Tag Archive | "education"

Prepare For College With This Simple Prep For Success Plan

digital-learnerBy William Arruda

It’s that time of year again, when parents and students are preparing for a new academic year. This is the perfect time to develop a mindset for career success, starting with your reputation on campus and in internships, leading to the moment you land that ideal job after graduation. It all begins before you set foot on campus. Here’s the easy prep guide for college students.

Set goals. You aren’t going to be able to do everything, and you don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself from the start. Set realistic goals that are achievable but challenging, spurring growth. Visualize the differences you want to see in yourself by the end of the semester. What do you want to learn? What skills do you want to strengthen? Where do you want to expend your effort? What’s your ultimate goal? Answer these questions and stay focused by frequently reminding yourself of your goals.

Prepare for stress. As Stress Coach Jordan Friedman explains in this video, going off to university can be extremely stressful. Develop a plan to manage and minimize stress. Friedman provides a quick stress relief technique – and it’s particularly popular with students. Use it before exams, when you are feeling homesick or when you just want to get focused.

Build your brand. Finding your ideal job upon graduation starts on day 1 when you begin school. Think about the activities you pursue, class projects you undertake, social causes for which you volunteer and the many other roles you take on. How do you deliver value to those around you? Align your choices with what you want to be known for, and with your ultimate first-job goal. These are important steps to building your personal brand.

Get your digital house in order. Let’s face it. People are using Google to learn about you. In this new world where many first impressions are formed online, you need to make sure the virtual you is congruent with the real you. Here’s the four-step process to make sure your digital brand will work for you and not against you:

  1. Egosurf (Google yourself). Find out how you show up online. Check your profiles at your preferred social media. Take time to sweep away the digital dirt – content that muddies up what you want people to know about you. Start your college experience with a clean, authentic virtual picture of you.
  2. Determine how you want to connect as you build your professional network. Will you send Facebook friend requests, LinkedIn connection requests, or follow them on Twitter? Something else? Your classmates, university friends, professors, guest speakers, and career-services staff will all become valuable networking contacts throughout your entire career. Get in the habit of virtually connecting – and staying connected with them.
  3. Build professional content. If you are a freshman, an online search of you likely turns up mostly personal information with little professional content. You want to get a head start with professional information that will be attractive as you seek internships as well as volunteer opportunities on campus. The best place to start is with LinkedIn. Build your LinkedIn profile baseline with a professional headshot, and a compelling headline and summary. Then it’s easy to add to it as you get more experience. And remember to use your college projects (presentations, reports, mock marketing campaigns, etc.) as content for your profile. Think of your profile as a repository of all your successes, and update it regularly.
  4. Make a plan. The best way to keep your content up-to-date is to regularly engage. Egosurf at least every other month and commit to modifying your online profiles regularly so your online ID is both accurate and compelling to people who are making decisions about you.

Have fun! Fun is an important part of school and an important part of the learning process. Choosing a major should be an expression of your idea of fun, delivering activities that continually amplify your personal brand. In addition, we learn more and better when we inject play into the equation. In fact, in a recent Washington Post article, educational leadership expert Sean Slade reminds us that “brain research suggests that fun is not just beneficial to learning but, by many reports, required for authentic learning and long-term memory.” If you think of college as grueling and stressful and put too much pressure on yourself, you could actually undermine your success. What’s more, discovering how to enjoy college is great preparation for finding joy in the world of work – and that’s the ultimate definition of career success.

Learn more about building your personal brand. Download my complete list of 50 eye-opening questions to ask yourself when uncovering your brand here.

Also on Forbes:

The Best Jobs For College Students

This article was written by William Arruda from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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5 Time Management Tips for Back to School Season

backtoschool-time-management-tipsBy Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS

With summer winding down to an end in the next couple weeks, many students are heading back to school. The back to school season is exciting, stressful, and requires excellent time management in order for it to be a rewarding experience. Below are some tips for managing your time as the new student online, as well as ways to balance time at home with the kids.

  1. Wrap up your summer plans with enough time to spare.
    If you still have some vacation time you want to use, you should probably try to use it before your semester starts. Make sure that when your classes do start, you are focused on homework and tests rather than the beach.
  2. Buy all of your school supplies and textbooks well before your classes start.
    You want to have all your books and supplies ready for the first day of classes. Starting out even a day behind is not a recipe for success.
  3. If you are a parent who has children that are also getting ready for the back to school season, make sure you balance your child’s/children’s needs with your own.
    If you are taking them school shopping for new clothes, pick up your own school supplies at the same time. If you set aside some time after school for your child to do his or her homework, do your own homework at the same time. Not only does this save time, but it can also strengthen the parent-child bond.
  4. Memorize your schedule and your syllabi.
    If you are taking online classes, map out a weekly plan based on when you will log in to each class. If you have early access to your syllabi (depends on the school and/or professor), take time to study it so you know when all assignments/tests/homework are due. If you already have a plan of attack in place before the semester starts, you are well on your way to success.
  5. When you plan out your weeks, make sure you include some time for family time and entertainment.
    While your school work should be a top priority, there are other things that are important in life such as enjoying yourself and spending time with your loved ones. College should not be a 24/7 job. Have some fun, but only indulge when the time is appropriate.

Back to school season is one of the most exciting times for scholars of all ages. It is a chance to learn new things and refresh previously learned skills. For most students, the summer is a time for relaxation and a break from homework and tests. If you follow some of the tips above, you will be able to smoothly transition from the summer season to the back to school season.

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Love of Learning is the Key to Success in the Jobless Future

lifelong-learning-jobless-futureBy Vivek Wadhwa
The Washington Post

Not long ago, schoolchildren chose what they wanted to be when they grew up, and later selected the best college they could gain admission to, spent years gaining proficiency in their fields, and joined a company that had a need for their skills. Careers lasted lifetimes.

Now, by my estimates, the half-life of a career is about 10 years. I expect that it will decrease, within a decade, to five years. Advancing technologies will cause so much disruption to almost every industry that entire professions will disappear. And then, in about 15—20 years from now, we will be facing a jobless future, in which most jobs are done by machines and the cost of basic necessities such as food, energy and health care is negligible — just as the costs of cellphone communications and information are today. We will be entering an era of abundance in which we no longer have to work to have our basic needs met. And we will gain the freedom to pursue creative endeavors and do the things that we really like.

I am not kidding. Change is happening so fast that our children may not even need to learn how to drive. By the late 2020s, self-driving cars will have proven to be so much safer than human-driven ones that we will be debating whether humans should be banned from public roads; and clean energies such as solar and wind will be able to provide for 100 percent of the planet’s energy needs and cost a fraction of what fossil fuel— and nuclear-based generation does today.

A question that parents often ask me is, given that these predictions are even remotely accurate, what careers their children should pursue: whether it is best to steer them into science, engineering, and technology (STEM) fields, because it is these disciplines that are making the advances happen. The STEM—humanities dichotomy has been a traditional difficulty for parents, because English, psychology, history, and arts majors have been at a financial disadvantage over the past few decades. Parents have encouraged their children to go into fields such as finance, engineering, law and medicine, because they’re where the big money has been. But that is changing.

I tell them not to do what our parents did, telling us what to study and causing us to treat education as a chore; that instead, they should encourage their children to pursue their passions and to love learning. It doesn’t matter whether they want to be artists, musicians, or plumbers; the key is for children to understand that education is a lifelong endeavor and to be ready to constantly reinvent themselves.

We will all need to be able to learn new skills, think critically, master new careers, and take advantage of the best opportunities that come our way.

Technology is now as important a skill as are reading, writing, and mathematics. Everyone needs to be able to use computers, search for information on the Internet, use word processors and spreadsheets, and download apps. These skills are now common and useful in every profession. People who master social media gain an advantage in sharing knowledge and connecting with others. Kids in Silicon Valley who can write code have an edge in starting technology companies.

But this too is changing, as it becomes possible for anyone to write apps and snap together industrial-strength computer systems using powerful new software-development tools.  For the foreseeable future, professions such as data science, software architecture and bioengineering will command premiums; but design and the soft sciences will gain increasing importance.

Steve Jobs built the world’s most valuable company by focusing on design. He showed that, though good engineering is important, what matters the most is great design. You can teach artists how to use software and graphics tools, but it’s much harder to turn engineers into artists.  An engineering degree is very valuable, but the sense of empathy that comes from music, arts, literature, and psychology provides a big advantage in design. A history major who has studied the Enlightenment or the rise and fall of the Roman Empire gains an insight into the human elements of technology and the importance of its usability. A psychologist is more likely to know how to motivate people and to understand what users want than is an engineer who has only worked in the technology trenches. A musician or artist is king in a world in which you can 3D-print anything that you can imagine.

Education will always be a platform on which to build success, but it really doesn’t matter what you study. My advice to students is to complete a bachelor’s degree, at the least, in fields in which they have the most interest. They should go to any good school and not obsess over joining expensive elite institutions that will burden them with debt and limit their life options. Through college, they will gain valuable social skills and learn how to interact and work with others; to compromise; and to deal with rejection, failure, and change. Most importantly, they will learn what they don’t know and where to find new knowledge when they need it. And we can hope that they will develop a deep passion for learning.

All of this uncertainty and change can seem unsettling.  As Peter Diamandis has said, “on the road to abundance there will be turbulence.”  The light at the end of this tunnel, however, may be a world in which the pursuit of enlightenment is more cherished than the pursuit of money.

This article was written by Vivek Wadhwa from The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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Dedicate Yourself to the Goal of an Online Degree

online-ed-goalsBy Robert Gordon
Program Director, Reverse Logistics Management at American Public University

Success means pushing toward a goal. Many first-year college students learn to be dedicated to the goal, not just involved. To understand dedication, consider a breakfast of eggs and bacon–the chicken was involved with breakfast, the pig was dedicated.

Success does not come easily. Even people touted by the media as overnight sensations have usually been honing their craft for years before making it big, laboring in obscurity before achieving notoriety. There is no shortcut when it comes to achievement at the highest levels.

Once an adult learner enrolls to earn an advanced degree, the hard work begins. A student must commit to attending class and having the persistence to earn a good grade. A top grade will not come just by showing up.

At an online university, students must not only read what is assigned and apply the information. Students must complete the assignments and participate in the forum discussions. Each class is another important achievement in the successful completion of a degree.

If a person stops one credit short of graduation, it is the same as never having started a degree. The difference between earning a degree and almost earning a degree is significant to employers.

Greatness comes to those that believe that they can achieve. Students must keep the goal of graduation alive to stay motivated to the end. Although this might seem daunting, students are not alone in the adventure of earning a degree.

Contacting the professor during office hours or finding a tutor can help make a difference. Friends and loved ones are also an important source of support.

As an online student, you may have to dig deep to find the resolve to finish your degree, but maintaining a passion for success will sustain you. Make the journey count so that success will feel all that much better in the end.

About the Author

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon is the program director for the Reverse Logistics Management department at American Public University. Dr. Gordon has over 25 years of professional experience in supply chain management and human resources. Dr. Gordon earned his Doctorate of Management and Organizational Leadership and his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix as well earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UCLA.

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How Online Classes Differ From Traditional Classes

traditional-vs-online-learningBy Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS

Online learning has become much more popular due today’s technologically advanced world. There are numerous universities that are fully online, and pretty much every university in the country has at least a small online component in their curriculum. While traditional schools and online schools offer the same end game (i.e. a diploma, certificate, etc.), the actual classrooms have numerous differences. Online classes do require a different kind of learning style than traditional classes. Some of these differences are explained below.

  1. Online classrooms usually require more writing than traditional classrooms. You must be prepared to answer weekly forums, have essay-based midterms/finals, and respond to other students’ postings with written responses. In a traditional classroom, a lot of the discussions can be verbal. Obviously, that is a little more challenging with online learning, so online learners need to have satisfactory writing skills.
  2. Online classes are much more flexible than traditional classes. With online classes, you usually have the freedom to log in at any time during the week and submit assignments. There will always be deadlines, but you will not have to be present online from 1-2:15 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday like you might have to in a traditional college setting.
  3. You must be able to self-motivate as an online learner. To succeed at any kind of college, you must have the motivation to be a great student, but it is crucial to be self-motivated while enrolled in online classes. The flexibility of the online classroom is nice, but it means that the structure of a traditional, schedule-based school is not present. This requires online learners to create their own schedule and stick with it for the entire duration of the class.
  4. Online universities offer flexibility, affordability, and self-paced learning. However, online schools cannot deliver the full “college experience” that a traditional school can. Online universities may have clubs, extracurricular activities, networking events, and graduation ceremonies, but they probably are not the best option for someone looking for the ambiance of a college campus.

There are major differences between online classrooms and traditional classrooms. It absolutely takes a different kind of learning style to succeed, but they are not mutually exclusive. There are many learners out there that can adapt to both styles. If you are planning on attending an online university, be aware that it will be different from your typical on-ground learning experience.

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How To Turn Your Internship Into a Job: Three Real-Life Stories

internship-after-collegeBy Susan Adams

Most college students don’t have to be as resourceful as Molly Dodd. At 21 years old she had lost both of her parents, her father to a sudden heart attack when she was 16 and her mother to liver and adrenal cancer. On her own financially, Dodd held down four jobs while she worked toward her B.S. in journalism and public relations at Southeastern University, a Christian college in Lakeland, FL with 1,500 students. Though she’d done two unpaid internships in Florida, at a Lakeland magazine and a Plant City marketing and communications firm, she had no big-city connections or much of an alumni network from her tiny school.

Then one day at her Pensacola bible study group, the members shared their hopes and dreams. Dodd’s was to work at the Fox News channel in New York City. To her surprise, an older woman in the group approached her afterward and asked Dodd for her résumé. The woman turned out to be the mother of Fox News anchor Shepard Smith. Dodd did an online application and then a phone interview and landed an internship on Fox News Insider, the channel’s blog, which would start after she graduated in May 2013. Though it only paid a stipend of $10/day, she leaped at the chance. (Fox has since changed its policy and pays its interns.)

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How to Keep Kids Close to STEM Over the Summer

STEM-activities-kids-summerBy Dr. Daniel Welsch
Program Director, Natural Sciences at American Public University

The summer is a fantastic time to help kids satisfy and expand their curiosity. If your kids are anything like mine, they don’t want to learn over the summer–they want to ride bikes, go swimming, and camp. Use these and other activities to develop kids’ natural curiosity and desire to understand the world around them. The best part is that kids won’t even realize that they are learning!

One of the best things that parents can do to develop STEM skills in kids over the summer is to give kids the chance to develop their own hypothesis. You have to be sneaky and not use the word “hypothesis.” Ask “what do you think will happen when…”; that’s when summer STEM education begins.

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The Foster Experience: Education and Fatherhood

Foster_parenting_AMUeducationBy Jeffrey Webb
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor

May is National Foster Care Month. This can be a great time for many to take a look at how online education can benefit degree seekers who are also working on becoming foster or adoptive parents. Here’s my story.

When I became a foster dad I was still working on my bachelor’s and finding life to be quite busy. When fatherhood found me, I was holding down a full-time job, training with the Texas State Guard, and pursuing my educational goals. Adding on to all of this, my wife Mary and I were also in training to become foster parents. In the state of Texas, as in many other states, there are quite a few hoops one has to jump through in order to get a foster care license.

The state mandates a certain number of training hours per year, which must be maintained on a rolling basis. Some courses must individually be current, such as first aid/CPR, psychotropic drug awareness, and sexual behavior awareness. Mary and I spent a lot of time in these classes. Then there was the fire inspection, and health inspection- both of which held our home to the standard of a daycare. We had to have a fire plan. There was childproofing on every power outlet, drawer and cabinet. A locked safebox for the fridge in case any foster children needed refrigerated medications. The list went on and on.

During this time, I knew it was going to be important for me to keep moving my education forward, so that I could better provide for the children with which we would be entrusted. I cannot articulate enough how important the resources of my own time management skills plus American Military University’s online course programs were. An online student has a certain amount of responsibility that must be maintained- but at the same time, not once since I became a father has an AMU professor failed to work with me if I had issues related to children, illness in the family, State Guard annual training or personal issues. If I had been taking brick and mortar classes, I would probably have even less hair than the meager stubble that stands between me and being Captain Picard for Halloween. And that reminds me- the adventure was quite interesting, and it taxed my wife, me and our sanity to the edge. All through it my school was flexible and understanding. Allow me to illustrate those times.

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