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!”
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