The Required Course Challenge

The next stumbling block on my path to a degree was the “required” courses that the University of Maryland (now UMUC Europe) demanded I take before I was eligible to graduate. I’m not talking about basic English or Math, both of which I took and passed. I have no problem with these types of requirements.

The University of Maryland had a required course on “How to Use the Library.” Remember the Dewey Decimal system? Google it and get a laugh. Of course this was in the era before the Internet and search engines. Add in the fact that the library on the military base I worked at held only a few thousand books and you can see why this was not to be a course filled with revelations.

However, the University of Maryland required this course. I’m not picking on the University of Maryland, since all universities have similar requirements. I just have the most experience with this particular university.

It was a two day course that required a weekend to complete. So you can see the material was not that tough. The problem was that the course was only offered once a quarter or less. I scheduled the course three times, each time paying the $105.00 fee, only to have to cancel due to travel for my job.

I requested a waiver for this course requirement, but it was denied.

Frustrated by this simple blocking action on the part of the University of Maryland, I once again visited my friend Tony at the Education Office. After I explained my dilemma to him, he offered this suggestion.

“Transfer your credits to The Regent’s University of the State of New York (now known as Excelsior College). They will give you full credit for your University of Maryland courses, they are accredited, and you might even get some credit for Military courses that the University of Maryland doesn’t recognize.”

Once again, Tony provided great advice. I mailed off my application, sent requests to University of Maryland to transfer my credits and waited for Regent’s to respond. A few months later, I had a package. There were a few more courses to complete and by September 1996, I had an Associate’s Degree from an accredited college.

The lesson I learned from this is:

You are the one in charge of achieving your educational goals, everyone else has an agenda.

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