Norman Ramdohr wants to be in the driver’s seat of his future.
After years of fine-tuning vehicles for others, the Audi technician says he’s ready to make a change and put his skills to use at a more advanced level. Now, he’s using the competency-based education offered by the University of Wisconsin Flexible Option to jump-start the future he wants.
“I have more to give,” Ramdohr says. “So often these days, you really need to have something to show as far as a degree is concerned. It’s not just enough to have skills. Going back to school was about combining my love of learning and wanting to do more with my abilities.”
Waiting for ‘the one’
Ramdohr, who received a degree in automotive technology from Wyo Tech (in Wyoming), started the online Associate of Arts and Science program through Flex in February with hopes of completing in early 2016. While Ramdohr considered several education programs over the years, funding and flexibility often became an issue.
“Going back to school was about combining my love of learning and wanting to do more with my abilities.”
“I’ve been looking at going back to college for quite a while. I actually applied and was accepted into the engineering program at UW-Madison in 2010. However, financially that was going to be difficult to manage,” Ramdohr notes. “I investigated other national online universities, but just never found a structure that made me feel comfortable.”
But when he saw an online ad for Flex competency-based education programs last year, his dream of working toward an advanced, specialized degree suddenly became a real possibility.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity. Education has been going online for a while, but I’ve been waiting for the bigger schools to put the right program and format online,” Ramdohr says. “Flex fits what I need right now.”
Get a UW Flexible Option Degree Guide
Download an introductory guide (PDF) to the self-paced, competency-based UW Flexible Option programs, including details about costs, admission requirements, and more.
Convenience and flexibility of online, competency-based education
The married father of two says flexibility, affordability, and control over his academic schedule all played a key role in his decision to pursue his degree through Flex.
“I don’t have to miss any of the kids’ soccer games, and you can’t put a price on that.”
“The flexibility of this program helps tremendously,” says Ramdohr. “The ability to take tests when I want is huge, along with the time I save by not having to commute. With work and family at home, it makes a world of difference.”
Ramdohr says he also needed a program that was efficient, allowing him to work through assignments that mattered, without getting bogged down with irrelevant material.
“It’s nice to be able to carve out two hours of study time whenever I want, instead of having to attend a webinar in the middle of the day. With the Flexible Option, I can find the pockets of time that are convenient for me. This allows me to be really efficient at work, and really efficient in my studies. Most importantly, I don’t have to miss any of the kids’ soccer games, and you can’t put a price on that.”
Ramdohr says he’s not only enjoyed the variety of courses he’s taken — including algebra, anthropology, nutrition, and sociology — he says he’s walking away from each competency with a new set of skills and even greater knowledge.
“I have learned so much,” Ramdohr notes. “Studying things like nutrition has been an interesting challenge mostly because it requires a lot of case studies and dedication to research the right information. Those skills, in the long term, are great because you learn to retain critical information.”
Ramdohr notes while he’s independent and enjoys the ability to set his own study schedule, having the support of an Academic Success Coach was a benefit he hadn’t anticipated.
“This is about creating a path for some new options. It’s about learning new skills and expanding my current ones.”
“I love having the coaches as a reference. I feel like that’s support you might not receive in a traditional setting,” Ramdohr says. “Having someone that you can contact at any time makes a huge difference. The dedication of everyone, from the coaches to the staff, to faculty, is amazing. It means a lot to students.”
A solid academic foundation for his dream career
Ramdorh says he hopes his associate degree through Flex will help him transfer into another University of Wisconsin program eventually. He’s considering engineering, architecture, or even anthropology. But no matter which path he chooses, he is confident he’s building the foundation through Flex to open doors both professionally and personally.
“This is about creating a path for some new options. It’s about learning new skills and expanding my current ones,” Ramdohr says. “It brings me closer to deciding on a new field that I can specialize in through a four-year degree down the road. I’m committed to this program.”
To find out more about the UW Flexible Option and whether this competency-based education option is a good fit for you, call a friendly enrollment adviser today at 1-877-895-3276.
More student stories
How One Ambitious Student Saved $7,500 and Nine Months in His Very First UW Flexible Option Subscription Period
Busy IT Specialist and Bass Player Still Finds Time to Earn His Bachelor’s in Information Science and Technology Degree