"When I looked at online programs, the U of A was hands-down the best 100 percent-online degree program for me."
Carlin Beiler understands the importance of time. Time spent at work and in school are valuable, but the time spent with his family is the most important of all.
“Someday my homework will be finished and my job will be less of a necessity, but my children will then be older,” Beiler said. “Time will not wait. They truly are more important to me than any of the other things I am involved in.”
Beiler, 37, supports his family by working a part-time accounting job at a nursing home while he earns an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting degree at the University of Arkansas. After he graduates in spring 2022, Beiler plans to study for the Certified Public Accountant exam.
The online program at the University of Arkansas gives Beiler the flexibility to study wherever and whenever his schedule allows, leaving him time for family, work and running.
“My preference would have been to be in the classroom, but I just did not see that working for me,” Beiler said. “When I looked at online programs, the U of A was hands-down the best 100 percent-online degree program for me.”
Online access to university services such as the Mullins Library and learning resources for those taking degrees through the Sam M. Walton College of Business help Beiler to complete assignments. Despite an initial reluctance to pursue an online degree, Beiler is now thankful that he chose to study online, which lets him devote more time to his wife and children.
The first in his family to get a college degree, Beiler found financial aid opportunities available through the Financial Aid Office at the University of Arkansas, applying grants and scholarships to help pay for his online education. These included the Pell Grant and a transfer scholarship in 2020.
“The U of A has some amazing financial aid resources,” he said. “It’s been very helpful and has exceeded my expectations.”
Beiler advises all students in an online degree program to stay connected to their instructors and fellow students using email, Blackboard’s group features, and apps such as GroupMe and Zoom. He checks his messages and monitors his course calendars daily in order to stay on top, he said.
“Utilizing online communications, email in particular, as well as tracking due dates are the two main factors of studying in an online program,” Beiler said. “Keeping on top of assignments, prioritizing them in order of due dates, and staying in touch with professors are key ingredients to being successful with an online degree.”
Another goal for Beiler, an avid runner, is to finish a full marathon, he said. Educational goals are like running.
“I plan to push towards my goals for the future by continuing my education, making my family a priority, and keeping on running,” he said. “Real change only happens one step at a time. Usually the quick fixes are not the lasting fixes. Lasting change is not a fifty-yard sprint; it is a marathon.”
Beiler was one of 25 people to receive the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship for online U of A students for the 2021-2022 academic year.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to receive this scholarship,” he said. “It is a big financial lift towards helping me graduate and focus on my school instead of work.”