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Elaine Thompson

Elaine Thompson_horizontalElaine Thompson, 58
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis.
Current city: Berlin, Wis.
Graduated: May 2012
Bachelor of Liberal Studies- Organizational Administration
Paralegal at Menasha Corporation


Elaine Thompson had been taking classes online at another college. But when life’s circumstances changed and she had to take a break from school, she took the opportunity to find a more individual and local program for her online education.

“I wanted to do something more local," Thompson said, "so that’s when I turned to UW Oshkosh.”

Thompson researched UW Oshkosh and found the Bachelor of Liberal Studies in Organizational Administration, which allowed her to take all of her classes online while working full-time.

“I started classes spring 2008 and was able to transfer all but six credits. I also earned 20 credits through Credit for Prior Learning, which allowed me to graduate in less than four years,” Thompson said.

Thompson said being able to work on her classes whenever she wanted helped her choose to take online classes, and she said working with other adult students was an added bonus.

“You work with a lot of the same students and you can relate to the same things because you are basically from the same area and a lot of people have the same goals,” Thompson said.

For Thompson, sometimes her degree seemed so far off, and made it difficult for her to stay motivated, but she said being able to meet with her adviser helped her stay focused.

“I would always look at my STAR report to see where I was and kept plugging along,” Thompson said. “I really liked having advisers dedicated to my degree. It was nice to be able to come to campus and meet with my adviser to stay on track with graduating.”

Thompson also took the two-credit Credit for Prior Learning class, Interdisciplinary Studies 145, where she developed a portfolio that helped her earn 20 credits for her college-level learning from her life and work experiences.

“I think if you have life experiences and you have been employed at a position where you had to use some of those skills that you should really take the time to learn about Credit for Prior Learning and then to sit down and think and reflect on what you did learn,” Thompson said.

Through Interdisciplinary Studies 145, Thompson made a timeline of her life and pulled events and times where she had significant learning.

“The portfolio brought back memories from conferences I have attended and jobs I have had and helped me reflect on my learning on a deeper level,” Thompson said.

For Thompson, the class helped her look back on her learning and she realized just how much she learned.

“I didn’t think I was missing anything by doing Credit for Prior Learning and that was one of my fears,” Thompson said. “It’s such a good program to be able to take those learning experiences and get credit for them.”

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