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Sure, distance learning is flexible and convenient, but most online students don't expect to receive the same level of personal attention or support they'd receive at a traditional brick-and-mortar university. However, according to Brenda Robinette, a health and ELL teacher, a personal online experience is what she enjoyed every day as a student at WGU. In fact, notes Robinette, she felt that personal connection even before she enrolled. It's why she chose WGU for her M.A. in English Language Learning. The affordable tuition was a plus too.
"I was seriously considering WGU, the University of Phoenix, and another university," she explained. "I chose WGU because of the people. The enrollment counselors that I spoke with were so friendly and positive. I felt like they really wanted to help me make the right decision for me—not just sell me on a degree program. Plus, WGU was a lot less expensive than the others, and the quality of education seemed better."
After teaching ELL for nine years, Robinette said she expected to sail through the program with little difficulty or effort. She was mistaken. The curriculum was rigorous, and she found it impossible to pass the assessments without studying.
"I was pleasantly surprised that the program was so challenging. It assured me that my degree would have value for me and my students. I knew that I wasn't simply paying for my degree. I was earning it with lots of dedication and hard work."
It wasn't all work though. Robinette is quick to point out that she was able to still live her life and spend time with her family—thanks to the "unbelievable flexibility" the university offered her.
"I didn't want to go to school at night and leave my son. I wanted a program that was completely online," she said. "Most online universities require you to attend at least some classes on-campus or log on at fixed times. WGU offered me unbelievable flexibility. The only schedule that I had to adhere to was my own—it was incredible!"
Equally incredible, said Robinette, was the amount of attention and support she received from her WGU mentor.
"My mentor was the best part about my WGU experience. I could share my thoughts, concerns, and questions with her at anytime—without feeling threatened or embarrassed," said Robinette. "She gave me that extra push that I needed to keep going when things got tough. And she was so good about having phone calls on my schedule."
WGU was a great fit for Robinette because she could earn her degree when it was convenient for her. "Pursuing a master's degree was only possible for me online," she said. "I needed lots of flexibility and that's what I found at WGU."
Robinette was able to earn her M.A. in English Language Learning degree while teaching full-time and taking care of her young son. She finished the program in one year and is very proud of this accomplishment.
Was WGU what she expected? "The coursework was much harder than I had anticipated," said Robinette. "However, the personal support and resources that I needed were there for me from day one. I loved my WGU experience, and use what I learned every day in my classroom."
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