Everyone has their own story and their own path to completing their college degree.
Like many students in the Bachelor of Professional Studies program, this was not Shain Vogelsong’s first attempt at college. He attended college in Ohio after graduating from high school, and again when he moved to Washington, D.C.
When he moved to Charleston, he decided he wanted to earn his college degree.
“Part of what I was looking for and hoping for, but also extremely nervous about identifying, was a school that would help push me through the program,” Vogelsong said.
After a lot of research, he landed on the College of Charleston.
College is an investment of both time and money, and he knew he wanted an institution that could provide the support he needed.
“By a beautiful chance – and that’s what I call it – I stumbled upon the Bachelor of Professional Studies.”
He started his journey with the College by reaching out to Carla Stewart, Director of Student Support Services. The two met and worked out an academic plan that fit with Vogelsong’s goals and schedule.
It isn’t just Stewart’s support that helped Vogelsong on his journey. He also has the support of his professors.
As an example, Vogelsong offers his recent success in a Quality Management course.
“I had no idea what was going on. It was confusing, but the professor gave me feedback every time I took a quiz or submitted a paper. He asked, ‘What can I do to help you understand this? How can we get through this together?’,” Vogelsong said.
Vogelsong has a theory that because many of the professors are industry leaders, they have an added interest in the success of their students.
“Maybe some of them see it as cultivating the next group of talent that’s going to come in and be on their team or work alongside them in Charleston. I get a sense of ownership from them,” he said.
The Bachelor of Professional Studies program has six concentrations, and Vogelsong is in the Project Management concentration.
When he moved to Washington, D.C. he began to manage projects and communicate with vendors and clients in the interior design industry. When he moved to Charleston, he landed a job at Greystar. As he was researching colleges and developing professionally, his coworkers helped him discover project management.
In addition to the practical skills learned in the BPS program, it is still a liberal arts degree with significant liberal arts general education requirements.
“I think that with a liberal arts background and the requirements that CofC has with the humanities and sciences and math (he groans) it makes us more cultured and open-minded, even if you haven’t been able to travel and see diversity at its best,” he said.
In fact, one of his favorite classes was Geology.
Of course, he also enjoys his project management courses. These core courses, which are offered all online or Live Online, are convenient for Vogelsong.
“I like the online environment because it is difficult. It’s on you. The support is there, whether it is from the counselors, professors, or other students, and all the tools are in place to communicate, but you have to have the discipline factor. You have to be ready,” Vogelsong said.
He admits that the online environment might scare some people, but he thinks of it as a great way to grow. It presents several challenges and opportunities for personal development like internet etiquette.
“You need to make sure that what you are conveying online is not confusing or coming off abrasive,” he said.
But despite the required discipline, an online learning environment allows a certain level of flexibility.
“I want to go home, get my night stuff done, get ready for the next day, and then start my class,” he said.
The flexibility allows Vogelsong to be successful. At the same time, he still feels a connection to the courses because of the electronic dialogue.
“With a discussion board, you really have to think about how you want to respond to the question. I think that also builds that professional skill of using good language and communicating effectively. It’s developmental,” he said.
Vogelsong is on his way to completing his degree. He started his college experience in 2017 and plans to graduate next Spring.
“Getting through this math is a big milestone for me. I think some people might be ashamed of it, but I’m not. Everyone comes from a different background and has a different experience. If you fly through a math class in eight weeks and get an A, or finish it freshman year, that’s your story. Mine is a little more complicated, but it’s mine.”