Saturday, August 25, 2007

A note from a Harvard Extended reader

Since starting this blog, I have gotten a regular stream of correspondence from people who have questions about the Extension School. In a typical month I'll get about two prospective students contacting me with specific questions about the school, the ALM program, and occasionally the ALB program. I used to report these conversations, and last year I started an interview series with several current ALM students, but the volume of correspondence got to be too large, and my time too tight, to blog about them all.

However, I thought I would post this message from someone who has been following Harvard Extended for several years:
My wife and I are planning to move to Boston from Los Angeles. For the last 2 years I've been reading about the Harvard Extension School, your blogspot, and the forum that you created. It has been a great resource for me, in terms of weighing whether or not I would want to go to the Extension School or not. I truly appreciate all the information you have put out there, and I just wanted to personally thank you.
It's interesting to see how readers have turned to the Harvard Extended blog for information and even inspiration. I started the blog for research-related reasons, and to chronicle my experience in the Extension School's ALM program, but for a few readers it has helped them make major life decisions.

It's a good feeling knowing that I've helped people in this way, but it's also a little unsettling. Changing one's career or academic path is very common in our society, but moving across state lines -- or across the country -- to attend the Harvard Extension School takes things to a different level. We local students can drop out of a program, or take a break from studies without any major impact on our jobs or family lives, but the folks who move to Massachusetts have already quit their jobs and said goodbye to family and friends. They have made a huge commitment, and it's much harder for them to stop or take a break. I really do admire them -- I think the ALM program is fabulous and worth all of the time, effort, and tuition I have put into it since 2003, but I am not sure I would be willing or able to quit my job or relocate my family to take part.

One other note: I would like to point out to the author of this email and other readers that if "the forum you've created" refers to the Extension Student online forum, that was actually created by someone else -- see the interview with him here.

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