Michelle Ellis

Do I really need a college degree at my age? What's it like to return to school later in life? How can I apply the skills I learn?

These are all questions that prospective students ask us. We recently sat down with recent graduate student, Michelle Ellis, and here's what she had to say:

"Washington University is part of my success story. If it wasn't for WashU, I don't know where else I would've wanted to go to school."

Were you worried about your work-life balance at all?

Actually, coming to University College at WashU became part of my lifestyle. Not only with the classes and working here, but we’ve got great restaurants on campus. I didn’t have to go outside the university for dinner, for supplies, for anything. There’s also lots of great resources, everything is in a couple mile’s radius. WashU is very accommodating. So school just became a big part of my life. Once I got into the groove of attending classes and balancing work, life, home, and myself, it was no longer a challenge. 

Describe your experience with University College faculty?

I had the best professors. They were very encouraging and supportive. And they encouraged me to keep on going. I remember one professor encouraged me to start looking outside the university for jobs. As a matter of fact, she would email me job listings and say, “You’re doing great on your assignments. Take a look at this job.” Instructors allowed me additional time on assignments or a break from a particular class. 

Learn more about the Psychology or English undergraduate programs as well as the Clinical Research Management graduate program.


Michelle Ellis started working at Washington University in 2002 in the Human Research Protection Office. After seeing a lot of room for advancement, it was important for her to earn a bachelor’s degree. Ellis graduated from University College in 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology and a second degree in English and now holds a Master of Science in Clinical Research Management. She is now a Grants Administrator in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at WashU and has started her own nonprofit organization.