How a Student Worked Full-Time and Earned His IT Degree Using Online Courses. A StraighterLine Success Story.

Beth Dumbauld

success_story_ChrisArora_imageChris Arora, a full-time employee at PepsiCo, was motivated to move up in his career and at his company – but there was a problem, he didn’t have a college degree. He realized that the promotion he wanted would only be possible by earning the proper credentials, so Chris determined that it was time to go back to school and get his diploma.

Choosing to Earn a Degree Online

After evaluating his college options, Chris decided that an online degree program would work best with his full-time work schedule – so he chose to pursue a Bachelor’s in Information Technology, specializing in Health Informatics at StraighterLine partner, Capella University.

Knowing that he wanted to move through the general education courses as quickly and affordably as possible, his academic counselor at Capella recommended that Chris give StraighterLine online courses a try.

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A Cheaper Way to Earner College Credits

He checked out the course offerings available through StraighterLine and determined that StraighterLine offered a much cheaper way to complete the general education courses required for his degree. Plus, he saw that he would be able to take his StraighterLine courses at anytime, even during breaks while enrolled at Capella.

"My goal was to finish my degree in 4 years. Without StraighterLine, I would not have been able to."

First StraighterLine Course Leads to 12 StraighterLine Courses

The first course Chris enrolled in at StraighterLine was English Composition II. “[The StraighterLine course] was easy to understand, plus it was easy to access on the computer.”

Chris then completed an additional 11 courses through StraighterLine. He chose each course based on a degree plan provided to him by StraighterLine. The degree plan mapped out each StraighterLine course that would be guaranteed to transfer into his degree program at Capella, thanks to a course-to-course articulation agreement between the two schools. In total, Chris was able to successfully transfer 12 StraighterLine courses into his degree program at Capella.

"With StraighterLine, I have saved about $15k – at least – on my degree."

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Advice to Other Online Students Working Full Time

Chris has some words of wisdom for other online students:  “When you work and go to school, you need to focus on time management.” 

He also advises that working adults should use semester breaks wisely. “I started taking StraighterLine courses while enrolled at Capella. Between breaks [in my degree program], I’d complete StraighterLine courses.”

He also added that it is important to take your general education courses first to get them out of the way. According to Chris, “I’ve found it best to take my general education courses first, in order to graduate in my time frame.” 

Finding a College Support Team

For guidance, Chris has relied on his academic counselor at Capella and student support from StraighterLine. He has also receives a tremendous amount of support from his wife who he says has been the one to “really help and push me.”

“There are times you want to give up,” admits Chris, “But, once I got the time management part figured out, I was able to complete my gen ed courses at StraighterLine and easily transfer them into my degree program at Capella.”

Dramatically Reducing the Time and Cost of a College Degree

Thanks to StraighterLine, Chris finds himself on track to earn his undergraduate degree on time. “My goal was to finish my degree in 4 years. Without StraighterLine, I would not have been able to.” In fact, without StraighterLine, Chris believes he “would probably be over a year behind.”

With StraighterLine, Chris estimates that he has “saved about $15k – at least” on his college degree. With only two more courses left to complete, Chris is very excited to be graduating soon with his Bachelor’s in Information Technology from Capella University. Congratulations Chris!

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