Nicole Knutson

Lifelong Learner, Tenacious Badger
UW-Madison Online student, class of 2024

Nicole Knutson

Putting her health first, Nicole took a break from school but came back to achieve her dream of earning a degree.

Tell us about your educational path that led you to enroll for an online degree.

I enrolled at UW–Madison in 2008 but had to withdraw halfway through the semester. I tried community college, started working and spent time on medical leave. The coronavirus hit, and I was talking to my mom about how schools had transitioned to online learning. I felt it could make learning accessible to people like me who can’t do in-person learning. I decided to check UW–Madison, and they had a personal finance degree. It was fate. It was the degree I wanted.

How is your experience with your instructors and fellow students?

It has been very surprising to me to see the quality of the education I am getting and the way that professors are concerned with my success. I was worried because I thought it would be me and only 18-year-olds in my classes. But there was a classmate who was also coming back to finish a degree. There were several parents and people my age. It was nice to see that and be in a group of who I considered peers. They’ve all been great.

What does getting a bachelor’s degree as a returning adult student mean to you?

In my late 20s, I convinced myself I’d never get a degree. I had given up on my dream. It was all that I had wanted for my entire life, so it was a real letdown. I was so hesitant to go back because I felt like I was too old and it was past my time, but I’m so glad that I am pursuing it now. I see myself becoming the person I always wanted to be.

Read Nicole’s student story

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