Michael Chiappetta, BAS, Spring 2012

Michael Chiappetta was determined to get a bachelor's degree after completing an associate's degree from Triton College in River Grove, Illinois. But if not for his fiancée, Jen Broeker (2007 UI graduate), he might not have considered the University of Iowa for his online Bachelor of Applied Studies degree (BAS). "Jen was the one who nudged me in the general direction of the University of Iowa. Good choice."

"My goal was to finish my undergraduate degree. Once I realized the path I needed to take and the work needed to get to the end, there was no other goal. I chose the BAS program because I felt it best suited my interests and would allow me to prosper."

Many students credit the flexibility found in online courses as a success factor for them, and Michael would agree. "Flexibility was key. I did not have to put everything else on hold to return to school. I was able to cater courses to my needs and timetable to make it work out for me." Michael sometimes found the lack of an actual classroom of students to bond with challenging, but enjoyed courses that allowed him to voice his opinion. "Having a voice helped me get my point across and getting positive and negative feedback from professors helped me get better with each assignment. All courses were challenging; it was my chance to make the best of the experience."

Currently Michael is working as a financial advisor in Chicago. In the future, he hopes to either grow his own practice within the financial services industry or transition into a management role. "I feel like I have completed a milestone I should have completed years ago and now, I can hopefully parlay this degree into a rewarding career. Far too often my resume had been dismissed, regardless of experience, because I did not have the core educational background. Now I hope this won't be a problem."

"Taking fifteen credit hours a semester, whether in the classroom or online is challenging and time-consuming." So Michael has these words of advice for future online working students, "Study. There are fewer assignments and they are heavily weighted. Also stay on track. It is easy to fall behind, so it is important to stay focused. I feel my time management got better every semester. I paced myself and the coursework, and perfected it at the end."

"Now that I am done, I can keep going. But now I have a very important piece of the puzzle: one that was not there before."

Goal obtained for Michael Chiappetta, UI graduate 2012.