Starting an online degree program requires a leap of faith.

It's challenging to balance work and family obligations while completing class assignments.

It may also be somewhat intimidating because of the unknown: Is it really possible to earn a degree while on active duty in the military? Will professors understand when I have to tend to an aging parent or sick child? Will I find support when life throws me a curve ball?

The answer is a resounding yes!

But don't take our word for it.

Here are some thoughts from a few students and recent graduates about their online experience at Saint Leo University – and how faculty and staff were instrumental to their success.

How Saint Leo people make a difference

1. "Faculty have been very helpful. You can email, call, or communicate face-to-face online. They're good at understanding and at cheerleading. They realize it's tough, and we have lives outside of school. They're very encouraging."
— Sherri McCann, alumna, online master of social work program

2. "It's been a place where I wasn't allowed to maintain thinking I had to quit (to take care of medical issues for my sons and me.) My professors always said, 'Stick with it, we'll figure it out.' They would ask, 'What do we need to do to support you, to get you through the end of the semester?' I never received that kind of support from any other institution. The faculty, my peers, my advisor—I can't speak highly enough of the support I've gotten from all sides."
— Anissa McLaurin, student, online sociology degree program

3. "I've enjoyed the professors. They really work with you."
— Robin Meade, student, online psychology degree program

4. "Every instructor I have contacted during my studies has been eager to help and has provided great feedback."
— Donna Levine, student, online criminal justice degree program

5. "The staff and professors are very supportive. They want to see you succeed."
— Michelle Chapelle, alumna, online master of social work program

6. "The faculty were tremendous. They always made themselves available and upheld the university's core values."
— Brian McNulty, alumnus, online master's in criminal justice with critical incident management specialization

7. "They take the extra time to talk to you and assist you, and are very flexible with helping you grow anyway you want to. I've had good conversations with professors before and after class about my goals and passions and how I can reach those. They've given me a lot of helpful suggestions and advice."
— Lauren Sentovich, student, online master of social work program

8. "Every instructor I've had has been very supportive and made sure that if you had questions, they were available. The support through the school and the other students has helped."
— Rebecca Price, alumna, online psychology degree program

9. "I have used the essay tutor service many times to improve my writing assignments."
— Christine Lenkiewicz, student, online psychology degree program

10. "The professors were all very experienced. I took three courses with a professor who was a former FBI agent, did security at the Super Bowl in Miami, and started as a local law enforcement officer at the county, then state level, then federal level. When I read his bio and the things he'd done, I was impressed. The teachers had all the qualifications needed to teach not only out of the textbook, but they had the practical experience out there in the real world."
— Rene Ortiz, alumnus, online master's in critical incident management program

11. "I had a great experience as an undergraduate student. The staff and faculty at Saint Leo are definitely military friendly…my advisor was always there, checking in on me. We formed a real friendship. I could call him up any time I needed him."
— Tito Williams, alumnus, online master of social work program

12. "(My advisor) – thank the Lord for her – went through all the classes I needed with me and got every syllabus so we could determine what I could manage. When I was in the hospital and couldn't get hold of my professors, she would contact them for me. She always let them know at the start of the semester what I was dealing with. Without her, there was no way I would have continued."
— Kim Jackson, alumna, online accounting degree program

13. "The instructors are involved; they always get back to you quickly."
— Danielle Bunin, alumna, online psychology degree program

14. "I recall one occasion where I was being flown to three other sites for mission-specific events. I brought this to the attention of my instructors who were more than accommodating…All of them made me think a lot; you did not get away with just answering questions at this university. Your answer could have been quite correct, but they would poke at your answers and make you support them."
— Olan Tiangco, alumnus, online criminal justice degree program

15. "When I started the program, my first academic advisor energized me and kept my spirits up. And my latest advisor helped me to finish strong."
— Chukwudi Achonwa, alumnus, online business administration-accounting degree program

16. "From the beginning, I could tell she (my advisor) really cared about my academic journey. She went beyond anything I could have expected."
— Miles Surdi, alumnus, online accounting degree program

17. "My Saint Leo instructors and academic advisor, whom I never met in person, gave me strength, encouragement and warmth through that struggling period of my life. I will never forget how much they've helped me."
— John Sinclair, alumnus, online psychology degree program

18. "I was very fortunate to have been assigned to the most inspiring instructors and two wonderful advisors. I've learned from the best, and they have all played an intricate role in making sure that I reached my academic goals, and I did!"
— Iris Haile, alumna, online psychology degree program

19. "The faculty was totally amazing. I cannot thank my instructors enough for the countless times they encouraged me. I felt like Saint Leo was not just a university but a family."
— Melinda Griffin Berryman, alumna, online criminal justice-criminalistics degree program

20. "I also really appreciated that Saint Leo has such high respect for the military and really works to make it easy for servicemen and women to go to school. As a vet, that means a lot to me." – Mike Fritz, online criminal justice program
— Mike Fritz, student, online criminal justice degree program

21. "The professor for my MBA 599 Strategic Management course was outstanding, offering support with the expectation of the student submitting a final product worthy of an individual with an MBA."
— Ken McLain, online MBA degree program

Free e-books about online learning

Think an online degree program might be for you?

Check out these two e-books from Saint Leo: "Choosing An Online Degree Program" and "Are You Ready for Online Learning." They're free and you can download them right now!

Are you a Saint Leo online student or grad? Tell us what you think of faculty and staff in the comments below!

Other posts you may be interested in reading:

Choosing An Online Degree Program

Working Moms Achieve College Success Through Online Degree Programs

Soldier Begins Online Degree Program While Deployed In Afghanistan

Don't Enroll In An Online Degree Program Until You Answer These 5 Questions

Image credit: Cranach on