Rasmussen Admissions Advisor Takes Her Own Advice
Ashley Moon could have been a server at Olive Garden her entire life. She enjoyed the job and the social atmosphere; it allowed her to be with her son during the day and work at night. Yet she knew there was something else out there for her. And even though it would take time, energy and sacrifice, she had to try to find it.
Taking the first step
No one pushed Ashley to go to college. As a first-generation college student, she would have to make this decision on her own. She had to push herself even when it got hard.
“No one would be mad at me if I didn't make it,” she says, “because I was the one setting the bar.”
So, with dreams of becoming a lawyer, Ashley enrolled in a paralegal program at a local technical college in Green Bay, Wisconsin, right after high school. Nine months into the program, however, it wasn’t going well. She wasn’t interested in her classes and struggled to get passing grades. Eventually, the department chair simply told her: “You're never going to be a paralegal.” Ashley was devastated.
Though the words were harsh, they pointed out that Ashley needed a career as colorful as she was.
Confused but determined to carry on, Ashley switched her major and eventually graduated with an Associate’s degree in marketing. But she wasn’t done yet.
While on maternity leave with her son, Ashley decided to pursue her Bachelor’s degree at a new school.
“I strolled into Rasmussen in Green Bay with my baby carrier and asked for an online program,” she says.
That same day, she enrolled in the Business Management Bachelor's degree program at Rasmussen University.
An unexpected opportunity
While earning her second degree, Ashley was on Rasmussen’s website one day and happened to find an open position in the admissions department. Though she wasn’t looking for a job at Rasmussen, she knew that she would have a special understanding of what the role required. And soon she had the opportunity to prove it.
As an admissions manager, Ashley helps prospective students find the information they need and navigate the enrollment process. But as a first-generation, nontraditional college student herself, she knows that it’s about more than filling out an application. It’s about coming to terms with your challenges and believing in yourself anyway. It's about taking risks and working hard to reach your goals.
“I want prospective students to know that I can guide them through the obstacles because I also had obstacles,” she says.
Many of the students Ashley speaks with have tried earning a degree before and were not successful. Many others do not have the support of their families. But Ashley helps them see beyond their circumstances.
“Whatever reason caused them to request college information is probably the exact thing they need to be reminded of as they continue facing obstacles,” she says.
Whether it’s to provide for their children, fulfill a dream or simply change their lifestyle, their motivation is what she helps uncover in each of her conversations.
After six years of working as an admissions manager, Ashley found herself in the same position as her prospective students—considering going back to school. And in the fall of 2020, she decided to enroll in the Master of Human Resources Management (MHRM) program at Rasmussen—this time with two children and a full-time job.
Her first class was more challenging than she had anticipated.
“It took me three weeks to submit my first paper, and I got an F. And I cried,” she says.
But—as she had done before—Ashley persisted.
“My teacher point-blank told me, ‘These are the things you need to change,’ and then I was able to resubmit and get an A,” she says, “So far, I'm a 4.0 student.”
With Rasmussen’s competency-based education model, Ashley can work at her own pace and ensure she learns the material before moving on.
“Balancing a full-time job and being a student is hard, no matter who you are—no matter what type of job you have,” she says. “But competency-based education allows you to bend and flow with your classes as you need to based on your life.”
Ultimately, Ashley enjoyed the class and is looking forward to completing the rest of her degree.
With her own life as proof of what’s possible, she continues to help other students begin their journeys in education. To those who may be considering earning a degree, her advice is simple and to the point:
“If you don't continue moving forward, then nothing changes,” she says, “so be strong enough to change.”