I always knew I wanted to earn a doctoral degree ever since I was a child. I remember during my first job interview at age 17, I told the director of HR/Admin. and the manager of HR that I was going to pursue a BBA, an MBA, and a DBA. They both marveled at my ambition and was impressed that I seemed to have had it all planned out. Anyway, earning a doctorate for me then, and still is a personal goal which might also offer some professional benefits. Between May 2016 to August 2018, I applied to 10 doctoral programs and was admitted to 9. The schools and programs are as follow: American College of Education (For-profit) – Ed.D. in Leadership (admitted 2016), completed the first course, withdrew to pursue an M.S. at Lamar. Grand Canyon University (Non-profit, then for-profit) – Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership (admitted 2016), declined the offer. Argosy University (Non-profit, then for-profit) – Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership (admitted 2016), declined the offer. Abilene Christian University (Non-profit) – Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership (admitted 2016), registered and started week 0 then had a life-changing event and had to withdraw. Southeastern University (Non-profit) – Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership (admitted 2016), declined the offer. Franklin University (Non-profit) – DBA in Management (admitted 2017), declined the offer. My plan was to withdraw from Lamar at 18 credits and pursue the DBA but then I learned of Cal U’s D.CJ. California University of PA (Public, state) – D.CJ., Doctor of Criminal Justice (denied admissions 2018). West Chester University of PA (Public, state) – DPA, Doctor of Public Administration (admitted 2018), declined offer when I learned of Saint Leo’s D.CJ. Saint Leo University (Non-profit) – D.CJ., Doctor of Criminal Justice (admitted 2018), paid and lost my $250 seat deposit. I had all my reservations in place to attend my first residency but had to cancel at the last minute to accept a teaching position. I had to take a loss on my airline fares but was able to get a refund for my hotel and car reservations. Liberty University (Non-profit) – Ph.D. in Criminal Justice (admitted 2018), currently enrolled and hope to graduate by the end of 2021. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13, NKJV).” I completed my first course and I am registered for my spring classes. I will be taking three courses in Spring 2019 – one core course in the B term, one elective course in the C term and one methods core in the D term. Some of you may have seen my many posts soliciting advice on choosing a doctoral program. I always made it clear that I wasn’t interested in Liberty, Cumberlands or any other conservative schools (anti-LGBTQ). So, what changed? To be 100% transparent, the 25% ERP tuition discount caught my interest at Liberty. However, I had an ongoing debate with myself concerning my moral principles. Anyway, I decided to do some research on Liberty University. These are some of the findings which led me to pursue my education at Liberty: 1. The article “Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University.” 2. The article “No anti-gay bias at Liberty University, Falwell says.” 3. The article “Jerry Falwell Jr.: I Agree With Trump's LGBT Platform '100 Percent'” 4. Liberty has never applied for Title IX exemption based on sexual orientation. 5. Liberty’s School of Law and College of Medicine both include “sexual orientation” in their non-discriminatory policies. I am not saying that there are no anti-LGBTQ sentiments at Liberty, but I think that this exists among faculty members in any school, especially if they are guided by certain religious principles. Another factor which played a major role in my decision to attend Liberty came from a conversation with a current student who graduated from Liberty with four previous degrees. She told me that she wrote on several liberal topics and had never been penalized. She told me that many of the professors are more liberal than the school itself, which is consistently ranked the most conservative school in the U.S. A doctorate is a major investment (time, money) which requires many sacrifices. You don't have to apply to 10 different programs like I did, but be sure to do your research before embarking on your doctoral journey. You want to make sure that you pick the program, one that you're going to be happy with next year or 5 years after you've completed that degree.