Finding a Biology Lab Online: A StraighterLine Success Story

Beth Dumbauld

Cynthia-MatthewsCynthia Matthews was sitting in her student advisor’s office at Grambling State University. With the help of her student advisor, she was going through a last-minute checklist to finalize the details of her upcoming graduation.

It was a proud moment for this mother of five. She had completed all of the requirements necessary to earn her bachelor’s degree. “After my last child finished high school, people would ask me what was I going to do with myself,” said Cynthia. “For me, it was never a question. I was going to go back to school and earn my college degree.”

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Education has always been extremely important to Cynthia. “I work at a high school as an administrative assistant,” says Cynthia, “and I talk to students all the time. I’m always encouraging them to earn their degree, preferably while they are young! Raising five kids, I had to put my own college education on hold. Once my last child was out of school, I knew I had to go back to school. I had to do it for myself.”

One Credit Short

Sitting in her advisor’s office, she was taking stock of all that she accomplished; all the courses she had completed; all the sacrifices she had made to go back to school while working full-time. The list was long. And then her advisor became quiet. While reviewing Cynthia’s completed courses against all of her degree requirements, she discovered that Cynthia might not be able to graduate on time after all. She told Cynthia she was one credit short for her degree in psychology  -- she was missing a required biology lab. “Not one course,” said Cynthia, “One credit. One lab! I told my advisor ‘you’ve got to be serious.’ I was in shock.”

She turned to her advisor and asked, “What can we do? What can I do?”

Determined to graduate as planned, and through the guidance of her advisor, Cynthia turned to StraighterLine.

Earning a Degree at Grambling State University

“I first went back to school in 2011,” says Cynthia, “to earn my associate degree, and got started on my degree path at a local community college.” After two years at the community college, and earning her associate degree, Cynthia transferred her credits to Grambling State, a StraighterLine partner college, to earn her bachelor’s. “I liked how flexible Grambling State is for adult learners. You can take classes online or on campus. Working full time, flexibility is extremely important to me.”

“That final meeting with my Grambling advisor was supposed to be short,” said Cynthia. “It was supposed to be about tying up loose ends and completing paperwork.”  It ended up being a  lot more than she bargained for. With one credit standing between her and her college degree--and only a month left to graduation--Cynthia was determined to find a way to complete the biology lab she needed to graduate on time. Her advisor recommended StraighterLine.

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Finding a Flexible Lab Course Online

Cynthia went to StraighterLine’s website and discovered StraighterLine’s Introduction to Biology Lab course, an online, self-paced, at-home lab option. It was exactly what she needed, and for an affordable price, so she enrolled immediately. “After enrolling, I called a StraighterLine enrollment counselor to make sure I had everything I needed for the course. A lab kit is sent to your home, and I wanted to make sure I ordered the right one.”

She said, “I appreciated that the course wasn’t expensive, that I could start right away and go as quickly as I wanted through the lab assignments. For me, StraighterLine was a blessing.”

Easy Credit Transfer

Cynthia successfully completed her Introduction to Biology Lab course in under 30 days, and it easily transferred to StraighterLine partner college, Grambling State University. “Credit transfer was easy. I completed the lab course in under 30 days and was able to move my final credit count at Grambling State University from 119 to the required 120 to complete my degree on time.”  She added, “If it wasn’t for StraighterLine, I would have had to wait (and pay) for another semester to finish.”

Advice to Other Students: Commit to Complete

According to Cynthia, “Take your time when you go back to school and follow your heart. But just do it, it’s worth it. I know how it is when you are working, but be sure to take advantage of online courses. Commit to complete. Do whatever it takes.”

Cynthia earned her degree from Grambling State University with her Bachelor’s in Psychology. Thanks to StraighterLine, Cynthia graduated on time. Congratulations Cynthia!

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