"I feel that I have accomplished one of the big milestones of my life."
Adele Williams of Chula Vista, California, graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Ashford University on April 30, 2011 at age 48. In addition to graduating summa cum laude, Adele was inducted into both the Golden Key International Honour Society and the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society.
The path to Adele’s academic success began when she earned her Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education in 1984, but then she took a twenty-five-year break. “I was divorced, and I had to support my two daughters. I found work as an administrative assistant and then a document controller for a Department of Defense contractor, collaborating with engineers and managers to write and edit documents that were submitted to the government.” During this time, Adele also remarried, gained a son, and earned her paralegal certification, with honors, from the University of San Diego (2003).
Eventually, Adele landed her current position as technical writer/publications coordinator, but was unable to go further without a Bachelor’s degree. “Managers want to see degrees. They can also hire someone with a degree, though with less experience, for less money.” Adele knew it was time to return to school.
She chose Ashford University mainly because she was able to transfer so many previously earned credits. “Transferring credits from my Associate’s degree and my paralegal studies cut a lot of time off my Bachelor’s.”
Once enrolled, Adele quickly fell in love with the online environment. “I met some really cool classmates and was surprised to have some of the same classmates in many of my classes! I learned so much about them through the discussions and assignments, and I actually met one at graduation.”
Adele was also impressed with the flexibility of online courses, something she desperately needed in order to pursue her education and maintain her lifestyle. In addition to her full-time job, she works as a hair stylist, directs two choirs at her church, and serves on two committees in her community. “With all of this activity, people are surprised that I had time to complete my degree. But with Ashford’s online courses, you have until midnight to submit assignments. If that meant I had to stay up late to get it turned in, that’s what I did. You can also take a break between classes - I didn’t do it, but the option was there if I needed it.
“So much has changed now that I have my degree - it substantiates my position at work and will be a determining factor in my salary increase on my annual review. I feel that I have accomplished one of the big milestones of my life.”