Professional Studies Degree Student Says UC Online Experience is “Brilliant”

When you’re considering a field to study in college, there are a lot to choose from. This can be overwhelming for anyone, but especially for students who are coming back to college after some time. This was the case for Lisa Montenegro, a student with the University of Cincinnati Online.

“I started my college journey at the University of Cincinnati in the fall of 1983 and did not complete my degree because I entered the workforce. I always knew I wanted to finish my degree at UC, so when this new online program came up, I was excited to have the opportunity to finish what I started at my old alma mater.” – Lisa Montenegro | BAPS Student

Lisa is currently about to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Studies. She calls this an important milestone in her professional life and says that the University of Cincinnati contributed to her success in earning her degree! One of her biggest aspirations was to finish a degree in less than two years when she returned to college. Her professional and education background is helping her achieve this through this online program.

She shared her story with us and recommends this new program from the University of Cincinnati Online to anyone who is still seeking a degree after joining the workforce.

Why Did You Choose UC Online Over Other Institutions?

I looked at other similar online programs in the current state I live in (California) and other states but the cost was either less going to us or very competitive with others in the U.S.  I had a similar experience with attending a large online program years ago at University of Phoenix but my experience there was not like the great experience I had at U.C.  The out-of-state fees are minimal due to it being an online program and the cost is lower and competitive with other online programs in California.

What was Your Education Background Before Starting at UC Online?

My college education started at U.C. back in the mid 80’s in an unassigned degree program but soon went into the workplace and went to school part-time.  I moved to another state and tried to take college courses at other accelerated universities, but it was one to two classes per year.  In the early 2000’s I got my Associates of Science degree in Interior Design but dreamed of going back to finish my Bachelor’s degree with all the college credits that I had accumulated through the years.

I have over 35 years of professional work experience in two different career paths. I worked in marketing and communication at technology companies, and own my interior design business which I have managed for the past 13 years. This experience has grounded me as a working professional.

What Made You Choose the Bachelor’s in Professional Studies?

The BAPS is the best fit for personal and professional reasons.  A personal reason is, I wanted to complete my degree in less than two years, and I knew with all my college credits and work experience that this was possible. A professional reason is, I received an Associates of Science degree in Interior Design in the early 2000’s and this degree program not only recognized that experience, but I knew I could use it across many career paths.

Probably the most important reason is that the program accepted my work experience and counted up to 18 credit hours of experience as some credits towards my degree.  That was “YES” for me right away because it was such a win-win!  I thought, “This program took many of my previous college credits and gave me credit for work experience too, ‘sign me up’!”

What Were Your Expectations for the BAPS Foundations Course?

I was overwhelmed at first with coming back to a college environment and taking the time to accomplish this goal. However, the staff was great by communicating to me that this course would walk me through the assignments slowly by guiding me every step of the way. I knew it was a course that would help me package all my work experience.

How Do You Feel About the Professional Studies Foundation Course? How has it Been Impactful to You?

The professional studies foundations course was simply amazing! I can’t sing enough praises to the instructors, instructional designers, and the professors of this course. It’s the crux of the program and an essential piece of the online BAPS program. I was so impressed with the course design and the spacing of the modules throughout the semester. The Professional Studies Foundations Course is a lot of work, but it does not feel overwhelming because it becomes your unique roadmap for moving forward in the program.

Throughout the course, I always knew there was someone I could reach out to with questions and get a prompt response. You can collaborate with your peers in discussion boards which never makes you feel isolated or alone. These discussion boards are led so brilliantly and let others provide their insight. Help is just a click or phone call away. The faculty and staff care about your success and follow up their claims with actions.

What Has Been Challenging About the Coursework So Far? How Have you Overcome these Challenges?

The most challenging aspect of the coursework is carving out your time and getting your groove by adding this to your already-busy schedule. Rest assured, these challenges are definitely manageable, and it doesn’t feel like an overwhelming load. The Professional Studies Foundations course slowly ramps you up to get you in the groove of adding this to your schedule and building good habits for studying.

Overall, How Would You Describe the Online Learning Experience? Did you Feel Like you Got the Whole College Experience?

I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed my online learning experience. I love the flexibility to manage my coursework on my own time and the structure of the classes so far. I love that I don’t feel isolated from my peers, the instructor, or the rest of the BAPS staff. I feel heard and seen in the program which is extraordinary to me, and I have to give credit to those who designed this program and to the staff who are a huge part of student success. I feel like I am getting the full college experience because I get all the same tools as an in-person University of Cincinnati student.

What Are Your Thoughts on the Professors of This UC Online Program?

I feel like we hit the lottery with these instructors. Each professor has been so engaged and willing to go the extra mile for each student to be successful. Each one that I have reached out to has been extremely helpful, available, and quick to respond to any of my questions. They provide good feedback and insight into how the students are graded. I can’t wait to meet more of them!

What Are Your Thoughts on the Staff of UC Online?

Honestly, I feel the staff at UC Online that started this new program are the cream of the crop. From the first person I interacted with introducing the program, to the program manager and my student success coordinator, I appreciate everyone for their commitment and guidance they provide!

What Were Your Main Concerns or Hesitations About Enrolling in this Program?

My main concern was the time commitment. Like most students at UC Online, I have a busy schedule with managing my design business, clients, and our family’s schedule. The other concern was coming back to college after being away from school for many years. Being in my 50’s, it was intimidating to come back to school online, but I am glad that I made it a priority because you are never too old to get your degree!

What Advice Would You Give Someone Who is Considering an Online Program?

If you are on the fence about returning to finish your bachelor’s degree like I was, please take the leap and do it, because you will not regret it. Even with the busiest work schedules, you can make the time because you are worth the time to complete the degree that you want.

What Do You Plan To Do With Your Degree? Any Final Thoughts?

This degree was a bucket list goal I had dreamed of when I didn’t finish my degree earlier at U.C. Career growth wasn’t a top priority for me, but with this degree, I can go into many different career paths if I choose to. I’m excited because since I have work experience, this degree rounds me out as a professional.

I cannot stress enough how amazing this online program is, as are the professionals connected to it. They want each of their students to succeed and show that they do through their actions. Everyone has been so helpful and kind, and I believe that I found this degree at the right time. If the program seems too good to be true, it’s not! My education dream came true with this BAPS program.  Thank you to U.C. and this new program!

Upgrading Your Career with a Bachelor’s in Professional Studies at UC Online

As Lisa said in her story, it’s never too late to earn your degree! The University of Cincinnati Online is here to support students find the success that they’re after. A Bachelor of Arts in Professional Studies is a worthwhile investment of your time and will give you the tools you need to advance on your terms and at a schedule that lets you balance your commitments outside of school. Whether you are finishing your degree for personal or professional reasons, it is possible for you!

If you’re ready to take the leap, you can visit our Bachelor of Arts in Professional Studies program page to submit your application online. If you have questions, you can email our team directly, or call (513) 556-6459 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.

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