Earning a Degree in 3 Years as an Adult Learner: A StraighterLine Success Story

Beth Dumbauld

Linda Lenhoff hadn’t been planning on enrolling in college, at least not now. It had been 20 years since had last attended school, and she was focused on homeschooling her son. But her son was now a teenager and they had made the decision to enroll him in a cyberschool for his sophomore year, freeing up some time for Linda to invest in her higher education goals while her son focused on his high school online school work.

“After I made the decision to move forward with taking classes, I searched for free or low-cost online courses and found StraighterLine. I was curious and excited when I read about the course flexibility and its low-cost, but what really caught my eye, and encouraged me to enroll right away, was the partnership with Liberty University Online,” said Linda. “My husband was in grad school at Liberty, and I could see just how much cheaper StraighterLine courses were. I realized how I could affordably supplement my own degree path at the school by taking classes with StraighterLine.”

Getting a Jumpstart on a Bachelor’s Degree with Online Courses

Once Linda made the decision to go back to school and earn her bachelor’s degree at Liberty University, she was ready to get started immediately! “I made my decision to start school at an awkward time of the year,” said Linda. “It was already halfway through Liberty’s fall semester, but fortunately with StraighterLine I could get started right away earning college credits for my degree. Thanks to StraighterLine’s equivalency guide with Liberty, I knew exactly which courses would transfer.”

Linda’s first day at StraighterLine was also her son’s first day of school, and she started her college journey with StraighterLine’s Introduction to Psychology, a subject she was personally interested in and one that also counted as a prerequisite for her degree program at Liberty.

“Finding StraighterLine was really a pivotal moment for me,” said Linda. “I had been out of school for 20 years; I wasn’t really sure if I could do it, so there was something really comforting about being able to enroll in a class at StraighterLine first, to just get a taste of what it would be like, to see if I could handle college-level courses, and incur only a minimal expense in case it didn’t go as planned. Successfully completing my first StraighterLine class really helped boost my confidence. It encouraged me to keep going.”

Enrolling in 7 College Courses at StraighterLine

Linda liked her experience at StraighterLine and decided to enroll in more courses. Ultimately, she ended up enrolling in 7 courses at StraighterLine for her Liberty degree, including Psychology, Statistics, and Accounting, Organizational Behavior, and English Composition II. Some StraighterLine courses she completed before starting her degree program Liberty, some were finished during breaks between semesters, and a couple she pursued concurrently – and a couple are still in process.

“The best thing about StraighterLine was my ability to start a course when I wanted, to move at my own pace, and have the luxury to take one class at a time while not breaking the bank,” said Linda. “Knowing StraighterLine had partnered with the school I wanted to go to so I could earn my credit for my degree was wonderful.”

Linda also appreciated how the courses were set up. “I was glad I didn’t have to spend a lot of time in the class. I could go straight through the material, keep reading, doing assignments, and taking exams -- and go at my own pace.”

Advice to Adults Thinking About Going Back to School Online

“It’s important to have a plan and an end goal. If you are thinking about taking classes with StraighterLine, you have very little to lose. Pay for one month of a membership, enroll in a class, and try it out. It’s well worth the chance to see if you can handle an online course and if you like it,” says Linda. “I started about 15 months ago and now I’m about halfway through my degree program. If you are thinking about going back to school, and are unsure, it’s important to realize you’ll be fine if you did fine in high school; it really is worth giving it a try. Take that first step.”

Linda is planning on earning her bachelor’s degree in business from Liberty University in the summer of 2019 – less than three years after she started her first class. Thanks to StraighterLine, she has been able to affordably and flexibly accelerate the completion of her degree -- and plans on celebrating graduating from college at the same time her son graduates from high school! Congratulations, Linda!

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