Someone looks at a banner on their computer while studying which says “Higher Education.”

Why I Loved Getting My Online Ed.S Degree from Carson-Newman University

What Concerns Did You have Before Pursuing a Graduate Program?

Before I began the online graduate program, I was hesitant to embark on something new. I was a busy teacher, and I already didn’t have much free time. One day in the spring semester, I saw a flyer in the staff mailroom at my school that advertised an interest meeting at a local school. I thought about attending the meeting for a while, but I kept convincing myself that I didn’t need anything else.

However, the school wasn’t too far from my house, so I decided to check it out. I told myself that I didn’t have to commit to anything and could simply hear more about the program. After all, I was interested in earning my Ed.S. Administrative Leadership degree because I wanted to teach in higher education. Still, I wasn’t sure if I had the time or the motivation to begin the program.

After attending the meeting, I realized that the program wasn’t a huge time commitment, and I was excited about completing the degree from my home via my computer. I completed my master’s degree in person while I was teaching full-time, and this was extremely hard with my teaching schedule, going to class at night for hours when I was tired from school. I thought the online format would fit me well and allow me to earn the degree quicker and easier.

Did You have any Reservations about a Fully Online Program?

One thing that almost caused me not to start the program was the requirement for a passing GRE score. I did not have to take the test for my master’s degree program, and I hadn’t taken a math class in years. I was used to teaching second-grade math, and I wasn’t sure I would be successful at higher-level math. I talked to others who had taken the test to get advice to see if I could take the test and get through it the first time.

After thinking about the test for a while and previewing some testing materials, I decided that a test shouldn’t hold me back from enrolling in the program and earning my Ed.S. I decided to take the test during the following summer and enroll in Carson-Newman’s program in the fall. I spent a significant amount of time studying over the summer, with a large focus on math concepts. When I took the GRE, I was nervous but could pass with a high enough score to enroll in the Ed. S. program on the first try.

How Did Carson-Newman University’s Online Format Address Your Concerns?

A major strength of the program was the clear communication from the beginning. The program advisors were great at communicating the program expectations and checking on me throughout the admissions process and my program; they were realistic about the time commitment and the structure of the program. I found that the online format of the Ed.S. program was perfect for me.

The program was set up perfectly for my schedule. I was impressed that the coordinators knew that most of the students were working educators and adapted the schedule to make it work. I was able to study at night and on weekends, with just a few classes during the school year; the majority of my work was completed in the summer, which worked well for me. I focused more in the summers and devoted more time to my classes.

How did You Foster Connection and Collaboration with Your Cohorts and Professors?

Since all of my classes were asynchronous, I connected with my professors and classmates through various formats. Most of the connections were through discussion boards and emails. In several of my classes, we were required to work together and this wasn’t too difficult to manage due to everyone being on a similar school schedule. I was lucky that one of my colleagues at my school was also taking many of the same classes, so we were able to connect and share.

In Your Opinion, What are the Top Advantages of Carson-Newman University’s Online Ed.S. Administrative Leadership Program?

One thing that I loved about my classes was applying the content directly into my classroom. I took a technology class that allowed me to implement my learning daily basis, and several other classes were applicable to my current teaching practice. At my school, I was able to present about working with gifted children, and this allowed me to take a leadership role in my school and help grow my colleagues’ teaching practices. Applying content immediately was very motivating to me and helped my new learning sink in.

The program went by extremely fast, and I enjoyed all my classes. I am very thankful that I began the program because my degree has greatly benefitted me. Besides the increased pay at my school, I could engage in several opportunities beyond classroom teaching. I’ve served as an adjunct professor in teacher education at a local college, and I served as a leader at my school. My online class experience also really helped me when my courses went online due to the COVID-19 pandemic; I knew what worked well for me in those classes and what I could do to support the learning of my students.