Oct. 12, 2023

‘I would not be here without this program’

NDSU's Bachelor of University Studies program offers a unique blend of tailored education and online convenience. It empowers students to create their own academic path while pursuing an affordable, nationally accredited degree. Embarking on the path of higher education is a remarkable journey, often filled with important decisions and life-changing experiences. Ashton Sagaser, a senior from Fargo, North Dakota, shares her unique experience at NDSU, focusing on her time in the University Studies program.

Choosing NDSU
Sagaser graduated with an associate of applied science from North Dakota State College of Science and was determined to continue her education. She chose NDSU as her next step in her higher education journey. “I knew a huge goal of mine was to get my bachelor's degree,” she said. “I still had the drive and motivation to continue my education, as I know how valuable and rewarding it feels to work hard and earn something that no one can take away from you.”

Embracing the program
One pivotal decision Sagaser faced was selecting her major. Coming from a background in dental sciences, she was initially uncertain about her academic path. Sagaser was drawn to a major that would enable her to transfer as many credits as possible to avoid feeling like she was starting over.

With the Bachelor of University Studies program, Sagaser discovered she could craft a personalized curriculum that aligned with her academic interests. “When this major was brought to my attention, I thought it was really neat that a student could build their own curriculum to fit their academic interests,” she said. “So, a person like me who absolutely loves dentistry and the sciences can still obtain those credits to pursue a business or marketing bachelor's degree.”

Online learning
The flexibility of online learning significantly facilitated Sagaser's journey through the University Studies program. She’s completed nearly all of her degree requirements online, which was essential as she balanced a full-time position as an orthodontic assistant with her studies. “I was working 40 hours a week while completing all of my credits,” she said. “Asynchronous classes gave me the freedom and availability to earn an income to put towards school while discovering a whole new interest of mine.” 

Degree customization
The flexibility of the program not only allowed Sagaser to work while attending school but also opened doors to a new career. She was recently offered a full-time position as a sales and marketing rep at a landscaping company based in Ottertail, Minnesota. “The University Studies program has allowed me to get a head start on my career and put all of the knowledge I have gained from school to use in my new job,” she said. “My employer is currently providing for me financially while I am in school, as he knows the value of my education as well as the value I bring to his company while I am in school. This opportunity would not be made possible without the flexibility and customization this program provides.”

Supportive faculty and advisors
Sagaser said the faculty and advisors within the University Studies program are very supportive and she appreciates their understanding and flexibility. “My advisor and all of the faculty have been nothing but understanding, charismatic and helpful throughout my time at NDSU,” she said. “When questions arise, all of my instructors have been so helpful and supportive of my goals and desires.”

Advice to prospective students
For prospective students uncertain about their major, Sagaser suggests that the program is an excellent fit. It relieves the pressure of being locked into a specific curriculum and provides the freedom to explore various academic interests. “I highly recommend this program,” she said. “It’s very flexible. I was able to attend NDSU full time for both semesters as well as in the summer, while working 40 hours a week and still making the Dean’s List every semester. I’m starting my senior year and have already accepted a full-time position at a company that values my education. I truly believe I would not be here without this program.”

Learn more about NDSU’s Bachelor of University Studies program or contact Jessie Bauer, NDSU assistant director of student success initiatives, at jessica.a.bauer@ndsu.edu to get started with your NDSU experience.

Start your NDSU experience by completing your application.