Since graduating from high school and throughout his career with Verizon, Lawrence (Larry) O’Neill ’14 took college courses intermittently, picking up credits here and there. He amassed 65-70 credits along the way, but without working towards a particular major.
Shortly after his father’s death four years ago, Larry decided to return to school.
“When I was looking at programs, Pace was one of the best, most reputable institutions that offered this type of structured, online degree completion program. I contacted online programs at other universities, but they weren’t designed like iPace,” he recalls. “Other programs were more specific about the courses you had to take, but also let you take courses at your own speed. iPace was very structured, and I needed that.”
“They held my hand,” he continues. “They saw that I had a lot of real-world experience and credits, and they helped me get on track with the program. It was all very student friendly.”
Larry, who was promoted to Director of New Market Development at Verizon Partner Solutions two months after receiving his BBA, took two 12-week classes for three semesters annually for three years with iPace.
“I found it great to take a class, learn something new, and then see it in action at work the next week,” he notes. “That kept my interest and prompted me to stay in the program.”
He strongly believes that what sets iPace apart from other programs is the accessibility of the administrators.
“They were open to criticism and direction, and they also gave good advice,” he explains. “As an online student, you need reassurance. Pace did that more than any institution I where I had previously taken classes. They also leveraged their ongoing experience in online learning with the National Coalition for Telecommunications Education & Learning (NACTEL).”
What is the key to successfully completing an online course?
“Communication, communication, communication. The hardest thing with online learning is the interaction. You have to keep communicating. It’s the hardest part to get right, yet it’s also the simplest thing to do. As long as you can communicate rapidly with a professor and he/she is responsive, even the class size is irrelevant.”
Larry says he would happily take the iPace program all over again.
“When I finished the program,” he laughs, “I actually asked when they were starting a Master’s program.”