Terri Martinez

Regis University

Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Accounting

2016 Completion

Terri Martinez is earning a combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Accounting from Regis University. Terri finds it more convenient to attend college from her home in Connecticut since she is kept busy with her 3 children. Additionally, online classes allow her to continue working her job as a credit manager. She expects to graduate in 2016.

Although Terri was skeptical about the quality of online education, she is currently satisfied with the learning environment that Regis University provides. Since she attends Regis University, which is a Jesuit school, Terri is allowed to use any of the facilities that sister schools in the Jesuit network provide. She finds those resources especially beneficial because she can go to a physical campus in her area to speak with professors and use student resources like the library a couple of times each week.

What are the biggest benefits of attending college at home?

The biggest benefit of attending college at home is the flexible schedule that taking online classes affords me. As long as I complete my assignments by the due date, I can log on to class whenever I want. A related benefit is my location in Connecticut relative to the main Regis University campus, which is in Colorado. Since Regis University operates in the Mountain time zone, people like me who live on the East coast have a little more time to meet the deadlines. I find it helpful to have an additional 2 hours to complete my work when I put in the occasional late night study session.

There are also some benefits specific to Regis University that I have not found in any other schools that offer online education. For instance, when we take a test, we are monitored for honesty. The interface only allows us to open up a certain number of windows in the browser so that people are not allowed to cheat. Features like that make me trust my school. I also appreciate that at Regis University we all take a mandatory class called Adult Learning which teaches us study skills and prepares us to write academic papers. I found that class very helpful.


What are the drawbacks to attending college at home?

One drawback of college at home is that occasionally, personal circumstances can create problems with distance learning. For example, just this week, we lost power in Connecticut for about 8 days. Without power, I couldn’t log in to class like I needed to, so now I am a week behind in my classes. Had I been enrolled at a physical school in my geographical location, the whole school would have shut down and I wouldn’t be behind. But because I am the only student in this situation in my class, I just have to accept that my circumstances are different and figure it out for myself.


How much do you think you save by living at home?

I don’t think I could put a specific dollar amount on what I save by living at home as opposed to going away to school. I would say that staying at home allows me to maintain our family’s lifestyle. I know exactly what expenses to anticipate. If I was somewhere else, I wouldn’t know what kinds of bills to expect.


How many hours do you spend on coursework each week?

Right now I am taking 2 classes, so each week I spend about 32 hours on coursework. That might sound like a lot to people in other online programs, but before I signed up for these classes, the course description told me how many hours of work I should expect. Having a study plan comforts me, so to get all of my work done, I block out a specific time each night for school and I stick to the schedule.


Do you think attending college at home affects your learning in any way?

I think attending college at home affects my learning in a positive way. I am an independent learner, so this method works very well for me. It would not be ideal for everybody, though. If you are not comfortable working by yourself, then I would not suggest going to an online school. Likewise, if you are a student who needs interaction with the teacher every day, then this is not for you.


Do you feel like attending college at home affects your ability to make friends?

No, I don’t think my ability to make friends is hampered at all. We work in groups just like in a traditional classroom, so we get to know our peers through working on collaborative projects. Plus, in the first day of class, we post an introduction telling the class about ourselves so that everyone knows who we are and why we are getting our degrees.

In addition, interaction with our classmates is a mandatory part of my online program. We have instant message debates, chat room discussions and webinars in which we can see and hear the teacher.


Do ever feel isolated from campus life?

Because the Jesuit network allows me to go on any connected campus, I don’t feel isolated from campus life at all. I have the ability to walk on to those sister campuses and use the library and the computer labs. I see other students at least a couple of times each week, so I feel like I am part of the campus lifestyle.


Is attending college at home what you had imagined it to be?

The experience that I have had with Regis University is what I expected, although the other schools that I have attended fell well below my expectations. My youngest child, who was in eighth grade, could do the work that those schools asked me to do. The difference is that Regis University is literally just like a college campus that simply happens to be on my computer.


How do you think your life would be different if you attended college away from home?

I can only imagine that attending college away from home would make me extremely tired. Travelling back and forth to class would wear me out. On a different note, the only way that I could attend physical classes while keeping my job is to go to school at night, and that would be completely exhausting. It would probably take me 3 times as long to get a degree.


If you started college over again, would you choose to live at home while attending college?

I would definitely choose to attend college at home because it lets me keep my schedule and my life under my control. The only thing that I would do differently is to start with Regis University instead of trying out other schools first.


What advice would you give other students who are trying to decide if attending college at home is right for them?

I would advise students to make sure that any school they are considering has a physical campus. Look for distance learning options through established universities rather than programs that are only offered online.

You should also look into the ranking of any school that interests you. Instead of stopping after very basic research, you should dig deeper into the program that you want to study to see what former students say about it. That will give you a better perspective on what you might be getting yourself into than a quick Internet search will.