As an active duty Marine, a wife, and a mom, Ladilvia "Sabrina" Lee had a hectic schedule. Yet, despite her limited time, she knew that with just three years left in the military, she needed to lay the groundwork for the transition back to civilian life.
"I knew that if I got a college degree it would enhance my career opportunities," said Ms. Lee, a native of Florence, SC, who is stationed in Okinawa, Japan, along with her husband, who is also a Marine. "The problem was that with my busy schedule – and the possibility of being sent to another country at any time – a traditional classroom setting wouldn’t work for me."
After researching colleges, she found the perfect solution in Berkeley College Online.
"Berkeley’s program stood out from the other online colleges because it requires an internship which means you get the academics and the hands-on job experience," said Ms. Lee, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting degree and is on track to graduate in the winter of 2012. She plans to serve her accounting internship at the United Services Organization office located on base.
The online program is a good match because it allows Ms. Lee to "attend" class around her own schedule as long as she meets course deadlines. And there are many other advantages that make online learning the perfect fit for an active-duty student.
"Because most countries have Internet access, I can continue with my classes even when I need to travel," Ms. Lee said. "Berkeley College has an online bookstore that allows my books to ship to my location overseas, and my instructors post their contact information so that I can call or e-mail them when I have a question."
She stays connected to other students through online discussion boards and clubs such as the Parents Café and the Military Club.
"Having a strong student support system really helps because we share the same challenges, and we can encourage one another to keep going," said Ms. Lee, whose future career goals include sitting for the CPA exam following a few years of on-the-job accounting experience.
On days that are particularly stressful, Ms. Lee draws inspiration from her 2-year-old son, Aaqil.
"I look into my baby’s little smiling face and I say, ‘If Mommy gets college out of the way right now she can spend a lot more time with you later on.’ Aaqil keeps me motivated because I want a better life for him," Ms. Lee said.