gap in the American workforce as well as Phoenix Career Services, visit www.phoenix.edu/career-services. And if you have any questions, please feel free to email me, or leave a comment here!

{Disclosure: This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and University of Phoenix blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.}

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Comments

  1. As a faculty member for U of P, this is so exciting to read! Way to go on getting your degree. The program is very flexible, but as you well know, still very challenging! What an accomplishment!

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