What was once an area of apprehension and uncertainty, higher education is now an area of confidence and achievement.
When Mike Cozzie graduated from high school, he attended a local community college for a year, but soon left academia because his ambitions simply did not require a college degree. "My ultimate dream was to be a professional musician. While working on that, I held a variety of jobs and I excelled into positions of management. Having a college degree did not seem a priority or a necessity."
However, as the years passed and the world changed, Mike suddenly found himself at a disadvantage because he did not have a degree. "My 'rock star' dream wasn't quite panning out, so I was on to 'Life Plan B.' My company went through a major corporate restructure, and that put my job in jeopardy. I spent several months navigating the employment scene only to find that the job market had completely changed. Most mid- to upper-level positions now required a college degree."
Fortunately, Mike's position at his company was safe, but he knew he was going to need a degree to ensure future security. He did some research and learned about his company's tuition reimbursement program; soon, he was enrolled at Ashford University earning a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management.
Mike chose Ashford for two main reasons: the accelerated format and the fact that the school was local (Mike and his family live in Morrison, Illinois, which is only 13 miles from Clinton). Now an Ashford alumnus, we spoke to Mike when he was still enrolled. "My original intent was to enroll in the online program, but my Admissions Counselor suggested I take the first course on campus to get a feel for how the program worked.” When the program offering night classes for working adults ended, Mike transitioned to online courses, and graduated in August 2012 at the age of 41. He also was a member of Golden Key National Honour Society and Alpha Sigma Lambda.
In addition to appreciating the quality of instruction and curriculum, Mike found the administrative processes refreshingly straightforward. "Selecting the correct books, ordering them, and receiving them on time has never once been an issue, paying tuition online has been a breeze, and keeping track of grades and degree progress is simple."
Of course, all of the streamlined processes in the world do not make going to school, managing a career, and raising a family easy. "Earning a degree is absolutely something that should have been done prior to taking on all these other life commitments, but there is no excuse for not earning a degree no matter what phase of life. One thing Ashford has been great at is being flexible in scheduling and providing resources to aid the process."
Mike said his experiences at Ashford benefited all areas of his life. "The specific course content has been invaluable as it applies to my professional and personal situations. What was once an area of apprehension and uncertainty, higher education is now an area of confidence and achievement." And that achievement is already creating tangible results in his career - he'd positioned himself for advancement at his current company, and a college degree was one of the few remaining qualifications.