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With an online school like Ashworth College, one of the biggest questions potential students have is whether or not they’ll be missing out on a “traditional” college experience. Though there’s no campus or in-person classes, Ashworth College’s Student Community provides a virtual hangout for students to socialize and connect, regardless of location. Community Manager, Shawn Bryant, shares what the community is all about.
The Ashworth Community is a platform where students can go to engage with other students, be able to get assistance with their current programs, and communicate with their peers. It’s a gateway you can turn to where you can talk with other students when you’re stressed and need to get away from your studies. I think this is extremely important in an online school simply because students miss the whole brick-and-mortar, going to classes, being able to speak to friends before classes start, things of that nature. It’s one of those platforms that gives students the opportunity to be themselves, get into specific groups, find common ground, and help push each other to be successful in their particular programs.
With Ashworth College, when you enroll you’re automatically signed up for the Community. So, you are automatically registered and there’s no information you need to put in.
We have so many specific groups, it varies. It can be from career-focused, collegiate, career services, and business. We also have criminal justice and education groups. We even have entertainment. So anytime you’re feeling bogged down with anything you’re working on, you can hop onto the Community, click on that group, and start a conversation.
The most popular is the welcome group, simply because a lot of our new students are directed to our welcome platform where they introduce themselves and try to reach out to students that are taking a similar program and get properly introduced.
I think one of the things is knowing that you’re not alone. You’re literally at home, on your computer, by yourself. You can take the program with you wherever you go, but you’re still alone, unlike in a brick-and-mortar school. By signing into the Community and speaking to other students who are going through what you’re going through, you can help each other achieve a common goal. Everyone wants to graduate. It’s very beneficial to have it. It’s not mandatory, but a lot who come across the Community are elated to have found a spot to connect.
They’re extremely open. They’re just starting the program and they’re letting you know “Hey, I had to drop out of school due to personal problems,” or “I had to take care of my sick dad,” or “I lost a loved one.” They’re very vulnerable and open with exactly why this is their second time around and they’re doing it for themselves. A lot of students gravitate to that and it's a trickle-down effect, so now everyone is open with why they’re here and what their experiences are.
My role is to oversee, make sure everyone is following the appropriate formats, rules, and guidelines. Secondly, to help keep conversations going. But mainly, to offer support to our students. Most importantly, I believe, is letting them know I'm here to give assistance when needed. I’m also here anytime our students have down time, up moments, to give them a pat on the back and let them know they can achieve their dreams or overcome obstacles. Everyone has a story and they’re trying to go back to rewrite that story, and I just like to be there to help them.
My favorite aspect is that I have the opportunity to be that person for so many different students, to encourage them to achieve their goals. There's nothing more rewarding than being able to be that person to help someone else achieve what they’re trying to do or assisting someone in reaching their own goal. It’s gratifying; it’s a warming sensation to help someone be better. Like I said before, everyone has a story; maybe they’re just trying to get their life together, but everyone needs that one person. If you can do that for someone, it changes so much. I see that by commenting “good job,”, “you’re almost there,” or just “I see you.” Just the number of responses I get for those simple statements lets you know that it's deeper than being online, taking courses. They really need someone offering that encouragement or yearning for validation. If I can be that person, why not? It makes me feel good.
If you’d like to learn more about Ashworth College’s online, self-paced programs and student community, contact an Admissions Advisor at or enroll online to get started.