Finding an Affordable Solution to Completing Prerequisites for a Teaching Degree

Beth Dumbauld

Sarah_Hoxie_SuccessStorySarah Hoxie wants a career in which she can make a real difference -- and a living. Even though she already has a college degree, she’s made the big decision to go back to school in order to become an elementary teacher.

“These past five years I have had a number of people comment on how they think I would make a good teacher, and I’m excited to finally be pursuing a degree in elementary education,” Sarah says of her experience. “There’s something special about working with little kids. They keep me firmly focused on living in the moment and I forget about any worries or distractions I may have.”

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Determination to Complete a Bachelor’s Degree

Like many students, Sarah’s original path to a degree took a variety of turns, stops, and starts. Out of high school, she started college intending on becoming a veterinarian; she then switched to pre-med, and eventually dropped out after a couple of years to pursue a religious vocation. But that wasn’t the end of her college adventure.

Sarah later determined to earn her degree, and ultimately went back to school and completed her bachelor’s. “At that point I still was pursuing a religious vocation, and no career was really jumping out at me, but I decided to major in philosophy, which allowed me to experience the college life,” Sarah says.

Returning to College to Earn a Master’s in Teaching

As time went on, Sarah started thinking more and more about how she could best serve through a career, and realized that being a teacher would be a great fit. Yet Sarah was initially hesitant about making the return back to school. Getting her teaching credentials was going to be a big commitment in terms of both time and money.

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Making the Decision to Earn a Degree Online

When Sarah started to research online teaching degree options, she quickly found out about the great reputation of StraighterLine partner college, Western Governors University. “WGU seemed the most practical.” She really liked the idea of a competency based education – and that you can “pass quickly through material you already know,” and that she would be able to “keep working at my current job.”

Sarah continues, “Also, at WGU, there are so many resources available, and the advisors are really there for you.” However, as she got more serious about enrolling in WGU, she ran into a major speed bump that nearly derailed her degree plans. “Before I could enroll in their teaching degree program, WGU required that I complete eight prerequisites,” Sarah remembers. “I was really concerned about the cost of getting these courses done at our local college, that’s when my WGU advisor told me about StraighterLine.”

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Completing Six Prerequisite Courses at StraighterLine

When Sarah checked out the low-cost options at StraighterLine, she was relieved to find out that she could flexibly and affordably complete six of the courses required to satisfy her degree program admission requirements at WGU.

“The first college course I took at StraighterLine was US History I,” says Sarah. “It was mostly a refresher course for me. Taking a refresher course first helped me get the feel for taking online classes.” Sarah then enrolled, and completed, five more classes at StraighterLine including American Government, Intro to Nutrition (her favorite course), Intro to Communication, Statistics, and English Composition II.

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The Confidence to Succeed in an Online Degree Program

By successfully completing college courses through StraighterLine, Sarah now knows that she has what it takes to “stick with an online course all the way through, even while working.” She adds, “I really know what to expect in my online degree program.”

She also feels more comfortable with the technology component of earning a degree online, including online test proctoring. “For me at first, the proctoring was awkward, and I had some tech issues because I was using an older computer. But I was able to work through it and was able to purchase a new computer for WGU, thanks to all the money I saved through StraighterLine.”

“Having already completed several online classes through StraighterLine, I won’t have to waste any time trying to figure what online education is all about - and what it takes to succeed!”

Advice for Other Adults Looking to Complete Their Degree Online

Her advice to other adults looking to successfully complete college classes online? “Overall, any of the [tech] difficulties in taking online classes are well worth it. You don’t have to waste your time listening to lectures and trying to figure out what are the most important parts to study. With online classes, the expectations are clear and the whole process is expedited.”

She also recommends “getting the physical book so you don’t have to be tied to your computer all the time. It was nice to step away from the computer and enjoy studying anywhere.”

For Sarah, having the physical book also helped her stay motivated and track the progress in her course. “It was really good motivation to see when I really was half way through a course!”

Enrolling at Western Governors University

“I will be starting my degree program at WGU in October,” Sarah tells us. “I’m really looking forward to it! And I feel really confident in my ability to do well there thanks to successfully completing several StraighterLine courses first.”

Sarah will start her Master’s of Teaching in Elementary Education from Western Governors University this October. Thanks to StraighterLine, she has completed the necessary prerequisite courses and is excited to move forward with her goal of becoming teacher. Congratulations Sarah!

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