Archive | Education Options

Staying Motivated as an Adult Learner

motivated-online-learningBy Janet Athanasiou
Student Affairs Liaison at APUS

Getting through a college degree, whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, needs some serious motivation. Once the enthusiasm and excitement of going back to school or starting something new wears off, you still bear the burden of balancing work responsibilities, family commitments, deadlines, discussions and assignments.

Balancing responsibilities as a student can be overwhelming, especially for adult learners. Rather than giving in to what feels overwhelming and giving up, here are some tips to help you stay motivated to make it through your degree program:

  • Understand what motivates you. Start by thinking about what you have accomplished and what helped you get through tough tasks in the past. How can you use those same accomplishments as motivation to get through the tough task that is ahead of you?
  • Go back to your original goals and review them. Why did you start the degree in the first place? What is stopping you right now from getting your degree?
  • Make a detailed list of what you will need to do. If you’re in class, review what work still needs to be done and make a schedule you will stick to in order to succeed. When you schedule your next class, know your upcoming family time and work schedule. If you’re about to take a vacation or embark on a big project, don’t add a class to that. The benefit of online classes that start every month is that they are designed to fit into your life!
  • Articulate your goals. It’s helpful to review your goals and their pieces with someone you trust. That person can provide you with encouragement when you need it.
  • Use your university resources!
    • You have a team of willing advisors who will listen, provide guidance and resources, and be a sounding board to help you progress. We’re here for your success, so use us as much as you need!
    • Talk over your goals and concerns with your instructors as your class begins. Make sure you understand the outcomes and expectations.
    • Make use of ClearPath to connect with other students, find a mentor, and explore virtual communities centered on geographic locations, programs of study, or shared interests.

Making the decision to obtain a degree is a big step, and you’ll need to maintain that motivation you have at the start. Following the above steps will help you stay on track.

Connecting with your Academic Advising team can also arm you with resources to get your motivation back when it starts to wane. To reach your academic advisor, email or call 877-755-2787. Good luck as you progress through your degree, and we look forward to seeing you at commencement in 2017!

About the Author

Janet Athanasiou has worked for American Public University System since 2011, holding positions such as Academic Advisor, Senior Manager of Advising Schools, and Graduate Academic Advisor. Prior to that, she worked as a Residence Coordinator for the University of Alberta in Canada. Her academic credentials include a bachelor’s degree in history from Dalhousie University and a master of education degree in counseling psychology from James Madison University. Janet is currently working on her doctoral degree in higher education and higher education administration at George Mason University.

Posted in Ask an Advisor, Education Options

Students in Public Service – BMXlife: A Hub for Youth Development

American Military University Student, George Maroukis

American Military University Student, George Maroukis

Interview with George Maroukis

The following profile is the first in a series of public service student profiles of our students and alumni at the university.

Job title: Cofounder of BMXlife and Customer Service Specialist at U.S. Department of the Treasury

Degree: Current Master of Public Administration Student at American Military University

Where did your concept for BMXlife originate?

My father originally got me interested in BMX riding. I was a part of the Minersville Trail scene through the late 90s and early 2000s, which allowed me the opportunity to network with riders from around the world. At the trails, we befriended riders from around the U.S. and it would be common to meet BMXers from around the world on any given day.

Growing up in a largely neglected area of Pennsylvania, bonding with riders from around the world through this shared passion of BMX riding would forever shape my life. BMX was the glue which would bind us together and also open the discussion to understanding cultural differences.

It was an amazing experience. Anyone involved from my area knew that it was something special. From those very early experiences I knew I was to be involved in BMX and cycling for the rest of my life. Acting as a medium, BMX provided kids from my area a base from which to make a better understanding of the world. What better way to contribute to underserved communities than to share that cultural binding experience with those who lack the resources to participate?

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Posted in Education Options, Online Learning

The 'Connective Tissue' That Liberal Arts Students Need for Lifelong Professional Success

liberal-arts-educationBy Daniel R. Porterfield

For professionals, a great liberal arts education is an appreciating asset, like a wise investment that earns compounding interest over decades. That’s because the knowledge, skills, and learning capabilities that students develop in college gain value as their careers progress and their responsibilities grow more complex.

This was the point of an earlier piece I wrote— “Four Ways Talented 20-Somethings Are Building Great Careers”—that examined the rising professional trajectories of four recent graduates of my college. A rigorous education empowers us to ask smart questions, adapt to change, draw upon multiple types of knowledge, distinguish between good and bad information, and learn fast and independently—and those skills are desperately needed in the current world of work.

The 15 Most Attractive Employers For Liberal Arts Students

That said, while I believe undergraduates should have confidence in the accumulating value of their liberal arts educations, I don’t mean to suggest that if we simply give students access to great faculty, seminars, and curricula, stellar professional futures are ensured.

Not in today’s lightning-fast tech-driven global knowledge economy, in which most businesses and organizations must reinvent core practices, if not their core missions, every few years because of the dizzying pace of change.

That’s why in 2012 my institution, Franklin & Marshall College, created the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD). The name speaks to our mission—the development of each student and graduate as unique individuals with their own interests, goals, and gifts, so that all can thrive by adapting and adjusting to the fields and occupations of the future.

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Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter

Student Profile: Transforming Business and Future Leaders

American Military University Alumnus, Derrick Horsley

American Military University Alumnus, Derrick Horsley

Interview with Derrick Horsley

The following profile is the thirteenth in a series of student profiles of our students and alumni at the university.

Job title: President and CEO of The Horsley Group, LLC, Douglasville, GA

Degree earned: Master of Arts in Management with concentration in Organizational Leadership, 2012, American Military University and Bachelor of Arts in Management with concentration in Human Resource Management, 2009, American Military University

What have you been doing since earning your degree at AMU?

After earning my B.A. and M.A., I retired from the United States Army as a Human Resources Chief Warrant Officer after more than 25 years of service to our great nation. During my service, I was deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

After retirement, I was employed by the Department of Defense as a human resource manager at Fort Meade, MD. I am an independent certified coach, teacher and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. I am an adjunct professor with Central Texas College, teaching business management, human resources management, leadership and supervisory courses. I am pursuing a doctorate degree in education with a specialization in higher education leadership and management from Walden University.

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Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Online Learning

Student Profile: Ensuring That Businesses and Employees Work Smoothly

American Public University alumna, Shareema Granville

American Public University Alumna, Shareema Granville

Interview with Shareema Granville

The following profile is the twelfth in a series of student profiles of our students and alumni at the university.

Job title: Life Cycle Manager, Automatic Data Processing

Degree earned: M.A. in Management, 2014, American Public University

What have you been doing since earning your master’s degree in management at APU?

After I earned my master’s in 2014, I started a position as Assistant HR Director for the YMCA in Westfield, NJ. I stayed there for about a year. Then I realized the potential for growth within the HR industry, so I left and went into the corporate sector. I currently work for one of the well-known companies when it comes to payroll and HR solutions, Automatic Data Processing (ADP).

What led you to choose a master’s degree with us? Was it based on passion or a specific career goal?

When I looked for a university to do my master’s, I searched for a school that had great reviews, low-cost tuition and a curriculum that wouldn’t be stressful. My research took me two weeks and I narrowed it down to two schools.

At the time, I was unsure about what my concentration should be within my major. I went with entrepreneurship, which APU offered, and that helped me with my decision. After a couple of classes, I changed my concentration to human resources.

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Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter, Online Learning

Networking for Economics Majors: Getting Contacts for the Job Search

network-econ-majorsBy Bill Conerly

The key to economics majors finding jobs is networking, I wrote in Career Advice for Economics Majors. A few students have written asking: “How do I start networking when I don’t know anyone?” Here are some ideas for getting your first few contacts, then expanding from those people.

(Those who are already in the business world might look at Patrick Galvin’s The Connector’s Way.)

Start with two goals: the ultimate goal and the proximate goal. Your ultimate goal as a college student is probably to find a good job, good being a composite of good pay, good opportunity for advancement, interesting and suitable to your personality. All too often people focus on just any job without thinking of the other factors. (That will be encouraged by the student’s parents, who don’t care about personal fulfillment as much as the student not ending up living back at home. I know. I’m a parent.)

The proximate goal is to learn about the types of work done by economics majors. You want to know about pay, but also the other factors. How much of the work is “big picture” versus detail-oriented? Does the job involve working alone most of the time or working with others? How much will you learn about the business and how it makes money? There are plenty of other questions along these lines; I suggest making a list of similar questions.

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Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter

3 Ways to Turn Your Summer Internship Into a Job Offer

summer-internship-job-offerBy Tom Anderson

Internships can be powerful learning experiences that let students explore careers in their intended fields. They also open post-graduation opportunities for long-term employment.

In fact, research shows that internships are an important way to jump start careers. Sixty-three percent of college graduates who completed a paid internship received a job offer after graduation compared to only 35 percent of graduates who did not complete an internship, according to a 2015 analysis by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Completing a paid internship in college also gave recent grads a leg up when they began working full time.

Even so, if 63% of paid interns land jobs after graduation, this means nearly 40% of interns don’t have a job waiting for them when they graduate college. Several career experts offer their advice on how to turn that summer internship into a job offer:

Do exceptional work — and ask for more

Since an internship is first and foremost a job, you should treat it like one, says Blake McCammon of Looksharp, an internship and job marketplace. That means you need to perform well on the tasks you’re assigned, but also be willing to go above and beyond what an employer asks of you. An internship could be the start of your future career, so show you’re excited about it by producing good work and demonstrating a strong work ethic, McCammon says.

Interns should even seek to help the entire company, even teams they are not directly assigned to, advises Mark Babbitt, CEO and founder of Youtern, an internship and mentor networking firm. He suggests asking other employees if you can sit in on meetings or go out to coffee to learn more about the company.

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Posted in Editor's Pick, Education Options, Email Newsletter

Student Profile: A Journey to Career Success

American Public University Alumnus, Jalal Almomar

American Public University Alumnus, Jalal Almomar

Interview with APU Alumnus, Jalal Almomar

The following profile is the eleventh in a series of student profiles of our students and alumni at the university.

Job title: Replenishment Manager, Walmart

Degree earned: Master of Business Administration, Concentration in Global Business Management, 2014, American Public University

What led you to choose a master’s degree with APU? Was it based on passion or a specific career goal?

I have a bachelor’s degree in statistics and a graduate degree in data security from Iraq. However, both of these degrees weren’t enough to help me find a job in the United States after I came here in 2009.

I decided to pursue my studies and get a higher academic degree. Academic credentials are highly in demand in today’s job market.

I did research on what would be the best degree for me and not only from the job market’s perspective. The degree needed to be affordable. It had to be done while I worked at Walmart.

After all my research, I figured out that studying at APU for an MBA degree in global business management was a good choice. From what I’ve gained, I can say it was the best choice.

 Tell us about your position at Walmart.

I’m a replenishment manager at Walmart’s Home Office – the Sporting Goods department. My responsibilities are at a high level. I ensure that we have the right items at the right stores with the right price and right quantities at the right time.

Did your degree with APU help prepare you for specific challenges you’ve come across in your current position?

Each of our MBA classes required research and discussions. The subject of most of my research was Walmart: I always needed to know more about Walmart.

By the end of my studies, I had accumulated a wide knowledge of Walmart. That helped me in obtaining my current position at the Walmart Home Office. It also helps me every day in accomplishing and managing my job’s responsibilities and tasks.

See more of Jalal’s story in the video below.

What are the biggest challenges in your industry?

The retail industry is the biggest industry in the United States and in the world. Almost all of the other industries depend on retail to sell their products and services.

Walmart is #1 as a Fortune 500 company worldwide. It’s also the biggest store in the retail industry and the world. But there are always challenges in any industry; the biggest challenge in retail is the other competitors.

What are two key pieces of advice you would pass on to someone new to online education?

The most important advice I’d give is to understand your class requirements and needs. Take enough time before the class starts to read the class syllabus carefully. Understand the class and your instructor’s requirements and expectations. Be sure to know what book is required and order it early so it gets to you before the first day in class. Know the most important due dates. Don’t forget to enter your class in the first week and introduce yourself to the class and to your instructor.

What is your favorite thing about online learning?

The most important thing in learning online is the flexibility. You can attend your class any day of the week, at any time you want, from anywhere in the world.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have many hobbies and interests for my narrow amount of free time. I like sports such as swimming, horseback riding and soccer. I’m also a licensed judge for the International Shooting Sport Federation and volunteer for different organizations.

Our student profile series gives a face and personality to our dedicated online learners at the university. Interested in learning more about your online education options? Explore our schools and programs at APU.

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Posted in Education Options, Email Newsletter


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