Tim H. Cox, in the online academic advising master’s program, won this year’s National Distance Learning Week essay contest. His essay follows below:
I have been in the field of higher education for five years and my passion to help students achieve their educational objectives grows stronger every day. As a result, my academic and professional goals have been the same for quite some time; to earn a doctoral degree in education and become a dean of student affairs.
I applied to Kansas State University prior to completing my master’s degree in higher education administration in May 2012. Although my prior coursework provided me with an excellent practical foundation to progress in the field, I felt that I lacked the theoretical knowledge-base needed to pursue doctoral studies.
K-State’s academic advising program appealed to me for several reasons; it is the only program of its kind with a practical and research focus, it was developed in consultation with the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), and it is offered online, making it convenient for me to pursue a second degree from home.
At the beginning of the semester, my three biggest concerns were time management, student-faculty interaction, and the academic challenges of distance learning. The past few months have shown me, however, that distance learning at K-State is one of the best educational decisions I have ever made. Not only have I learned to balance a demanding class schedule along with work and personal life, I learned the importance of taking time out for myself. The level of interaction with my classmates and faculty is equal to — and in most cases better than — what I experienced in my previous graduate program. Most importantly, the feedback that I receive on my research interests is invaluable; each faculty member challenges me to be better. By 2014, I will enter a doctorate program with a clear research focus. Look out, future; I am on my way!
In the wake of the recent storms on the East Coast, the K-State family did not hesitate to reach out to those affected. Even though I am hundreds of miles away, knowing that I am cared about makes a big difference. I may live in New Jersey, but I back the K-State Wildcats all the way!
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