At Home in an Online Program


Kathy Orton graduated in 1994 with an associate degree in business administration management right after graduating high school. After several years of gaining experience in the business world, she decided she was ready for the next step and graduated this past August with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Online Division of National College’s $$Roanoke Valley campus.


As a working mother of two young boys, Kathy understands the necessity of time management. When she found out that National was offering classes online, it fit perfectly with her schedule, making it possible for her to get her bachelor’s degree while continuing to have time for her kids and work. On top of that, her associate degree made it possible for her to graduate in just two years. 

When she began the online program, Kathy thought the online classes would be somewhat impersonal – “like you’re on your own.” But she quickly learned that wasn’t true: “Once you get in the classes you realize you have just as much support there as you do if you were [physically] in the class.”

For Kathy, the level of interaction between students and instructors online made it just as personal as her on-campus experience: “The instructors are really great, they make themselves available, they give feedback, they give comments,” she says enthusiastically. That level of communication helped maintain that one-on-one feeling with instructors while the discussion board opened up opportunities for Kathy to discuss and learn with her fellow students. “The discussion board is my favorite,” Kathy shares, “you discuss the topic you’re studying that week – you can ask questions – you can interact with the other students that are in the class.”

“The biggest difference and the best difference,” Kathy highlights regarding taking classes online versus at the campus was “having that flexibility… It’s on your time.” However, she found that with that flexibility a higher degree of self-discipline was required. “Online classes take a lot of dedication,” she shares from her experience, “you have to be intentional about your scheduling – you have to be aware of what’s being expected… It’s like a real world work experience.” She found that her classes still challenged her in their rigor and there were many nights that she and her seven year old did their homework together: “I was able to do my classwork and be there to help him with his math and spelling test,” she says with pride.

Kathy states that with the time management skills gained in taking classes online, combined with her business administration-management associate degree, her bachelor’s in accounting, and over twenty years of work experience: “I feel very confident.” Newly equipped with her second degree from National, Kathy states with assurance, “Graduating from National has prepared me more than enough.” Looking into the future she aims to move up into an accounting management position. We wish her all the best and share her confidence in her future success!

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