I am surprised that it flew by as fast as it did!
Keri Elmstedt of Murrieta, GA graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Social Science from Ashford University in April 2011. Keri chose Ashford because of the affordability and flexibility of online courses, though she admits that she was a bit skeptical of the online environment at first. “The biggest challenge I faced going to Ashford was not being able to see the instructor face-to-face. So much of what I learn about others is observed, and this is not possible in an online class.” However, as she progressed through her courses, Keri found online interaction to be much less troubling than she feared. “I have never had any problems due to this issue.” Another surprise was how quickly the time passed. “At first, three years seemed like an eternity to me, but one class at a time I made it through. Looking back now, it seems like just yesterday that I began my classes. I am surprised that it flew by as fast as it did!”
Before she knew it, Keri found herself standing on the athletic field in Clinton, IA, waiting to cross the stage and receive her diploma. She was able to make the journey from California to Iowa because she received one of Ashford’s Commencement Scholarships. “Every person involved in the graduation - from the registration process to the campus tours - did an excellent job! I had a wonderful time meeting my classmates and professors, and am grateful that I was able to attend; it was only possible because of the scholarship. That special weekend will never be forgotten!”
The scholarships, which were awarded based on video applications, covered all travel and accommodation costs for the recipients. Keri explains that when she submitted her application, she never fully expected to be selected. “I thought it was a long shot, to say the least, but I couldn’t afford to attend otherwise. I was taking a three-mile walk when I got the call. It was such a blessing! I had never won anything of this magnitude before!”
Now that she’s graduated, Keri is looking to continue with her education as she shifts her career path. Originally, she planned to teach (she had previously been working with children in an autism program). However, as time went by and the economy changed, Keri decided to branch into a different field that would allow her to remain true to her passion for helping others. “I’m looking to add to my Bachelor of Arts in Social Science and pursue my Master of Arts in Organizational Management so that I can obtain a position in either health care administration or human resources.” Keri also hopes that her example will inspire her sons to continue with their educations, because beyond the academic and professional opportunities that a degree fosters, there’s also incredible personal growth. “When you achieve in one area,” Keri explains, “success is right around the corner in another.”