Well, it is done: as of November 11, 2022, I finished and submitted my written capstone project for my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Management degree at Western Governors University. As of November 12 my work was evaluated, and I passed, finishing my coursework. No more undergrad for me! I’m done with it! Woohoo!
I started at Sophia Learning on August 4 of this year, continuing on through August 19, a total of 16 days where I completed 30 credits. I transferred these credits to Western Governors University, where I plugged away at much the same rate starting on October 1, continuing through November 11, a stint of 42 days. Put them together, and I spent a grand total of 58 days going from zero to a bachelor’s degree.
A breakneck pace compared to the norm, but that’s the beauty of competency-based education: if you demonstrate that you know what you need to know through the examinations (proctored tests, papers, videos, etc., depending on the course), you can get credit for it and move on. In my case I was able and willing to move extraordinarily fast; my advisor says I’ve set a new record among students she’s mentored. I can believe it.
WGU is no cream puff of a school: the work they demand is comparable in difficulty to what you’ll encounter at most brick-and-mortar colleges, and demands you do indeed know your stuff, to the point of being a slog at times. I read very fast, learn very fast, already knew most of the material, test very well, and had ample time to devote to my studies almost every single day, and 58 days was close to as fast as I could possibly do the work. Virtually anyone else would require much longer time, since my case was close to the theoretical optimum for academic acceleration.
At 42 days into my term, I completed my degree in more than enough time to do it in one term, which at WGU is six months, the period they charge tuition for, in this case around $3800. Add in the cost of my Sophia courses and my total for my entire bachelor’s degree comes to less than $4000. That is the cheapest way I know of to get a bachelor’s degree in the United States, and I’ve done it! It’s a bit of an expense in a year of big expenses for me, sure, but it’s an investment in my future, something I’ll always have.
And I intend to get more yet: after my graduation is completed, I intend to earn a Master of Business Administration from the same school, completing my higher education with a master’s-level credential. Going into this thing that was my real target: earning an MBA. Now it’s in my sights.
I don’t want to recapitulate everything I’ve already said about what I call my “degree quest”, which has ended in success as of yesterday, so I’ll link to every post I’ve made on the subject:
So Much Fear And Doubt For So Small A Paper (July 26)
Degree Quest: Day 4 (August 7)
Degree Quest: Day 16 (August 20)
Degree Quest: The Second Leg Looms (September 30)
Degree Quest: Day 33 (October 18)
It’ll seem a bit of a lifestyle change to have no coursework to do for the time being. Hehe. Well, I was looking forward to it all being over, and indeed looking back on it I’m glad it’s all finished and I have little else to do now than wait for my degree to arrive. My thoughts on my experiences from these other posts still stands, including my favorite courses: the ones I really liked were Principles of Management and Managing in a Global Business Environment at WGU, and Art History and Project Management at Sophia. All the rest ranged from just okay to blech.
I’ve been told that I’ll feel excited and so proud of myself once it all sinks in and I’m done with it, but really, I don’t feel much of anything at this stage other than relief that it’s over. Will I experience a bolt of enthusiasm, perhaps when I see my degree and have it in hand? Will I feel it as mere relief as I caught up to where I thought I’d already be in life, with the real pride coming, if at all, in me obtaining my MBA down the road? Who knows? I do know this much, however: as of now, I have joined the ranks of the 38% of Americans who have a bachelor’s degree. That much does make me feel good: moving to the next category up on the credential scale. It truly is an accomplishment, what I’ve done this year. It’s been a tough year for me, but that will always be one silver lining I can cherish.