How to Apply to an Online Certificate Program: Enrollment Advisor Tips

Online certificate programs offer flexible options for earning credentials in specific areas of tech, such as blockchain, cybersecurity, and machine learning, as well as advanced practice nursing specialties, such as adult-gerontology acute care. Today, many people are taking advantage of the benefits of online education. In fall 2020, for example, 2.2 million students enrolled in at least one postsecondary online course, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Want to learn how to apply to an online certificate program? Explore the process with expert advice from Maryville University enrollment advisors Cynthia Nordberg and Daniel Hoag.

Benefits of an Online Certificate Program

As enrollment advisors, Cynthia and Daniel work every day with new students who are ready to return to school and advance their careers. They understand that students have questions when deciding whether to pursue a certificate or a degree. They explain that flexibility and opportunities for career and education advancement are top reasons for deciding to enroll in an online certificate program.

Why do students choose Maryville University’s online certificate programs?

Daniel Maryville Online Advisor

Daniel: A certificate gives students the opportunity to have guidance through learning a new skill. New skills are sometimes hard to learn without someone to turn to with questions and get feedback from. Maryville University professors teach all of the courses in our certificate programs. This gives students the opportunity to work with knowledgeable and skilled professionals who understand how to use these skills within the industry.

Most of our certificate programs can typically be completed in a much quicker amount of time than a full degree program will take. A lot of times, students have deadlines for when they need to learn a new skill or when they need to find a new job.

A certificate will help a student to get their foot in the door and learn new skills without having to take the time to complete a full bachelor’s or master’s degree program.

Something else that’s great about the certificate programs is that all the credits can be transferred into a full bachelor’s or master’s program with us at Maryville University. So, if a student does a certificate program and ends up deciding at a later date that they want to do the full bachelor’s or master’s program, then they’ll be able to transfer over the credits that they already took through the certificate program. I believe our certificate programs are beneficial for any student who is trying to learn a new skill or determine if a career change is the right fit.

Cynthia Maryville Online Advisor

Cynthia: The courses are asynchronous, offering flexibility. The programs also have excellent professors who are themselves practicing professionals. For example, many of our nursing instructors are nurse practitioners (NPs). U.S. News & World Report ranks Maryville as one of the best online NP programs in the country. Certificate programs offer a faster track for students with an MSN degree to become an advanced practice nurse, and for students who are already APNs, it allows them to broaden their scope of practice.

Benefits of Talking with an Enrollment Advisor

Read Cynthia and Daniel’s answers to common student questions about how enrollment advisors can help students decide which online certificate programs are right for them.

What are the benefits of talking with an enrollment advisor when determining whether to begin a certificate program?

Daniel: There are many benefits to speaking with an enrollment advisor when thinking about a certificate program. We have many certificates, and it can be hard to determine the right fit.

An enrollment advisor will take one-on-one time to discuss goals and help determine the best-fit certificate program for the student. By taking the time to ask the right questions, an advisor can help uncover the skills and knowledge the student is trying to attain. An advisor will be able to give direction on the best path to attain the desired skills.

During the conversation with an advisor, the student will receive all the necessary information to make the best decision for themselves. Going over the benefits of Maryville University, scheduling of classes, length of a certificate, curriculum, support, finances, and admission requirements gives the student the best chance to determine the best-fit certificate program.

Cynthia: Maximizing potential transfer credits is a major priority for students considering an online certificate program. Enrollment advisors can help students navigate this process and get the most out of transfer credits. The application process for a certificate program, particularly completing the Transfer Credit Request Form, can get complicated without this guidance.

What advice do you give students when helping them navigate the certificate admissions processes?

Daniel: When navigating the admissions process for our certificate programs, speaking with an enrollment advisor is always recommended. An enrollment advisor will be able to walk the student through each step of the admissions process.

One challenge seen from students is retrieving transcripts. Transcripts can sometimes be hard to obtain, or retrieving them can take time. An enrollment advisor can guide the student through this process and give advice on the best ways to retrieve documents.

Another challenge is the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which can be complicated and lengthy. An enrollment advisor will be able to give knowledge into the best practices for completing the FAFSA. Therefore, speaking with an enrollment advisor is always recommended. That way, if the student ever has a question about any step in the process, they have a friendly colleague to support them and answer any questions. The advisor can receive and process documents to make sure that the student is meeting all necessary deadlines. This creates the most seamless experience for the student.

In the popular tech arena, Maryville University offers six undergraduate certificates and three post-baccalaureate certificates. Maryville also offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in communication sciences and disorders and five post-master’s certificates in nurse practitioner fields. Enrollment advisors specialize in specific certificate programs, giving prospective students the necessary insight into the programs they’re most interested in. Discover the programs that Cynthia and Daniel help students navigate.

Daniel: I specialize in helping students enroll in the tech-focused online certificates. I see the most interest from students looking for undergraduate certificates going toward cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. I also see a lot of interest in our post-baccalaureate certificates in big data and machine learning.

There’s a big boom within the tech industry. There are not enough professionals to fill all the jobs within these fields. Students currently working in the industry and career changers alike are seeking tech-related skills. I also see more and more interest from companies in finding employees who have these skills.

Cynthia: I specialize in nursing online certificates. Psychiatric mental health is gaining the most attention because of the medical field’s emphasis on mental health and the lack of providers. There’s a shortage nationwide of psychiatric providers. COVID-19 also created a rise in mental health issues due to isolation. Finally, the push for telehealth is making the psychiatric NP role a welcome option for nurses who are wanting to work from home.

What should students know about the enrollment process for the technology certificates?

Daniel: The enrollment process for our undergraduate certificates includes:

  • The free application
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended (or, if not applicable, a high school diploma or GED)
  • A 2.0 GPA for students with college experience or a 2.5 GPA for students with no college experience

The admission requirements for our graduate certificates include:

  • The free application
  • Official transcripts from a student’s bachelor’s degree and any other colleges attended
  • A personal statement of at least 500 words
  • An updated resume
  • A 3.0 GPA (conditional acceptance is possible on a case-by-case scenario for students who do not meet this requirement)

What advice do you give students when helping them navigate the admissions process for the nurse practitioner (NP) certificates?

Cynthia: Maryville University is known for turning out great NPs. I let students know that they’re not required to have worked in the field they’re seeking for NP certification. For instance, if they’re seeking to become a pediatric NP, we don’t require that they have work experience in pediatrics.

Many students who already have an MSN degree don’t understand that getting a post-master’s will cut the time to become an NP in half. So, when I explain that the admissions committee will look for five courses for transfer credit, that doesn’t sound like much until I explain that they won’t be required to take most of the other courses they took in their MSN degree program.

What is your favorite part about being an enrollment advisor?

Daniel: Enrollment advisors are so helpful. When I was going through college, I didn’t have the benefit of having an enrollment advisor. Being able to provide a service that I didn’t have myself but would have benefited from is very rewarding. I enjoy having conversations with students about their goals and aspirations. I also enjoy hearing about their experience and connecting with them as people. I think that guidance through school is something that everyone can benefit from. It helps students make the right decisions and think about the right questions when determining their career path. I think that guidance in any part of life is very helpful.

Cynthia: As an EA, I strive to give every student stellar customer service. I treat them the way I want to be treated: with respect and clear information. My goal is to make the enrollment process as easy as possible for students. My advice for students who are thinking about enrolling? Remember that it takes courage to get back into school. I give everyone kudos for making their lives better through education.

Start the Online Certificate Program Enrollment Process Today

Enrollment advisors like Cynthia and Daniel are ready to explain how to apply to an online certificate program at Maryville University. They can also provide advice on enrolling in Maryville’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Ready to enroll in an online certificate? Our certificate programs offer the professional experience to advance careers in a wide range of fields. Discover how Maryville University’s student admissions team can help you take the next step in your career.

Recommended Reading

Maryville University and Monster Worldwide Reveal New Data on Upskilling and Reskilling Needs in the Workforce

A Conversation with an Enrollment Advisor on Nursing Programs

Making a Career Change at 30


National Center for Education Statistics, Fast Facts: Distance Learning

Be Brave

Bring us your ambition and we’ll guide you along a personalized path to a quality education that’s designed to change your life.