I have never been more proud of myself than for graduating cum laude at 40 years old, and Ashford University* made that possible.
When Laura Griswold decided to go back to school, the newly single mother of two and full-time Ashford University* admissions counselor had quite a bit on her plate.
While married, Laura co-owned and operated a successful business, but divorce changed the trajectory of her career. She knew continuing her college studies was the key to unlocking new career opportunities.
“I needed a fresh education in order to earn a living that could actually provide for myself and my kids,” she recalls. “Employers don’t care how successful you were as a self-made boss.”
Sixteen years after earning her associate degree, Laura enrolled at Ashford University and began pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management. Given her extremely busy life and workload, she found the online classroom setting most beneficial.
“I couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it without doing it online,” she says. “I worked through having water leaks and other home repairs, family members passing away, sick kids, school conferences, a work schedule, needing to plan for dinner, kids’ sporting events, and having a personal life. Online classes allowed me to complete my work anywhere I went and during times that worked for me.”
This flexibility, along with several other online resources, empowered Laura to double her classes and finish her program ten months ahead of schedule. In order to handle this workload, maintain a good GPA, and meet her other obligations, she turned to a number of Ashford resources for assistance, including the Ashford Writing Center.
“I used Ashford tutors for accounting; I wouldn’t have made it through without them,” says Laura. “I also used Career Services for polishing up my resume, and Grammarly to help me edit and proofread my work.”
Throughout the experience, Laura was most surprised by the sense of community Ashford cultivated.
“Graduation really showed me all the faces to the profiles,” she recalls. “It was a great feeling.”
After completing her degree in December 2017, Laura confidently embarked upon a new career path and successfully leveraged her education to negotiate a higher salary. Today she is employed as a marketing communications specialist.
“Education has opened doors for me that were not available before,” she says. “I could always do the work; I just needed someone to give me a chance. I now have a career that gives me that chance and room to grow.”
What’s more, Laura has inspired several friends to go back to school while also providing her kids with a shining example of perseverance.
“My children need to know and truly understand that it is never too late to work on yourself,” she says. “It may have taken me 18 additional years to complete a bachelor’s degree, but the point is, I completed it! I have never been more proud of myself than for graduating cum laude at 40 years old, and Ashford University made that possible.”
* Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus