On July 11, Excelsior College will host its annual Commencement ceremony at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany, New York. With ‘Commencement Stories’, Excelsior Life explores the personal and educational journeys of a few of this year’s outstanding graduates.
Sarah Grant, from Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, heard about Excelsior College from friends who had been unsuccessful at other, more traditional colleges and highly recommended the flexibility of distance learning and Excelsior’s supportive staff. Grant decided to enroll and recently completed her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with an area of emphasis in Management. She will proudly attend Excelsior’s Commencement ceremony on July 11 with peers, family and friends by her side.
Grant came to Excelsior with an Associate in General Studies degree from Ocean County College in New Jersey where she had taken nursing courses. Upon enrolling at Excelsior in 2010, Grant initially considered pursuing a nursing degree, but soon switched to health sciences. She requested an initial transcript evaluation and learned her prior nursing credits would count as electives in the health sciences program.
One of the keys to distance learning is being a self-starter and having a support system. Besides Grant’s desire to earn her degree, she made countless phone calls to her advisor for academic and moral support. Her family and friends were helpful too. “I knew each class I chipped away at, was one step closer to graduation,” Grant recalls.
In addition, Excelsior provided “My Academic Plan”, a tool to help Sarah keep track of her progress. She also had access 24-hours a day to writing and research tools through Excelsior’s online library that is provided in collaboration with The Johns Hopkins University. “One of my most memorable distance-learning experiences came from my required capstone class. Through the instructor’s thought-provoking questions and team assignments, I enhanced my team-building skills.”
Earning a bachelor’s degree has special meaning to her. “My career goals include managing a department, serving on professional executive boards, and becoming a hospital chaplain,” Grant explains. She feels her career opportunities will be increased because her degree has helped enhance her leadership skills and she will now be able to apply to a master’s degree program.
Today Grant works for a retail pharmacy. Part of her job is providing customer service to people and explaining how the Healthcare Reform Act will affect them. “My college degree has helped me understand how the Reform Act has impacted the pharmacy and its clients. My classes helped me understand the everyday task of providing excellent healthcare to patients.”