Ashford Alumni Offer Advice for Achieving Success

ashford university students at graduation

Although Ashford University students don’t all study the same subject, the online learning experience is something they all share in common. 

Incoming students often rely on the advice of seasoned classmates when adjusting to Ashford’s classroom and suite of online tools. At the same time, students close to graduation are eager to lean on the advice of alumni when it comes to their next steps after earning a degree. 

One of the greatest benefits of learning alongside a global community is the varied perspective available to those who seek the advice of Ashford graduates. These are men and women from all walks of life, who have overcome a multitude of challenges – great and small – and can provide a unique take on non-traditional learning. 

If you’re an online student or thinking about enrolling at an online university, you’ll want to read these six tips for getting the most out of Ashford University. 

1. Make discipline your No. 1 priority.

“You must be disciplined,” says Ashford graduate Tanisha Neal. “You have to log into your class and submit your assignments on time. If you need help, utilize the numerous resources that are available.”

Tanisha’s advice is worth taking no matter how far along you are in your degree program, but it’s especially valuable to first-year students. Successful students excel at time management and create systems for meeting their weekly deadlines. 

Unlike traditional schools, Ashford University online classes begin on Tuesdays, so you’ll need to create a schedule that works for you. 

2. “You are responsible for your own success or failure.”

This advice from Ashford alum and commencement speaker Matthew Bambrick serves as a reminder that you get as much from your degree program as you’re willing to put into it. 

On one hand, someone putting forth the minimal effort could have a “barely there” presence in discussion forums and hope to slide by, but that person would only be losing out on the opportunity to engage with fellow students and learn as much as possible about the career they’re pursuing or the subject they’re studying.  

3. Think about how you’ll apply what you’ve learned to your future.

The college experience is meant to prepare you for the next phase of your life, whether that’s a new career or a higher degree. While you’re in school, it’s imperative that you focus on how to make what you’re learning relevant to your next goal, such as using specific examples of a company that you want to work for in your research papers.

Organizational Management graduate and Navy SEAL Ty Smith’s first career was in the military, but his Ashford experience prepared him to think outside of the structures that he was used to, and he put those teachings to use in graduate school and later at his own business.

“Before I went to Ashford, I knew the structure of a military organization, especially the minutia of special operations organizations,” Smith says. “But as far as a corporate entity, I had no idea. Every day I find myself using lessons I learned at Ashford.”

4. You need a support system.

Ashford University is structured in a way to make learning accessible for students who have to juggle other priorities, such as kids or a full-time job. Yet students still need a support system in order to perform at their highest levels. 

Whether it’s a spouse rooting for your success or a friend who can step in for last-minute babysitting when you need to get your paper submitted, knowing that someone else has your back gives you extra incentive to try your best. 

“There were, at points throughout this nearly two-year journey, that I wanted to stop and call it quits. I felt I was wasting energy and time on a dream that I felt was out of reach,” writes Ashford graduate Joe. “I gained a couple extra gray hairs and wrinkles during this time, but my wife kept pushing, kept reminding me about the end results of this achievement in my life if I kept with it.”

5. Remember to ask if your employer will chip in.

More and more companies continue to partner with Ashford University in order to fully fund their employees’ education through the Ashford Full Tuition Grant. For a student, knowing that your organization is willing to invest in your future can form a life-changing bond between employee and employer.

“My career at Autotrader afforded me the opportunity to manage and oversee projects, which stirred up a passion that I did not know existed,” explains Ashford graduate Tiffany Barthelmy. “Getting a degree in Organizational Management with a specialization in Project Management seemed most appropriate. I was able to address both the soft and hard skills associated with the discipline.”

A student considering an online school is encouraged to do their research ahead of time, so they know if their company partners with Ashford. 

6. Get involved!

Ashford is home to a number of student organizations and honor societies, but it can expand your horizons even further through any number of networking events, webinars, and other ways to connect through your Student Portal.

“Visit the Ashford Café,” suggests Tanisha. “Use the platform to make friends and begin networking.”

Ashford also boasts the popular CHAMPS Peer Mentoring program, which pairs high-achieving students with new learners, creating mentor-mentee relationships that can last beyond your Ashford years. 
Although they come from different backgrounds, Ashford students share a lot in common, and those connections will deepen as the global community continues to grow. 



Written by Ashford University staff.

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