This post was written by Jim Haisler, REALTOR® University alumnus and REALTOR® University Ambassador. Jim is the CEO at Heartland REALTOR® Organization and graduated in 2016 from REALTOR® University with his Master’s Degree in Real Estate with a concentration in Association Management. This content was originally used during the 2017 AE Institute lunch and learn session: REALTOR® University – The Master’s Experience.
Jim shares five tips below of what he “wished he had known” before enrolling as a Master’s student at REALTOR® University.
- If you are interested – start the application process. There is no obligation and no harassment. RU staff is very helpful and quick to respond. You’ll need to submit your transcripts for review. This first step will help you understand your course ahead. The number of courses you will need will depend on your undergraduate work. The minimum number of courses will be 12. Additional courses may be necessary depending on your background. I had a double business major, double minor and two associate’s degrees in business coming in so I needed just 12 courses. Others aren’t so lucky. Apply to find out where you stand. I also recommend talking to other students/graduates. I guarantee that we’re all glad we put ourselves through this stress – and it is stressful.
- Commit to one class at a time. Likely each of us graduates will tell you that we committed to one class at a time. That’s it. Each class is 8 weeks long. In my case, at the beginning of each new semester, I would ask myself why I was doing this. Why was I putting myself through this stress? In my mind, I wasn’t committing to the entire program although, of course, that was the goal. I simply told myself to ‘get through this class and see where it takes you’. RU offers 6 semesters a year – only 4 weeks off. If you go straight through it could take someone 2 years to complete the 12 courses. It took me 3.5 years. I stopped for 1.5 years before re-engaging. I don’t recommend this. I found it to be very hard to re-engage. And towards the finish, for multiple reasons, I had to take an additional semester off.
- Make a habit. When will you read? When will you study? When will you go online to ‘post’? My boys were ages 8 – 11 years old, I had a full-time job, managed my wife’s and my numerous rental properties, was Cubmaster for my kid’s scouts, my wife was attending classes for her undergrad degree, work travel, etc. I already had a full life. Early on I figured out a schedule that worked for me. It became habit and my family knew what I was doing. Additionally, I was pleased to model to my children that learning is a lifetime activity.
- No classroom??? I like classroom courses, too, so as to be able to interact with the instructor and other students. Here’s what I learned. First, the online program allows for this same interaction I was seeking. The online ‘chat’ room really works. In fact it works really well. I was in class with students from across the country. Time zones would have been a problem alone not to mention the distance. Secondly, this is a Master’s program. Unlike undergrad, much of the learning here comes from the interaction of students. It is our combined wisdom that makes us excel. The breadth of our experience was a major part of the learning experience. A classroom course could not have given us as great an experience. Students discussed local issues in Malibu, Colorado, Virginia, DC, and other parts. You will meet new people, forge friendships and have a greater learning experience.
- Final Project. Yes, there is a final student project. In fact, it is a class all by itself, my 10th. I worried about this the whole time I was in the program only to find this was my favorite course. I thoroughly enjoyed it. NOTHING to stress about. Several types of projects to choose from. Something for everyone. In fact, I earned RU’s Capstone Award as a result of my chosen project.
Want to learn more about Jim’s experience at REALTOR® University? Read his graduate spotlight here.