Empire State SUNY:
Getting Your College Degree
of George Orwell’s 1948 predictions in 1984 have
since become realities. It
is today possible through colleges, such as Empire State SUNY,
to attain your Bachelor’s degree from the comfort of
your home, within the framework of your schedule. We spoke
with Laurie Lieberman, who recently graduated from Empire State
College with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services.
who currently works as Assistant Director of Clinical Services
at a homeless shelter while pursuing a Master’s Degree
in Public Administration at another online program at *Marist
College, provided a comprehensive overview of her experience
of attaining a Bachelor’s degree online.
Update (EU): How did you hear about the program?
Lieberman (LL): Through word of mouth at work from other colleagues
who attended the program. At the time, I had been studying
for my bachelor’s in a traditional college setting
do the courses operate?
LL: You access the website of the program where the basic
layout is; then you login to the virtual classroom. There
is an area on the site for entering discussion rooms, or
it’s possible to just post discussion topics and start
an ongoing discussion. Week to week discussions change and
you are required to post a minimum of twice a week, but they
like to see it more lively than that. I logged on daily;
you have to be self-disciplined if you want to successfully
do online studies.
is the level of difficulty of the program?
LL: Initially my idea of online learning was that it was
going to be easy, but as I went on I realized that it was
going to be a lot of work. One of the requirements is that
you create Degree Program Planner (DPP), where you have to
develop a rationale essay which supports why the classes
you are taking with SUNY and how you are learning corresponds
to the Bachelor’s degree you are going for. You have
to support that based on research from other schools.
long did it take you to get that information together?
LL: It took a long time. When you begin the program you
are assigned a mentor who walks you through the whole process,
but you have to do a lot of research, looking at other school
programs. You have to get the information together in a neat
little package. It has to make sense as it’s going before a committee
that’s deciding whether the credits granted satisfy
the requirements for the SUNY degree. (I
also think it was better to have had classroom experience
at least partially. Finishing up my degree I didn’t
think I would get that much out of it, but I was wrong. )
were the typical course requirements?
LL: There was at least
the equivalent of three smaller papers, one midterm paper
and one final project; some teachers required even more writing.
does the grading work?
LL: Originally SUNY did not provide letter grades, but
just narratives at the end of the semester. Now they have
changed that and they do provide equivalent grading systems
and they also send you an evaluation of your work during
the professors responsive in a timely manner to questions
LL: Some were really efficient at responding to students’ needs
and there were some that were a little more laid back, but
that’s not unlike teachers in classrooms so for me
it wasn’t a remarkable difference.
is the cost of the program?
LL: It’s the same essentially: SUNY tuition at SUNY
you recommend the program to others?
LL: Absolutely. SUNY Empire doesn’t sacrifice integrity
and values; they set the bar as high as any other school,
if not higher. I supervise a case of team managers and a
lot of them are at the entry level in their careers, and
as a firm believer in education I really encourage them to
always pursue their degrees, if they want, and while there
are classroom schools that also cater to returning adults,
with regard to online learning, I highly recommend SUNY as
a great undergraduate program.
is the best part of the program?
LL: Some people have always dreamed of earning a degree
and somehow earlier in life maybe got caught up in their
career and the dream was lost, and later in life they start
thinking about the degree. For some people, especially as
you get older, it’s harder to go back to school. Online
learning affords the opportunity to realize dreams and fulfill
information about Empire State College, log onto www.esc.edu