What I Was Surprised to Experience in My Online MPA

Getting into a graduate program that fits your style and personality can be a long and stressful journey. Sometimes it only takes the first week of classes to realize you made the right choice. That is exactly what happened for me at Anna Maria. I knew almost instantly I chose the right school. However, now that I am halfway through my MPA, there was something I was surprised to experience and that is, the connection with professors and instructors.

You may think that online programs can be cold and/or distant. At some schools or even most schools that may in fact be true. At Anna Maria, however, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Each one of my professors and instructors so far have been readily available to help with assignments and papers, they engage in class discussion and most surprising of all they get to know you. 

At the beginning of each course, students write and post an introduction. Professors and instructors actually take time to read it and respond to it. They actually want to know the students that are in their class. I’ve had professors and instructors comment on how they’ve been to my hometown before in southern Georgia or how they also struggled calculus as an undergrad. They do read your introduction and find something you have in common to comment on so they can build a connection with you.

The introduction isn’t the only time a professor or instructor gets to know you. That connection lasts throughout the course. Emailing your professors and instructors is easy and they respond relatively quickly. The conversations via email go beyond just coursework. I did an assignment on animal shelters and public policy/public funding and the professor emailed me not to discuss my grades or the assignment but just to say how much he liked my presentation and how many pets he had. Which of course led to a conversation about our love for animals. The kind of conversation that I never expected to have with an online program.  It’s easy to get to know your professors and instructors in on campus courses, but at Anna Maria it feels equally easy to do so in an online program.

Anna Maria College provides a lot of benefits other online programs do not. The most surprising and refreshing being the connection with professors and instructors mentioned above. At Anna Maria, your learning experience and interaction with your professors and instructors doesn’t have to feel distant and cold. They will get to know you, engage with you, and help you learn and grow however they can. If you know this ahead of time, you can take advantage of this wonderful benefit as you move through your academic journey.


About the Author

Greg Jones

I am an online MPA student close to finishing my first year at Anna Maria. I love everything about my Anna Maria experience. Anna Maria makes learning at the graduate level challenging but very enjoyable. Outside of school I am a big sports fan, movie watcher, and "foodie"!