Online University
10 Students 10 Questions 10 Answers

Susan Griffin

Susan Griffin
The main pro to going to school online is the fact that I am able stay at home with my children while I study. Because of the flexible schedule, I don’t have to sacrifice my first priority, which is to be a mother, in order to get my education. It is very convenient for me.
Concentration
Bachelor of Science in Health Administration with a concentration in Health Management
Total Time Enrolled
3 years
Age
28
  1. Are online schools just in it for the money?

    Based on my experience at the University of Phoenix, I would have to say that online schools are not just in it for the money. But some schools are definitely better than others. A good way to tell if the school you are considering is legitimate is to assess the kinds of resources it has for students. For example, the University of Phoenix has online tutoring centers and writing centers that offer individual instruction.

    I also had both an admissions advisor and a financial aid advisor to help me navigate the enrollment process. I can reach them through e-mail or leave a message on the phone, and they always get back to me within 24 hours. The University of Phoenix also has a work enrichment center that helps students get leads on jobs after we graduate. This school offers me resources at every stage of the program, from the application to the diploma. Knowing that those resources are in place helps me feel secure. I don’t think the University of Phoenix would put this much effort into helping students get through school if they were just trying to earn a quick buck.

  2. What are the pros and cons of studying online?

    The main pro to going to school online is the fact that I am able stay at home with my children while I study. Because of the flexible schedule, I don’t have to sacrifice my first priority, which is to be a mother, in order to get my education. It is very convenient for me.

    Some drawbacks to online schooling are the technical requirements and the potential for miscommunication. For instance, you always have to have a working computer. That became a problem for me when my computer broke last June and I had to withdraw from school until I could afford to buy a replacement. Another problem is that communication can break down due to distance and the lack of face-to-face interaction. We work in learning teams for many of my classes, and the teams are made up of students in many different time zones. It can be difficult to get the team organized when we can’t just sit down together.

  3. Can you actually learn anything while studying online?

    For the most part, I do feel like I am learning what I need to know in my classes at the University of Phoenix. I find my curriculum to be challenging, especially since I have little practical background in my area of health administration and management. I do many research projects that require a lot of time and I often have to do additional reading independently to clarify certain aspects of the project.

    Another difficult part of my curriculum is the fact that I work with a learning team in each class, which means that I participate in a lot of group work. That can be frustrating because somebody has to step up to lead the team and make sure everyone else is getting their work done. When we do have conflicts, we have to figure it out together. Luckily, I haven’t experienced much conflict in my degree program.

  4. How difficult is it to get a job with an online degree?

    I had a difficult time getting a job with just my associates degree, which I also earned online through the University of Phoenix. I think that was because it is not a high-level degree and I didn’t have any real life work experience. That is why I decided to continue my education and get my bachelors degree. Still, my 4-year health administration and management program doesn’t actually provide any hands-on experience. That means that even when I do get hired, I will probably have to do some on-the-job training to get up to speed.

    The good news is that the University of Phoenix has a work enrichment center that you can either call up or visit online. The advisors and counselors there ask questions about your degree program and what kind of job you want to obtain. They don’t do direct job placement, but they offer referrals. They also offer tips for writing an attractive resume, which is very helpful for first-time job seekers.

  5. Is online faculty any good?

    I think the online faculty at the University of Phoenix is exceptional because they have demonstrated that they are very understanding. When I have encountered problems, they have been willing to talk them over with me and make useful suggestions.

    I also appreciate how well my professors communicate with me. Not only do I have their e-mail addresses, I also have their phone numbers in case of an emergency. I haven’t had to call them yet, but I appreciate having the option in case I get into a bind.

  6. Are online degrees actually cheaper?

    I don’t believe the tuition for an online degree program is cheaper, although I didn’t compare the University of Phoenix’s price per credit to any offline schools. I pay a few thousand dollars for each of my 5-week classes. That seems like a lot, but going to school online allows me to save in other areas. Specifically, the biggest area of savings is childcare. If I went to a traditional school, I would have to get a baby sitter every day, and that could get expensive very quickly.

  7. Doesn’t the lack of live student-faculty interaction during class detract from the overall learning experience?

    I can see where prospective online students might be concerned about the lack of student-faculty interaction in an online classroom, especially if they come from a traditional brick-and mortar-educational background. But because I did my associates degree online as well, I don’t think there are any drawbacks to the lack of interaction with teachers. I have only had positive experiences with online schooling. I believe the key to succeeding in the online environment is to maintain constant and clear communication with your professors through e-mail so that if problems do arise, they can be resolved quickly.

  8. How do online classrooms work?

    In my health management program, all the material is presented online. Instead of textbooks, we use e-books. I appreciate e-books because I can simply download them, as opposed to buying physical books.

    Each class is a 5-week session, so I only take a single class at a time. We work in learning teams, which reduces each individual’s work load. But it also means that there is a lot of pressure to come through with your work so that the rest of the team doesn’t fail or suffer because of you. And because the structure of my classes is based on learning teams, a lot of my homework is in the form of group projects like presentations. That means we have to find ways to effectively coordinate several people in different time zones, which can be challenging.

    When we do have individual assignments, we are usually asked to read chapters from our e-books or to write papers. We are not given tests, so we have to work hard on all the assignments to keep our grades up.

  9. How computer savvy do you have to be to study online?

    You don’t have to be computer savvy, as long as you know the basics of software programs like Microsoft Word. You will definitely have to use Word and you might need to know how to use Excel and PowerPoint, depending on your program. You will also need to know how to download documents and how to submit assignments. But if you run into technical trouble, you can call the tech support department and they will walk you through the steps to find a solution.

  10. Can you make friends in an online school setting?

    Yes, you can make friends through online schooling. I have found that making friends at the University of Phoenix is fairly painless because I meet a lot of people through the team learning environment. After I get to know my team members a little bit, I connect with them on Facebook, which is the best way for us to communicate with each other.

Get to know Susan

Concentration
Bachelor of Science in Health Administration with a concentration in Health Management
Expected Graduation
-
Total Time Enrolled
3 years
Age
28

Biography

Susan Griffin is in her third year at the University of Phoenix. After she earned her online Associate of Arts with a concentration in Medical Records, she decided to transfer her credits into a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration with a concentration in Health Management.

Susan chose to get her degrees online because the web-based learning environment allows her to stay at home with her children while she finishes her education. She likes having the flexibility to do her schoolwork when she finds time in her busy schedule.