SophiaBlog

Student Success

How Sophia Helped Me Save Time and Money: A Student Success Story

When Purdue University senior Madison Roelike* first heard of Sophia Learning in late 2019, she was intrigued by the idea of taking convenient and affordable college-level courses that could help her work toward her bachelor of science in business administration.

Madison was first drawn in by the concept and the accessible design of Sophia’s website, but she continued to take courses with Sophia long after her free trial period ended because Sophia delivered on its promise of convenient, high-quality learning. 

*Actual Sophia student who agreed to appear in Sophia promotional materials

23 Credits Transferred 

Because Purdue is a university partner with Sophia, all of the Sophia courses Madison took were accepted as transfer credit toward her business major, general education requirements, or electives. According to Madison, this straightforward partnership “has helped me tremendously.” 

During her free trial with Sophia, Madison tried the business course Developing Effective Teams and the communication course The Essentials of Managing Conflict, both of which are recommended by the American Council on Education (“ACE”) to be worth 1 credit.

Then, during quarantine and beyond, she took advantage of many of Sophia’s other courses, focusing particularly on the business courses that would help with her major. Madison completed Introduction to Business, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Project Management, and, most recently, Sophia’s new Principles of Finance course. She has also taken courses for her own personal enjoyment and learning, including Visual Communications and Introduction to Ethics. Each of these was evaluated by ACE to be worth 3 transfer credits.

Total, these nine courses have resulted in 23 credits transferred to Purdue University, which Madison says has “definitely helped save some money,” on her journey toward graduation.

Convenient Online Learning

Madison is no stranger to online learning. She takes her classes with Purdue online and also took advantage of online learning opportunities when she was in high school. But she found that Sophia offered a convenience and accessibility unlike what she has experienced elsewhere. “I wasn’t getting lost in the readings like I sometimes find myself doing [when] reading a textbook,” she says. She enjoyed the more straightforward lessons, which were easy for her to access anywhere she had her phone or laptop. 

“While I would take notes on the lesson plans, I also felt like the questions on the milestones and tests were not [convoluted],” she says, noting how these tests allow students to use critical thinking skills to apply the knowledge they have gained rather than asking them to simply memorize information. This provided an academic challenge while still developing needed skills for future success.

For this reason, Madison feels that Sohia’s courses offer a helpful entry point for students who are new to online learning or have had difficulties with it in the past. The setup, process, accessibility, and value of the courses led to one of her smoothest experiences with online learning. “Overall the knowledge I’ve received has helped a lot,” she says.

Q&A with Madison Roelike

Q: What Did You Like Best About the Courses You Took with Sophia?

A: I like how accessible it is. I feel like with some of the alternative-credit options, it can get really, really expensive, and there are a lot of limits on how much you can take and in what amount of time. But with Sophia, I’ve always loved it just because of the accessibility and [usability]. ... I love the whole experience of it with how you have the lesson plans, [low-key] homework, and then you move on to the milestones—the tests—and then you have a cumulative final-type test at the end. I found myself staying really engaged throughout the whole process, which sometimes doesn’t happen—it can be really hard to stay engaged in online school.

Q: How did Sophia’s Courses Prepare You For Your Career or Helped You in Your Course of Study?

A: The biggest [course for me] was the Project Management course. That one didn’t transfer toward my major—it was more of an elective credit. But I was really surprised by the information in those lesson plans. I have applied [things I learned in that class] to work and my schooling at Purdue. … That one had a lot of information that has helped me in even human resources classes that I’ve taken at Purdue.

Q: What Advice Would You Give to Others Interested in Taking Courses with Sophia?

A: I recommend it 100 percent. Especially if the reason they are taking classes is for alternative credit and your school partners [with Sophia] or is more likely to accept the credit—it’s a great avenue for general credits especially.

I also think that—while this didn’t really apply to me as I had already picked my major—it is a great avenue if you are unsure about what you’re wanting to major in. I love the variety of classes; you have everything from psychology to art history to business, accounting, economics … so many different options. [Sophia] provides a lot of great introductory classes ... it gives a little bit of an insight of what [you could be interested in] without paying the full price of going to college and then switching your major later on—you could be out thousands and thousands. I think the overall variety is amazing.

As Madison prepares for her expected graduation date of May 2022, she is using the critical thinking and outside-the-box strategizing skills she gained through her Sophia coursework to succeed in her part-time work as a mortgage specialist with US Bank. She’s grateful that Sophia has been a part of her journey to graduation—but she does have one regret. “I only wish I could have found it sooner!”

Learn more about Sophia and start your free trial today.

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Courses & Development

10 Sophia online english and communications courses for college-level credit

Improve your writing, speaking, researching and editing skills with Sophia’s online English and communications courses. They’re designed to let you learn at your own pace – anytime, anywhere.  

On average, Sophia students take 33 days to complete an English and communications course. 

Even if you are not an English major, you may still need to take a couple English and communications courses to meet common general education requirements. Plus, you'll be honing on key writing and communications skills that can help you in your personal and professional life.  

Which Courses Are Right For You? 

Our ten current English and communication courses cover a range of topics. Try one or try them all. These courses are designed to build and improve your English and communication skills, they are not ESL courses.  

  • Communication at Work: Explore what makes for impactful written and verbal workplace communications. 
  • Conflict Resolution: Dive into the elements of conflict resolution and how to apply them to work and life. 
  • Discover the Writer in You: This course takes you through the writing process, from brainstorming, prewriting, and drafting all the way to revising, editing, and proofreading. If you have previously taken English Composition I, you do not need to enroll in this course. 
  • Sophia's English Composition I: Learn the tools to become a better writer and a more thoughtful reader. 
  • English Composition II: Designed to build upon the concepts taught in English Composition I, refine your knowledge of research techniques for academic writing. 
  • Foundations of English Composition: Hone your writing skills and learn to communicate more effectively. 
  • Public Speaking: This course takes you through all of the stages of developing a speech, from preparation to rehearsal to presentation. 
  • The Essentials of Managing Conflict: Gain foundational knowledge about managing and resolving conflict in your personal and professional life. 
  • The Power of Persuasion: Explore how persuasive writing strengthens important professional skills including communication, problem solving, and innovation skills. 
  • Visual Communications: Discover the principles of design and what makes visual communication such a powerful tool in getting a message across. 

Reach Your Goals with Online English and Communications Courses 

From their laptops, tablets or phones, Sophia students have successfully completed more than 80,000 online English and communications courses.

Learn more about your options for taking online English courses with Sophia.

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3 Reasons Students Love Sophia’s Online Business Courses

Whether you’re seeking online courses for your business degree or hoping to knock out a gen ed, Sophia’s online business courses can help save you time and money.

Here’s what you can expect when you choose to take a business course with Sophia: 

Learn the Ins and Outs of Business at Your Own Pace

Sophia’s online business courses are self-paced, which means you can complete them in the time that is most convenient for you. Some students prefer a slow and steady approach, while others appreciate the opportunity to work through lessons more quickly if they are already familiar with the concepts.

On average, Sophia students take 26 days to complete a business course. 

Not a business major? Chances are you’ll still need to take a few business courses. Many other fields of study incorporate aspects of business learning, including marketing, communications, economics, political science, human resources management, and entrepreneurship. Plus business courses may be a common general education requirement.

Complete Your Business Courses at an Affordable Rate

Sophia doesn’t charge you per course. Instead, we offer a flexible subscription fee of $79 per month that will grant you access to all of our ACE Credit®–recommended online business courses. You can take up to two courses at a time and work your way through as many as your schedule allows each month. 

So, how does this compare to the cost of taking business courses through your accredited college or university? While tuition costs vary based on the state, institution type, and whether you’re billed in-state or out-of-state tuition, the Education Data Initiative has done a lot of research on the average cost per credit hour at two- and four-year institutions. Check out their latest report or review your school’s tuition fees for a cost analysis. And don’t forget to factor in cost savings on things like books and supplies, room and board, and student loan interest rates.

Take Your Business Learning Anywhere You Go

Our user-friendly business courses are completely on demand, which means you don’t need to commit to taking them at any one time or in any one location. All you need is access to a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Want to knock out some college-level courses when you’re away from campus on a holiday break? Have a gap in your weekly course schedule? Sophia can help you maximize your time by tackling convenient, college-level business courses that may be transferred to your college or university for general education credit. 

Which Courses Are Right For You?

Our eight current business courses cover a range of fundamental topics. Here’s what you’ll learn from each of them:

  • Accounting: This fundamental course covers the basics of accounting that are necessary to run a sole proprietorship, including bookkeeping and preparing financial reports, 
  • Business Law: This course is one of Sophia’s newest and will introduce you to the key laws that govern businesses, the fundamentals of liability, the role of contracts, and property law.
  • College Readiness: This practical course is designed to help orient you to the college experience and develop strategies for success in your academic and personal life so you can reach your collegiate and professional goals.
  • Developing Effective Teams: This is Sophia’s shortest business course; ACE Credit® recommends it is worth 1.0 semester credits. But it’s packed with valuable information about the characteristics of high-performing teams and the skills and strategies needed to build them.
  • Introduction to Business: This popular course will teach you about the environment of business, the science of marketing, investing, and human resources management—and how these concepts apply to companies of all sizes, including entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • Principles of Finance: This fundamental course covers the basics of finance that are necessary to operate a business, including financial statements, capital management, and financial planning.
  • Principles of Management: This course focuses on the main functions of management: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. 
  • Project Management: This course is one of Sophia’s newest and will introduce you to the life cycle of managing a project, including the skills and planning needed to ensure each project’s success.

Sophia students have successfully completed more than 34,000 online business courses. We’re proud to have been a part of helping so many learners reach their academic goals.

Learn more about your options for taking business courses online with Sophia.

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The Sophia Experience

How to transfer your Sophia credits

Sophia Learning offers students an opportunity to complete college-level courses that may then be transferred for credit at their college or university. But how does a college-credit transfer work? What happens after you complete a course with Sophia, and how can you ensure your completed coursework will be accepted for credit? 

The answer primarily depends on whether or not your school is one of Sophia’s college and university partners. Here’s what this means for you. 

If Your School Is Partnered with Sophia . . . 

We’ve partnered with over 40 colleges and universities that have agreed to accept transfer credits from Sophia. If your school is on our list of partners, you may not need to complete any additional steps to ensure your completed Sophia coursework is accepted for transfer credit at your school. For most partner universities, your transcript is submitted automatically once you successfully complete a course, and you will receive an email confirming the details of your transferred credits. 

Since all of Sophia’s courses are ACE® Credit recommended, your ACE® transcript will also be available for you to access through Credly at any time. 

If Your School Is Not Partnered with Sophia . . . 

First and foremost, it’s important that you check with your school’s registrar or with your college advisor to determine transfer eligibility before enrolling in a course. But you certainly don’t need to be enrolled at a partner school to earn credits. In fact, more than 290 schools have reviewed transcripts from Sophia. 

Once you successfully complete a course, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access your transcript via Parchment. The process is as simple as creating a Parchment account, following the guided steps to order a transcript, and paying a small delivery fee to have the transcript sent to your school.  

If It’s Been a While Since You Took a Sophia Course . . . 

Students who transfer schools, take time off, or take Sophia courses prior to enrolling in an accredited program may wonder: Do college credits expire? And how long are college credits good for? Good news: the college-level credits you earn with Sophia do not expire and may be transferred to your college or university at any time. It is still important for students to check with their university registrar to ensure that there are no timing restrictions.  

The process for doing so is similar to the steps outlined above. Simply contact us, and we will send you links to Parchment so you can access your official Sophia transcript and request it to be transferred to your school. 

Our mission is to help make education more accessible and affordable for students, which is why we strive to make the process for transferring Sophia credits as clear-cut as possible. Students love that our transfer process, like our courses, is straightforward, and schools love that our 40+ college-level courses are ACE® Credit recommended. That’s why Sophia courses have been accepted for credit at hundreds of colleges and universities. 

Learn more about transferring credits with Sophia. 

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3 Reasons You Should Sign Up for Sophia’s Free Trial

At Sophia Learning, we believe you should always try before you buy. That’s why we offer one free trial to any student interested in taking an online college-level course with us. All you need to do to start your free trial with Sophia is create an account by providing your first name, last name, and email address—no credit card required.

But then what? What happens once you’re in? Why do we think you’ll love the opportunity to give Sophia a test run? Here are the top three benefits to signing up for a free trial:

1. Take All the Time You Need

Unlike many other trials, you don’t have to complete your free trial with Sophia in 14 days or on any kind of limited time frame. We know life gets busy, so we won’t limit your time or access to our courses. You just won’t be able to move past the first unit of any course until you sign up to pay your $99 monthly membership fee.

This allows you to try out courses whenever it’s convenient for you and may offer valuable insights about the amount of time it will take you to complete the lessons. It also allows you the opportunity to contact your school’s registrar and confirm whether Sophia’s ACE® Credit-recommended courses meet their requirements for transfer credit.

2. Find a Course That’s Right for You

Just like we don’t limit your time frame to take the free trial, we also don’t limit the number of courses you can try out. That’s right: you can try all of Sophia’s 40+ on-demand college-level courses for free.

We know you’ll enjoy exploring Sophia’s unique and intuitive course room structure, trying out different content, and getting to know any of our course instructors before you pay a single cent. That way, when you’re ready to move past the free trial, you already know which courses will be the best fit for you.

Not sure where to start? Some of our most popular online courses include Introduction to Business, College Algebra, and Human Biology.

3. Simplify the Membership Process

Once you’ve signed up for the free trial, it’s easy to begin paying your $99 monthly subscription fee and complete your courses. Simply click begin membership in your account profile and provide a credit or debit card.

Plus, any work you complete during the free trial is saved, so you can pick up right where you left off once you become a member. After you finish a course, you’ll receive a transcript that allows you to submit your courses for transfer credit whenever you’re ready.

What’s the catch? There isn’t one! We want to set you up for success, and that means giving you the opportunity to try Sophia’s courses with no strings attached before you commit to a paid membership. 

Start your free trial today.

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Higher Education

Online vs. In-Person Education: A Q&A

At Sophia Learning, we believe online education can help students learn in a more flexible and affordable way. And thanks to advancements in technology, online learning has become more accessible than ever before. But there are many benefits to an in-person education too. What are some of the key differences, and which mode of learning may be right for you?

We connected with our chief learning officer, Nick White, for more insights. Here’s what he had to share: 

 

Q: First off, what is a “chief learning officer”—and what does your role with Sophia look like? 

A: The role of Chief Learning Officer varies across organizations but the connecting thread is the understanding of how important learning is to all of us to be successful in our roles and realize our potential. In practice that means optimizing the learning function by making sure that the right learning is offered in the most effective and efficient way.  

My career has been focused on creating and improving high quality online and competency-based courses and programs. That involves research on what works for    students, integrating the best design practices and software, creating great learning content using various media, and designing the operations to deliver all of that for students.  

So at Sophia, I support our very talented academic team to continue to improve what we provide to students. That includes new approaches to the learning experience, enhancements to our quality assurance processes, and examining data to generate new insights on how to keep improving. 

And one of the most rewarding things I have the privilege of doing is conducting research on the outcomes of our students and sharing those results and stories with the world. We see great outcomes for Sophia students that we’ll be able to publish soon.  

 

Q: Aside from modality, what do you think are the most important differences between online and in-person education? 

A: Well the biggest difference is obviously that the students and professor are not in the same place. That can but doesn’t always lead to other differences. In online courses, people start to question the value of the in-person synchronous lecture. Why spend the time that way when it can be recorded? And that can lead to questioning the lecture. Why is that a better way to learn than text or other media? Ultimately, this tends to lead to a move away from passive lectures and toward more active learning in which the student is at the center instead of the professor.  

 

Q: What are the top three pros to online learning? 

A: The biggest benefits to online learning for most students are time, flexibility, and transparency. Students benefit from the lack of need for travel to and from a campus including time, transportation, parking, and so forth. With asynchronous online courses, students benefit from greater flexibility, they can work on the course at the times that are most convenient for them rather than a scheduled time. And because online courses need to contain all the necessary information, you can’t rely on discussion in the classroom, online courses tend to be more transparent about all of the expectations around what is needed to succeed and how the student will be evaluated.  

 

Q: What does it take to be a successful online learner? 

A: A successful online learner understands they are in charge of their own success. Because they have greater convenience, flexibility, and transparency, the students need to manage themselves to reach their goals. They do that by engaging at the beginning of the course to understand what they will need to do to succeed, creating a schedule for when they will do their coursework, and keeping to the commitments they have made to themselves. It also requires being proactive and seeking help if they run into any obstacles. Just like so many other endeavors in life, succeeding in an online course both requires confidence to get started and it builds confidence as the student moves through the course successfully.   

 

Q: What are the challenges of online learning? 

A: The challenges of online learning are essentially the flipside of the benefits. The flexibility and convenience can be a challenge for students that lack confidence or are reliant on weekly face-to-face classes to keep them on track. For some students, the social environment of a face-to-face classroom is important to their success. However, with our experience during the pandemic, nearly all students have experience with some type of online education so now most students are familiar with online and remote.  

 

Q: Why might someone prefer taking courses with Sophia rather than in-person courses at a college or university? 

A: For many students, the prospect of completing an undergraduate degree can be overwhelming in terms of both cost and time. Sophia provides an alternative that allows most motivated students the ability to save both time and money and to start their education with much greater momentum. In 2020 CAEL and WICHE published The PLA Boost, which is great research that shows that students that start college with significant credits from prior learning assessment, succeed in college at much higher rates.  

 

Q: What questions should people ask themselves to determine if online learning is right for them? 

A: There are some obvious questions about whether you have a reliable computer and internet connection and are comfortable using computers. But beyond that here are a    few: 

  • Do you need face-to-face classes with a professor and other students to stay motivated to do the work?  
  • Are you committed to getting your degree? If you can make that commitment, you can create the structures and habits that will make you successful. 
  • Do you know how you will create the structures you need to be successful? How will you schedule your time? How will you stay motivated? How will you reward yourself when you achieve goals along the way? 
  • Will you seek help when you need it? You can’t let yourself get stuck because you’re not in a classroom, there are people whose job it is to help you be successful, it just requires you to reach out to resolve whatever confusion or challenge has arisen.  

 

Q: How does Sophia support students remotely? 

A: The most important thing Sophia does to support students is to make the courses and platform easy to use and navigate. Students generally don’t need support because of the great design. For cases where students do need support, we have a dedicated learning coach team that supports students through chat, email and phone to solve whatever issue they may be having.  

 

Q: What is your favorite part about working for Sophia learning? 

A: The most fun part is definitely the research on student outcomes, it’s wonderful to see how Sophia helps students be more successful and save time and money in the process.  

In the world of education research, it’s surprisingly hard to find solutions that increase student success. But sometimes the solution is simple, if you create beautiful courses, remove barriers, and put control in the hands of the students, they can leap forward.  

Learn more about Sophia.

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ACE CREDIT vs. Accreditation: What You Need to Know

Sophia’s courses have been accepted for credit at hundreds of colleges and universities, thanks to our ACE Credit recommendation. Yet Sophia’s courses are not accredited.

So what is the difference between an ACE Credit recommendation and accreditation, and how does this affect your ability to transfer credits from Sophia to your college or university? 

The Importance of ACE Credit–Recommended Courses

The American Council on Education (“ACE”) is the major coordinating body for two- and four-year degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States. Courses and programs that receive an ACE recommendation have been evaluated by a team of subject matter experts and determined to provide a learning outcome at the collegiate level. After this review, ACE makes recommendations about the course subject, level of learning, and number of credit hours to help guide colleges and universities in their acceptance of transfer credits.

ACE may recommend any number of courses and experiences for credit. This could include workforce training, military training, missionary work, and—of course—nontraditional learning online with groups like Sophia. 

Why Accreditation Matters

We recommend students consider the accreditation status when seeking a college or university. Institutional accreditation means the school is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Individual programs at institutions may also be programmatically accredited.

Employers, other institutions (such as graduate schools), certification programs, financial lenders, and any other organization with an interest in your undergraduate degree may expect you to have attended an accredited school because this means you have received an education that meets certain quality standards.

You can check the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website for more information on your school’s accreditation status. 

So, Will Your College Accept Transfer Credits from Sophia?

Because Sophia does not offer degree programs, we are not accredited. Instead, our focus is on offering convenient, affordable, online courses that accredited colleges and universities may accept as transfer credits to help you earn your degree. 

In addition to receiving ACE Credit recommendation, our courses are all also recommended by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), an organization that evaluates distance-learning programs.

We have made every effort to ensure that your college or university may accept your Sophia courses for general education credit. However, before taking a Sophia course, it is important to check with your school registrar or advisor to confirm whether your successfully completed Sophia coursework will transfer to your school. 

If your school is one of Sophia’s 40 college and university partners, your Sophia courses will transfer automatically to your school once you’ve completed a course. You can also check to see whether your school has previously reviewed Sophia coursework for transfer on our website, though it doesn’t guarantee that they will accept credit in the future.

Learn more about Sophia and our mission to provide affordable online courses for college-level credit. 

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