Student Spotlight: Sawyer Gould, Penn –

Sawyer Gould, 26, is a project manager for Wells Fargo and is admittedly very engaged in his career. He completed a semester at The University of Iowa, and two semesters each at Moberly Area Community College and Des Moines Area Community College before enrolling in Penn Foster College.

Gould is married and credits his wife Lisa as well as well as his family for his professional and academic success. Gould has already completed his undergraduate certificate in business management from Penn Foster and is currently six weeks from completing his associate degree in business management. He then plans on pursuing his bachelor’s in business management, with expected completion to be the end of 2013.

What made you choose this particular school?

Gould: “Their affordability, but primarily their self-paced study approach. I am able to execute my studies on my time, which is the most important to me. Also, classes that are easier for me can be completed quicker than a traditional 8- or 16-week school/class.”

How did you decide on your field of study?

Gould: “Business has always been an interest of mine. My career with Wells Fargo showed that I am capable of being successful, but I needed the education to advance further.”

What made you choose online education?

Gould: “Convenience. I needed something that was realistic, and with a busy life I was not able to commit to attending an in-class program. We also own a photography company, so our evenings and weekends are already consumed.”

How do you balance your course load with your other obligations?

Gould: “I have to consistently assess my current workload and priorities against how I am doing. Regularly I find that I have more on my plate than I can execute on, so I have to set priorities. Each week I set goals of completing certain exams on certain days, and even have to schedule time slots to get this done.”

Tell me about your online peer group.

Gould: “I don’t personally know my classmates; however, the school goes to great measures to provide their online student community a chance to get to know other classmates and the staff. I simply just haven’t had the time to pursue that enough to ‘know’ my classmates, per se.”

What do you hope to do with your degree upon completion of the program?

Gould: “I hope to continue on to receive my MBA through the University of Iowa. Eventually, I would love to have my PhD. I want to hold a position with Wells Fargo that brings honor to myself and my family. I plan on using my education to open up additional opportunities that may not have been available previously.”

What advice would you offer other students who might be considering online education?

Gould: “Do your research. Everyone has their own learning style. Everyone also has their own topics that are important to them. Cost may not be a problem for some where time may not be for others. Each school and program type has its own features and benefits. Penn Foster’s primary benefit is the ability to pursue school on your own time and at a low cost.”

Follow Valerie Jones on Twitter @ValerieJonesCMN