Military Mom Chose eVersity for Flexibility

Stephanie Bates

As an 18-year veteran of the United States Air Force and Air National Guard and a mother of three, Stephanie Bates’ schedule is hectic. In fact, keeping up with her many responsibilities made it next to impossible for her to finish her degree.

“I went through several universities as a traditional student,” she said. “That just didn’t work out with my schedule and my family.” Determined to finish, Bates discovered eVersity online and liked what she saw. It didn’t take long to realize that Arkansas’ first 100 percent-online university was just what she was looking for to fit her needs.

“The flexibility was a big thing,” she said. “While I’m sitting at football practice, I can have my laptop and be doing homework and doing assignments. I could go home, fix dinner and go onto my computer. So I was pretty excited to be a full-time student, and I was eager and dedicated to do that.” The structure of the curriculum was beneficial to the busy mom, who is a paraprofessional in the local Morrilton elementary school.

“I think what helped me was, no matter which class you’re taking, all the assignments were due on a specific day. You can adjust your schedule to get those assignments done,” she said. “No matter what, you knew that your discussion was due on Tuesday and you have to reply by Thursday and your midweek was due on Wednesday. I liked how it was all organized and orderly. It was also very helpful to me with family and work and all that, to just have to get one thing done and only have to focus on one class at a time.”

Bates also found eVersity faculty and staff to be very accommodating to special circumstances. As a member of the Air National Guard, she’s required to report for duty one weekend per month and then two weeks in the summer, something that could have derailed her efforts altogether at any other campus. “The teachers were great, it was easy to get ahold of them,” she said. “In my case, I had drill or my summer duty, they were willing to work with me.” While it wasn’t that difficult to shift into student mode, Bates said it does take discipline and commitment to complete the work on time, particularly in a busy family. In the two short years it took her to earn her associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, it came with some sacrifice.

“Especially in the summer, it’s kind of challenging. You just have to say, ‘Sorry kids,’” she said. “I was determined this time, to be honest. It was a goal. I was dedicated and driven.”