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Alumni Spotlight: ToieLynn Smith '15

​​​​​​​​​​​​CMU Undergraduate Alumna ToieLynn Smith

​Name: ToieLynn Smith
Graduation Year: 2015
Program: Bachelor of Science degree with an Option in Community Development and concentration in Community Services
Location(s): Southfield, MI & Online

Why did you choose Central Michigan University’s Global Campus and your specific program of study?

I chose CMU's Global Campus because it allowed me the flexibility I needed to continue my education while also being a full-time mom and having a full-time job. I could literally do my homework in the middle of the night or even while on vacation. As long as I had a laptop and an internet connection, nothing could stop me. I also chose CMU's Global Campus because of the ease in which I was able to obtain information while deciding to go back to school. From the first day I called to ask "Where do I start?," everyone was so helpful without being pushy and overbearing.

Please describe your overall experience at CMU’s Global Campus.

My overall experience at CMU was amazing. In short, before exploring the opportunities at CMU's Global Campus I had been on a 17-year hiatus from school, (Yes, 17 years). I had children, I worked and life just happened. Needless to say after being out of the school arena for so long I was very apprehensive and quite intimidated by the thought of returning to complete my degree. I started slowly by taking one online course, by the second week I wish I had taken two. The layout of the online courses was so well orchestrated and organized that it made achieving my goals very attainable. I continued through to the end with only taking a brief break after learning my dad had lung cancer and him passing away within a 3-week period. All of my professors were accessible and really committed to making sure they provided students with the tools needed to succeed.

What CMU resources did you find helpful?

My academic advisor was a very useful and necessary source to ensure that I was on track with my program plan. The instructors were the nucleus that kept me going by providing prompt feedback and assistance when needed. The Southfield Center staff were my favorite. I could go to them with all of my questions and they never hesitated to go over and beyond to assist me. Although many may not agree, I enjoyed taking my proctored exams because it gave me a chance to have some face-to-face contact with the CMU Global Campus staff.

How do you expect your CMU degree to help you achieve your career goals?

In just a short time after receiving my CMU degree, all of the effort has proven to be worth every minute. I received my degree in May 2015 and in less than one year I received a promotion, one of which I would not have been qualified for had I not had my degree. With my CMU degree came increased earning potential and an enhanced personal brand.

What advice would you give to other working professionals interested in completing a degree or certificate program with CMU’s Global Campus?

My advice is simple, if I can go back to school and complete my degree after 17 years while working and raising children, anyone can. Go for it! Take the first step and CMU will help you every step of the way after you make the initial contact. You will find it so rewarding personally and professionally.

What were some perceptions about going back to school that you were wrong about?​

One perception that I had that was wrong was that I thought it was going to be harder because I had been out of school so long. I was wrong, it was like riding a bike. Once I jumped back in it was like I had never left. I actually had more patience and focus than when I went to a different university straight after high school.  I think the biggest misconception was that I wouldn’t be able to afford to go back to school. I was able to receive grants and student loans to cover all of my tuition. Everyone should look into scholarships as well.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Science degree with an Option in Community Development and concentration in Community Services or Central Michigan University in Southfield, Michigan​.