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My Top Five Takeaways from My Online Master’s Experience

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

It's official, I'm...

Lindley Loraine Gallegos, M.Ed.

I've been MIA the last month because I've been finishing my final semester in grad school. I am so thankful to have been a part of the M.Ed. (Masters in Higher Education) program at Penn State World Campus. I loved pursing my education while being able to travel the globe and work simultaneously. Online schooling was different than I imagined, and in a good way. I started this program in May 2017, and I am finally done, two years later.


My Top 5 Takeaways

1. Awesome Collaboration Tools and Digital Presence Experience

I learned lots of new tools for connecting with people virtually, different programs like Skype for Business and Zoom that make interactions easy over the web. I feel confident giving presentations from a remote location and I am confident over a video chat, and I can’t say that I was before. As the world becomes more digital, these are invaluable skills.

2. Specialized Knowledge | Deeper Knowledge of Different Types of Institutions

I knew a lot about my small public liberal arts institution since I was the student body president there, but now I am familiar with the inner workings of many different kind of institutions like large public land grant institutions, community colleges and private colleges. The beauty of a masters degree is that deep exploration of a topic that interests you. Now, more than ever, I am fascinated with higher education. Especially, being in Denmark, because here higher education is free and students actually get paid to go to school.

3. Connections All Over the World | Increased Professional Network

I went to school in Colorado, and worked in Colorado. In my program I met people in my field from all over the world, and I actually now have a lot of connections in the Eastern US where my program was based. Having colleagues in your field is great! It is always nice to be able to bounce ideas off of others and find support through similar experiences. I intend to keep in touch with those I’ve grown close to and hopefully continue to network and maybe work with them in the future.

4. Perspective Shift

This program has opened my eyes to jobs and opportunities I would have never thought of or encountered on my own. And learning on your own without the support of physical classroom really makes you research and dig deep. An online program provides lots of quiet time for self-reflection and reflection as a whole. I have really adopted the theme of life-long learning while on this journey.

5. Self-Efficacy and Discipline

The whole time I was taking classes online I was working, and I am passionate about working out and work-life balance. Being able get classwork turned in and keep your regular life on track presents a challenge. This program has given me strong time management skills. And by self-efficacy, I mean that now I am confident in asking for and demanding things I need. Women in general I think, are less likely to demand things they need in life—be it time, space or encouragement. And this program has introduced me to some very powerful and inspiring women. Sometimes, you have to advocate on your behalf. A bible verse my mother often quoted:

Mathew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Sometimes life is as simple as just asking. Don’t forget to ask the important questions! If you never ask you’ll never know.


For my final project I wrote a scholarly paper that took a close look at affirmative action in the college admissions process. I made a case for using race in admissions, and took a look at race-neutral alternatives. Diversity is so important, and the US is on track to be majority minority by 2042, so buckle up people! The world is changing, and our educators need to support policy that supports the people. See my paper below.

[embeddoc url="" download="all" viewer="google" ]

[ photos by the incredible Kyle Niemtschk! ]


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