The Penn State World Campus Admissions team held a question-and-answer–style webinar for prospective students to connect with our Alumni Ambassadors. These ambassadors serve a critical role by sharing their first-hand experiences as recent graduates for those who are considering applying to a degree program. Following are some of the questions asked at the webinar — and responses from one of our ambassadors, Heather Mitterer, about her experiences as an online learner.
Topic: Admissions Process
What attracted you to Penn State World Campus and online learning?
I’m an adult learner and have worked in the manufacturing industry for 10–15 years. I needed a flexible curriculum for my busy life. I chose Penn State because it is a respected university, and I was impressed that a Penn State World Campus student would obtain the same degree as a student on campus.
Did you have previous experience with online learning and how did Penn State compare?
I earned my associate degree online at a local community college, so I have extensive experience in the online learning environment. I felt that Penn State’s online setup was comprehensive and user-friendly, offering engaging discussions and group projects.
Topic: Involvement Opportunities
How was your interaction with professors and other students?
In my opinion, you’re going to get out of online learning what you put into it. It is important to step out of your comfort zone and make connections in the online environment. If you’re in a discussion room and you find someone who has a mindset or goals similar to yours, reach out to that person. Some of my greatest friends and colleagues have come from interactions in the classroom. I even found some people in class who live down the street from me! My peers have also told me that they had similar experiences from making the smallest effort to form connections. With professors, look at them as professionals in the area you are interested in. If you want input on your career goals, ask them for their opinion and guidance. They are happy to help.
Did you find it easy to get involved as a Penn State World Campus student?
I did. I was invited to participate in the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, which was a wonderful surprise. I also worked with the Career Services team, and they helped provide a fresh set of eyes on my résumé while also providing some great job search options.
Tell us more about your experience with Penn State World Campus Career Services.
I scheduled an appointment with a career counselor, and she reviewed my résumé point by point. She provided a highly observant second set of eyes for my outdated job search documents.
She offered recommendations on setting up my LinkedIn page and key points to think about with my professional contacts. She guided me through both an online career fair and the on-campus recruitment process and showed me how to log in to the job search system (as a student and alum) to view all opportunities and resource connections.
I cannot say enough about this process. As an adult student, I felt that I had a good grasp of my résumé and social media approach to job searching, but her insight presented a fresh opinion on things to think about and adjust. She took her time with me and really cared about helping me.
Heather Mitterer is a 2014 Penn State World Campus graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and a Minor in Psychology. She lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with her husband.