Graduation cap on keyboard with mouse.

Why I Loved Getting My Online Master’s Degree at Concordia University St. Paul

What Concerns Did You have Before Pursuing a Graduate Program?

I honestly did love earning my master’s degree at Concordia University St. Paul (CSP)! My cohort met every Thursday evening for an hour. I will admit, the very first class was extremely intimidating to me as it was a new experience; I had never taken an online class before.

When I tried to log on, I could hear, but I could not see anyone, and they could not see me. I was so nervous and embarrassed, but the professor was so kind and understanding, and by the end of class, we had it figured out. From then on, I looked forward to Thursday evenings!

How Did Concordia University St. Paul’s Online Format Address Your Concerns?

When I decided to get my master’s degree, I looked into various college options. I chose Concordia University St. Paul for a few reasons, but mainly because their courses were 100% online. That was important for me; I did not want to drive anywhere to get to class. I was working full-time, and my time was precious and limited.

The online option was great because I could log on virtually anywhere. I logged on at school during conferences. I attended one class while I was at my dad’s place, and I even went to class while I was on vacation. It was so convenient.

Once I decided to embark on this journey, I had a lot of questions, and the staff at CSP were so kind and timely in answering them. I honestly felt like they cared about me, and they did not even know me. It was then that I knew CSP was the place for me!

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

My cohort was the best! There were 12 of us. I enjoyed working with and learning from all of them. One of my favorite professors described our cohort as ‘ohana’, which means ‘family’ in Hawaiian. He was correct, as we truly did become like a family; we celebrated a marriage, a new baby, and many other smaller life events. We also grieved together. When I was about halfway through my program, my father passed away. Although it was not a surprise to me, it was still a devastating time in my life.

I was not sure how I was going to complete my class. I contacted my professor and two of my cohort friends. With their support and my family, I was able to successfully complete the class. I found that the homework and comradery from the course were therapeutic during that time. It helped give me purpose and direct my energy into something positive when I found it hard to get out of bed. I will never forget the kindness and compassion that they all showed me during this dark and sad time in my life.

In Your Opinion, What are the Top Advantages of Concordia University St. Paul’s Online M.A.Ed. Educational Leadership Program?

I earned my M.A.Ed. Educational Leadership degree; this program sharpened my communication and technical writing skills! I always considered myself a rather proficient writer, but after two years of intensive writing classes and studying the writer’s manual, I now believe I am an exemplary technical writer!

Improving my writing automatically improved my communication skills. I feel equipped and confident presenting information to my co-workers, administration, the school board, and the community. These communication skills are beneficial when I write grants, do presentations, and even in the classroom with my students.

This program also provided me with a wealth of education knowledge. I interviewed school superintendents, principals, and financial workers to gain personal insights and philosophies, which broadened my perspectives.

I expanded my knowledge base in:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Ethics
  • Universal design
  • Education legal issues

The one class that I dreaded the most, Educational Finance, became one of my favorites! The professor was awesome, and I learned so much.

The educational leadership program prepares educators to be leaders in their field. Earning my master’s degree in educational leadership has provided me with invaluable skills and information that I use almost every day in my current position. I feel more confident in the classroom and my other duties as a teacher leader. I also think that should other leadership positions become available, I would be qualified to apply.

My advice for anyone considering the master’s educational leadership program at Concordia University St. Paul would be to believe in yourself, but also:

  • Understand that research, completing projects, and writing papers take a tremendous amount of time.
  • Make sure you are up for the challenge and dedicate enough time and energy to complete quality assignments.
  • Realize that there is a fair amount of group work in the classes.
  • Know that your group members count on you to pull your weight. Do not let them down. You may have different ideas, work ethics, or schedules, but you need to commit to doing your part.
  • Know that the professors are there to help and guide you; they want you to succeed.
  • Ask for help if needed.
  • Don’t wait.

There are always excuses: money, time, etc. I doubted my abilities and kept putting my dream of earning a master’s degree on the back burner. I wish I had done it sooner. If you are hesitating, believe in yourself, and go for it!