Making the most of the Global Freshman Academy

October 24, 2016 · 2 min read · By ASU Online
Since 2015, Nick Sowards has taken every Global Freshman Academy (GFA) course he could. At 32, working full time in Ohio, he’s heading toward earning enough credits to fulfill his freshman year requirements. This fall he is taking four more courses and has been accepted to ASU Online for Spring 2017.

Update: Global Freshman Academy is now known as Universal Learner Courses.

The Global Freshman Academy (GFA) course offerings have allowed Nick Sowards to earn college credit at a fraction of the cost while finding his true passions, psychology and sociology.

Nick has always been a fan of continuing education and broadening his mind and horizons. He learned about GFA through a friend when he was on a kayaking trip, and after some initial research, he decided to give it a try. He loved being able to take a college-level class with no formal enrollment process, strict schedule or financial risk. For him, the hardest part was getting started, but after that first class he signed up for two more and that pattern continued from there.

To manage schoolwork, a full-time job and a busy social life Nick relies heavily on his Google Calendar. The only requirement for doing classwork is an internet connection, so he can squeeze it in no matter where he is, even on his first international trip to Iceland! He states that the classwork is flexible and absolutely manageable with a busy, full-time job.

Nick couldn’t decide on his favorite GFA class. The most challenging and rewarding class was Composition 101. As a naturally good test-taker, writing doesn’t come as easily to him. He really had to stretch to be successful in the class, but seeing his improvement throughout the course made it all worth it.

Another top class was Technological, Social and Sustainable Systems. Although he didn’t know much about the subject going in and didn’t have a particular interest in the topics, he thoroughly enjoyed it.

It really opened his eyes to different ways of thinking, and fit with the personal growth he was having outside of the classroom.

What started off as casual continued learning for Nick has now become the foundation of his bachelor's degree with ASU Online, thanks to the flexibility and course offerings through Global Freshman Academy. Moving forward, Nick plans to major in psychology and minor (or potentially double major) in sociology.

GFA helped build the confidence Nick needed to pursue his bachelor’s degree with ASU Online and we can’t wait to follow along with his online learning journey!

Nick attributes his acceptance into ASU Online heavily on his Global Freshman Academy courses and the ability to use those credits towards his freshman year requirements.

Global Freshman Academy is designed to allow learners to earn university credit as simply as possible and without any barriers or restrictions. Learn more about Global Freshman Academy.


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