Graduate Office. (Image courtesy: Katelyn Nicholas)

Madailein Lindsay graduated from SNHU in 2022. She is now enrolled in the master’s program at SNHU and will complete her requirements during the last week of August 2023.

Lindsay chose to go to SNHU for the master’s program because she found an education plan that aligned with her desired start and end times. It was recommended to her by a dean in the field of her major, education, because it worked for her plan of a 5-year program.

“I chose to do my graduate program through SNHU years prior,” said Lindsay. “When selecting a college to go to right out of high school, I was hoping to attend a school that had a 5-year master’s program for education. SNHU did not offer this, but instead, the dean of the School of Education at the time, Cathy Stavenger, introduced me to an alternative path to take: finish my undergraduate degree in three years, and immediately enroll in the Clinical MEd program to earn a master’s degree in less than four and a half years.”

Lindsay’s program is accelerated, but affordable. It’s unique to her, and Lindsay got the opportunity to complete her bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree in a shorter span of time.

“I finished my undergraduate degree in three years by working towards and earning a degree in General Education, rather than Elementary Education. Overall, I chose this program because of the unique opportunity it gave me to complete both a bachelor’s degree and graduate’s degree in such a short span of time. It was also a very affordable schooling option for me, as I am paying for my schooling on my own,” said Lindsay.

Compared to undergrad life, there is less time for downtime and leisure during a master’s degree; but due to the accelerated nature of the course Lindsay chose, it is expected to have more work.

“My undergraduate [degree] had a lot of time available for leisure, whereas right now, I feel as though I have no free time,” said Lindsay. “Due to the uniqueness of the program I am completing right now, the majority of my time during the day is spent at my field placement in an elementary school. These differences are nothing not to be expected considering the difference between the programs and the intensity of the accelerated graduate program that I am completing. Regardless of these differences, my experience as a graduate student has been an overall pleasant one. Through this program, I have been able to make several professional connections in my field, and I have learned an immense amount.”

Compared to the undergrad workload, it is more work because it is more immersive in the classroom.

“My course load has definitely gotten heavier now that I am a graduate student, but again, this is to be expected, not only because this is a secondary degree, but also because the program I am enrolled in is accelerated,” said Lindsay. “I have been immersed in the classroom community so much that I have taken on a load of work done throughout the school day for the students. This is exactly the experience I was hoping for, so although it is a lot of work, it is most definitely worth my time to be able to learn as much as I am.”

Lindsay doesn’t feel as connected to the SNHU campus community compared to undergraduates due to the workload of being a grad student.

“Because this program is accelerated and asks so much of the students in it, I do not feel connected to the SNHU environment. I know that the same campus events, experiences, and opportunities exist for graduate students, but I have been so busy I have not been able to attend or take advantage of any of these.”

Undergrad life compared to graduate life is different for Lindsay.

“I think the biggest difference between my experience as an undergraduate and a graduate student here at SNHU is the social aspect of school,” said Lindsay. “While earning my undergraduate degree, I had a lot more time to spend with friends and to join in on activities and events on campus.”

Lindsay’s favorite part about being a graduate student is the experience. The program offers connections at a student-to-student level and a student-to-education level.

“My favorite part of being a graduate student here has been the amount of experience I have been able to gain. SNHU has some amazing connections with different schools in the area, and I have built so many professional relationships,” said Lindsay. “I also enjoy how my program is built in a cohort model, so I have been able to connect with the other students in my program on a different level since we are all going through the stress and experience together.”

The master’s program also offered her the opportunity to work at a school. Being an education major, it helped further her connections within the educational field on a personal and professional level.

“The school I’m working at, which was assigned to me through this program, has given me so many amazing opportunities to teach and learn, and I have enjoyed working with every teacher I have met so far. The community that is built within this tiny program honestly warms my heart,” said Lindsay.

Hannah Robitaille (’23), is starting her master’s program in higher education administration and expects to graduate in 2025. She plans on doing an online higher education administration program and hopes to get an on-campus graduate assistantship.

Robitaille wanted to go to SNHU for her master’s program because she calls SNHU home. Having completed all four years of her undergrad at SNHU, it was a no-brainer to choose SNHU to continue her education.

“SNHU has been my home for the past four years, and it is the only place I can imagine doing any more of my schooling. The passion I have for my major, I found at this school and I couldn’t think of a more perfect team of staff and teachers to help me move on to the next stage,” said Robitaille.

Robitaille also discussed her fears, as well as what she is excited about for the start of her graduate year.

“I am most excited to really get to dive into the things that I am truly interested in and passionate about. I went through most of my bachelors not really knowing the route I wanted to take, and being uninterested in most topics. I am [looking forward] to [being] excited about the content I will be learning,” said Robitaille. “I am terrified of failing. I am scared for the idea of self-accountability and making sure I stay on top of my work.”

Robitaille heard good things about the master’s program at SNHU, but also knows of some requirements that will challenge her academically.

“I have heard many different things about the graduate programs at school. Mostly good things, but some specifics are that it is challenging in a good way. The professors do their best to prepare you for the field you are looking to go into,” said Robitaille.

To learn more about the master’s program, students can talk to their advisor about the options that work best with their major and educational future.