• Top Reasons to Get an Online Graduate Certificate

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

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    When life moves at a hundred miles an hour, it can be tough to even think about stopping to pursue a graduate degree. But what if you didn’t have to stop, or even pause? What if you could benefit from graduate-level learning while working and juggling everything in life? It’s possible, surprisingly affordable — and can fit into even the busiest schedule. Here’s how and why you should totally go for it!

    Why it’s a solid decision to pursue a graduate certificate online

    Flexibility: Online graduate certificate programs like Accelerated Pathways offer the flexibility to balance work, family, and other responsibilities while pursuing advanced education. Online learning enables you to access courses, classwork, and assignments anytime, anywhere. You’ll find there’s even space for “me” time to relax and recharge.

    Career advancement: To stay competitive at work — whether you’re aiming for a promotion or searching for a new role — enhancing your skills and knowledge help make your profile stand out.

    Professional development: Online graduate certificate programs can help introduce competencies in new areas and/or expand on existing knowledge. Say hello to a broader range of professional opportunities!

    [Much!] Lower cost: Online graduate certificate programs are less expensive than traditional on-campus programs, which means less debt. Some employers even offer tuition assistance — be sure to ask your HR department.

    For example, according to a study by the Education Data Initiative: “the cost of a Master's degree typically ranges between $30,000 and $120,000 depending on the school, the major, and the length of the program. The average cost of a Master's degree is $62,650.”

    At Accelerated Pathways, our high-quality college courses are 36% less expensive than the national average. And with the freedom to pay as you go, there’s no need for student loans.
    There are also obvious cost savings associated with not having to live on campus or commute to class.

    Interactive learning: Online courses often incorporate interactive elements like discussion boards, multimedia presentations, and online simulations, which can make learning easier, more engaging, and more collaborative. As a plus, students who participate in online courses often develop stronger digital skills, which can be beneficial in many areas of work and life.

    Personal enrichment: You may want to pursue an online graduate certificate without going for the full Master’s degree. Learning is rewarding and healthy; it doesn’t always have to be tied to a career plan.

    Check out some of our most popular online graduate certificates at Accelerated Pathways: Leadership, Marketing, Human Resources Management, Criminal Justice Leadership, Social-Emotional Learning, Public Administration Leadership, Healthcare Management, Instructional Design and Technology, Sport Management, Emergency Management Leadership, Fire/Rescue Executive Leadership, Project Management...So many great learning opportunities to choose from!

    How to obtain your online graduate certificate through Pearson Accelerated Pathways

    You’ve read this far down, so you must be feeling pretty convinced by now. Below are the steps to keep in mind for a graduate certificate through Accelerated Pathways. You can read on for more details about how the program works.

    1.  Choose a program: Select an area of study that fits your interests and career goals. All courses are 100% online and have monthly start dates for ultimate flexibility.
    2.  Apply: Once you have chosen a program, you will need to submit an online application. The application usually requires personal and academic information, including a transcript from your undergraduate studies.
    3. Complete the program requirements: Upon acceptance, you will need to complete the program requirements, which typically include completing a set of courses and maintaining a minimum GPA.
    4. Obtain your graduate certificate: After completing the program requirements, you will receive a graduate certificate from Pearson Accelerated Pathways. Certificates count for credits at partner universities where you can continue your studies if you wish to pursue a full Master’s degree.

    You can find the answers to questions that are floating excitedly around your brain. You can even sign up to connect with an advisor for a commitment-free conversation.

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  • How to Choose a College

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    top view of table with arrows pointing to different paths

    Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of choosing a college? We understand how intimidating it can seem. Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions you can make in life—with tons of factors involved like affordability, accreditation, location vs. online.

    While these considerations may seem complicated and overwhelming, don’t get discouraged! We’re experts at helping students research colleges and choose the right degree path.

    Check out these tips to get started!

    1.       Clarify your career goals

    Figuring out your professional goals may seem like a tough place to start. Perhaps you’d prefer to delay choosing a college major until after you’ve started college. However, we encourage you to start with the end in mind.

    Having a general idea of what you’d like to do after college will help you determine what type of education you’ll need. In turn, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices based on colleges that specialize in your preferred subjects of interest.

    To figure out your career goals and preferred degree majors, start by answering these five questions.

    2.       In-person or online college?

    Now that you have an idea of what you’d like to study, it’ll be easier to look for colleges that specialize in your major. But wait… there’s another decision to make first! Do you want to go to college online or in-person?

    Here are a few of the top reasons you might choose one over the other:

    Online:

    • Flexible schedule
    • Lower cost
    • Greater accessibility

    In-person:

    • Hands-on learning
    • Social/extracurricular activities
    • Campus living

    If you choose online college…

    You’ll have an array of options readily available at your fingertips. Even many previously in-person campuses now offer online degree programs – or a mix of online and in-person. You’ll also have opportunities to knock out your general education courses through a flexible program (like ours)—at a lower cost—and then transfer that credit into your graduating institution to finish out your degree.

    Since the pandemic, online degrees have become more mainstream and legitimized. Still, it’s important to find quality online learning. You can do that by making sure your online institution has regional accreditation. This is the standard accepted across a broad spectrum of institutions. It ensures that your hard-earned college credit is valid and can transfer to almost any college or university of your choice. (All of our Accelerated Pathways courses are regionally accredited and guaranteed to transfer!)

    If you choose in-person college…

    There will be several factors to consider, including whether you want to live on-campus (in a dorm) or off-campus. In addition to researching housing options, you’ll need to consider location, transportation, campus atmosphere, facilities, accessibility, course schedules, extracurricular activities and additional costs like meals, utilities, facility fees, etc.

    Once you have a few colleges in mind, it’s a great idea to visit them or do a campus tour. This will allow you to get a better understanding of the logistics and other details you may not have previously considered. You’ll have a better opportunity to compare campuses and figure out the best fit based on your unique needs. On your visits, be sure to ask any questions that you’re still unsure about—clarify your perception vs. the reality of attendance.

    3.       Talk with an academic advisor

    Here’s the best news about choosing a college… help is available! There are experts who know all the ins-and-outs of college admissions, degree programs, costs and more. They can help you navigate your way to the right school.

    In fact, our academic advisors do your college research for you... for free! We factor in:

    • Which majors interest you?
    • How many hours per week can you study?
    • What do you want out of your college experience?
    • Have you’ve already earned any college credit?

    Our academic advisor will conduct intensive research of thousands of colleges based specifically on your circumstance and preferences. They’ll even find out which colleges accept any prior credit you may have. Finally, they'll give you a custom College Options Report with a side-by-side comparison of the degree programs that best fit your preferences.

    While each educational institution has its own academic advisors who can tell you about their specific college programs, the academic advisors at Accelerated Pathways help you shop around and compare colleges. Why? Because we provide a different type of degree program—one that empowers you to earn your general education credit—fast and cheap—and then transfer it seamlessly to the college of your choice.

    4.       Compare your final options

    Once you narrow down your options, you’ll want to make final comparisons.

    Consider key factors like:

    • Which of the degrees can I obtain the fastest?   
    • Which of the schools costs the least?
    • Which of the options accepts most of my prior credit?
    • Which degree can I finish completely online?

    If you chat with one of our academic advisors, we'll carefully walk you through the College Options Report and explain the breakdown of colleges by degree, transferable credit, time to completion, cost and other important factors. In addition, you should go over these comparisons with parents, mentors or significant others. This is a big decision that may affect them too.

    5.       Commit and work hard

    Once you have enough information to make a college choice, commit to it and work hard! College will be difficult. It’ll require a lot of your time, focus and energy, and there will be moments when you just want to give up. Try to remember your intrinsic motivation, and think about why you wanted to be a better version of yourself—personally and professionally. Just know, you’re building a better future each time you sit down to study!

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    Ready for a free college consultation from one of our world-class academic advisors? Why not find out your college options and get expert help making the right choice. Get started here!

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  • 4 Steps to Start a New Career as a College Grad

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    two accomplished multiracial businessmen discussing idea new business projects at office desk, multi ethnic business group having pleasant time

    Breaking into a new career can be… tough business! Even if you’ve just earned a degree – in that field – most job descriptions will still require several years of experience to apply. We encourage you to apply anyway!

    Here’s why.

    As a college student or recent grad, you’ve probably already developed a lot of the knowledge and qualifications to ready yourself for the role. Even without the exact years of experience they want, you can still get the attention of employers and make the case for why you’re the best candidate.

    Here how!

    1.       Find ways to gain relevant experience

    You’re already earning a degree in your chosen field, which means you probably have up-to-date knowledge to offer your profession. Still, that doesn’t make up for a lack of experience. That’s why you should look for ways to get hand-on experience in addition to your schoolwork.

    One of the best ways is through an internship. Not only can you put your newfound knowledge to use, but you’ll also get a chance to grow your professional network and build your resume. Better yet, 37% of interns end up getting hired full-time by the organization. Check out these 7 Ways to Rock an Internship.

    If you can’t land an internship, try volunteering, attending industry events, participating in professional organizations, doing freelance work, creating personal projects or finding a mentor in your chosen field. Anything you can think of to build experience will make your case when it comes time to apply for jobs.

    2.       Tailor your skills to employer needs

    Even without prior job experience, you can still develop the right skills to create a strong impactful resume. Start by reading multiple job listings for your chosen career and note any common employer needs. Find ways to learn any skills that aren’t part of your school curriculum. For example, if employers require knowledge of specific software, sign up for a trial use of that software program and complete tutorials.  

    Be sure to reference these skills and keywords on your resume and cover letter when applying for jobs. It’s a great idea to tailor your application to fit the employer’s needs, rather than your own. Not only does this show that you’ve paid attention to what they want, but also that you're ready to meet their needs and be a team player. Check out additional tips on How to Write a Resume When You’re Still in College (With Examples).

    3.       Build your professional network

    In addition to applying for as many jobs as possible, you should also be networking. If you don’t already have a professional network, build one! LinkedIn is a great way to connect with people who are well-established in your chosen field. Check out How to Make a LinkedIn Profile as a College Student.

    Once your profile is built, start looking for professional organizations and industry associations to join. Any time you meet a potential life connection, add them on LinkedIn! You can also share your professional journey by posting things you’re working on, creative ideas and industry thoughts. Look for ways to show off your abilities and insert yourself in the conversation. This will give you a better chance of getting noticed, staying relevant and landing your dream job!

    4.       Refine your interview skills

    Once you finally get an interview, you’ll need to do tons of preparation. Remember, this is your moment to make your case! You’ll need to explain why the company should invest in you rather than someone with more experience.

    To show that you’re prepared for this role, you’ll need to thoroughly research the organization and plan to answer the typical job interview questions. In addition, go through their job listing again and be able to address everything they’re looking for. For any areas you’re lacking, let them know your willingness to compensate with hard work and perseverance.

    Finally, be sure to stress how excited you are to develop your skills, learn from the best and grow your career with them. For more interview tips, check out how to Ace the Interview to Land that Job or Internship.

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    Looking to build skills that help you start or break into a new career? Our academic counselors are experts at getting students from any starting point to their final goal. Reach out today for a free college consultation!

     

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  • Why Are Employers Taking a Skills-Based Approach to Talent Development?

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    interview situation with view of interviewer's hand holding a tablet with labeled lists for hard skills and soft skills

    Here’s an alarming number: 73% of workers are actively thinking about quitting their jobs. That's a lot. If The Great Resignation has taught employers any lesson, it’s this: Employees want the opportunity to learn and advance.

    However, simply providing generic tuition assistance or generalized learning programs may not get employees where they want to go. That’s why many employers have turned toward a skills-based approach to talent development—focusing on what an employee can do, rather than just what their role requires.

    Shifting your talent development focus

    By focusing on skill development, employers can gain a clear measure of employee proficiency and use it to provide the type of focused learning and career pathways that increase employee engagement while also making the employer more competitive. Not only does this deepen the organization’s talent pool, but it also democratizes its careers by creating equitable and transparent access to job opportunities.

    Giving employees the opportunities to advance their skills helps employers unlock internal talent mobility. Whether it's an employee who wants to upskill because their profession is constantly evolving, or they want to grow in their career to become more senior, or even if they want to reskill to start something brand new, employers should look for clear pathways to achieve these goals.

    According to Susan Manning, Senior Manager of Customer Education, Credly, “It’s really about assessing employee skills to determine the gap, then creating personalized development plans so they can actually increase their proficiency with a skill. Their performance then becomes proof of their development.” Having a skills-based development framework to enable a personalized learning experience moves the needle forward for both the employee and the employer.

    Different skills-based approaches

    A skills-based approach to talent development can include a broad spectrum of formal and informal learning programs—everything from strategic education benefits to credentialing, mentoring and new experiences. This approach recognizes that skill development is achievable in many forms. The key to these different approaches is in measuring development strategically to assess the skills your organization has and then create development plans to obtain needed skills in targeted ways.

    One method – credentialing – provides organizations with a way to invest in talent while also gaining measurable data points to understand where skills bench strengths across the organization. Andrew Vecchiarelli, Strategic Initiatives and Learning Manager, BMO Financial Group helped build an internal credentialing program to prepare employees for the future of work. The program, Demo Forward, offers multiple curriculums that cover skills such as data visualization, analytics, cybersecurity, and even power skills like influence and emotional intelligence. Digital badges are given out through Credly as a recognition of the work.

    As Andrew Vecchiarelli explained, “Because the program is voluntary and because there is a time commitment, depending on which curriculum you're looking at – it could be anywhere between 13 and 17 hours of work that goes into achieving a digital badge – it really is a clear indication of not only skill development, but of career interest and commitment by the employee. The digital credential actually becomes an evidence point of skill sets that the employee has, which allows our leaders to use it to help plan their own talent decisions. Then ideally, as we continue to look future-focused and through other technology integrations, it'll also suggest career opportunities to the employee that are aligned to their interests and career ambitions.”

    Other companies, particularly those with frontline workers, have found that skills-based development is best achieved by providing strategic education benefits with a range of targeted learning options and flexible, non-traditional degree programs, including bilingual options. Enabling employees to pursue their educational goals without taking on debt can be a primary motivator for many essential employees. This can also help to fill basic skill and language gaps that many employees may be lacking. Michael Karicher, Executive Vice President of HR and Training, Remington Hotels partnered with Accelerated Pathways for his talent development needs, explaining, “Their program helps fill a critical gap for parts of our workspace that traditional development programs don't serve very well.”

    Getting leadership buy-in

    By focusing on a personalized learning experience, employees can build a robust profile of skills that meet their career aspirations and drive the organization forward. However, finding the right skills-based approach requires data-driven decision-making and buy-in from leadership. According to Andrew Vecchiarelli, “Executive sponsorship can be the catalyst that drives your entire talent management engine, but it really takes thinking about how skills change your HR ecosystem and not just how it helps become a proof point of a particular learning experience.”

    Support from direct supervisors is also key to successful implementation, as they play a significant role as champions (or gatekeepers) in employee promotion and advancement. They’re frequently asked, ‘What do I need to do to get to the next level?’ If they’re willing to champion a new skills-based development approach, then the program will gain success and the employer will earn a reputation for its culture of fostering employee growth.

    Taking the first steps

    According to the Working Learners Index, 90% of employees say they would stay with their employer if education was offered as a benefit. Most organizations understand this and strive to offer talent development opportunities that deliver improved results. Ultimately, that’s what skills-based development is about—keeping the employee happy with their role, but also providing them opportunities to develop and move either laterally or vertically in the organization.

    Ready to shift to skills-based development? At Pearson, we have the right resources to help you customize the best approach for your workforce. Our programs aren't just discounts on tuition. We offer managed education services that target your skills gap, drive your business objectives and make you an employer of choice. Get in touch with us to learn more!

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  • Why a College Degree Is Important

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    young woman in cap and gown outdoors holding degree and smiling

    Wondering if a college degree is really worth the time and money investment? What if it doesn’t pay off? And what about the people who find success without a college degree?

    Here’s the thing… those situations are more of an exception than the rule. In the real world, people without a bachelor’s degree end up earning 35% less per year than those who graduated. In addition, bachelor’s degree requirements have become more commonplace for good-paying jobs.

    Overall, college is still the best way to set yourself up for success in life. Here are five reasons why.

    1.       Higher income

    According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average college graduate earns $78,000 per year, against an average of $45,000 per year for individuals with only a high school diploma. Even college dropouts are twice as likely to live in poverty compared with those who completed earned a degree.

    In the information age, this trend will only continue, and the best jobs with higher incomes will require a college degree. Bottom line… if you want a stable career where you can build your profession and earning potential over time, college is the way to go.

    2.       Better employer benefits

    Don’t want to end up in the gig economy with no health insurance or other safety nets? College graduates have greater access to employer benefits like paid time off, retirement savings plans and other full-time perks. In fact, degree holders are 47 percent more likely to have health insurance through their jobs than individuals with just a high school diploma.

    These types of benefits can have long-term significance, especially if you live in a country with soaring healthcare costs and expensive retirement living. Having a full-time job with good benefits can help you build long-term security and savings—rather than being wiped out by an emergency or sudden health scare. You’ll have the chance to live and retire more securely.

    3.       Lower unemployment rates

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics consistently shows that college graduates have lower unemployment rates than individuals who did not go to college. In February 2022, high school graduates with no college had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, whereas those with a bachelor’s degree had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.2 percent.

    Bachelor’s degree holders have better chances of possessing the skills that appeal to employers and therefore of getting hired and earning more. Not only does unemployment decrease considerably for college graduates, but they can also move up the career ladder faster and find more career options.

    4.       More career opportunities                                                                                                                        

    As mentioned, college graduates have a wider variety of career options than other workers do. Having a bachelor’s degree allows you to apply to many different career fields, even outside of your major. In fact, over 80 percent of jobs in four of the fastest-growing occupations—healthcare, STEM, education and government services—require a bachelor’s degree.

    Having more job opportunities also means having a greater chance of finding a career that you enjoy. For example, if you majored in psychology but eventually decided that you’d prefer to teach, you could still qualify for a teaching position and could transition more easily than someone who has to start their education from scratch.

    5.       Stronger personal development

    Earning a bachelor’s degree is a terrific way to let employers know that you’re a goal-oriented applicant who can provide great communication, leadership and problem-solving skills—all attributes which are key to the future of work

    However, a degree is much more than just proving your value to others. College helps you achieve personal growth and self-development. There’s a deeper type of learning that you gain as you pull yourself out of your comfort zone and endure the academic, personal and social challenges faced as an incoming first-year student. College challenges you intellectually while also giving you the opportunity to explore your interests, expand your mind, reach new goals and define who you want to be in the world.

    In a nutshell, earning a degree is empowering! You can gain lasting personal benefits such as a boost in confidence, improved mental health and a greater sense of achievement.

    Ready to do college your way?

    At Accelerated Pathways, we empower you get the degree you want, from the school you want, at the speed you want… all without going into debt. Our students are free from the limitations of traditional college—no classrooms, set schedules or overpriced textbooks!

    No matter where you are in completing a degree, you can do it faster—and cheaper—by knocking out college credit with Accelerated Pathways. Why not start today?

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  • How to Make a LinkedIn Profile as a College Student

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    Screen shot of LinkedIn profile of a college student

    Important announcement: Every college student should have a LinkedIn profile! Don’t worry if you don’t have much—or any—professional work experience yet. You can still build a great presence that helps you define your career goals and connect to the professional world.

    Think of LinkedIn as your interactive resume—a place to demonstrate your skills, tell your story and network with employers and professionals so you can begin to build your career. Need help getting started? Follow these steps!

    1.       Take a professional photo

    This doesn’t have to be the standard studio headshot, but it's a good idea to have someone who can take a photo of you in good lighting looking professional.  

    Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is not the place to show off your quirky, silly or flirty side! This is where you want to explore your more refined, mature self. If you’re unsure of what to wear or how formal to go, check out some of the other professionals on LinkedIn in your field of interest. That should give you a promising idea of the etiquette and standard for that industry.

    Finally, don’t forget to smile! People want to work with friendly, well-rounded individuals, so an approachable demeanor can go a long way.

    2.       List your desired job in your headline  

    Your LinkedIn headline is a great place to define your profession. Don’t use this space to tell the world that you’re a student or what you’re studying. Instead, use your headline to tell others what role you can do or want to do.

    For example, if you’re studying Computer Science and specifically want to work as a website developer, try a headline like “Website Developer | Experience with Adobe Dreamweaver, Sublime Text & WordPress.” Maybe you’re studying education and want to become an elementary teacher? How about “Early Childhood Educator | Passionate about Montessori & nature schools”? You can even create a pitch in your headline that outlines your sense of purpose.

    People can find out where you are in the process of gaining experience, finishing school or earning certifications in the rest of your profile, so keep your headline focused on your primary career goal.

    3.       Use keywords in your About and Skills sections

    Your About section is an excellent way to introduce yourself on LinkedIn and quickly advertise your qualifications. Think of it like the Summary section of your resume and create a brief statement, about 1-2 sentences, focused on your relevant experience as well as your career-developed skills.

    Try adding in keywords and tailoring your skills to employer needs. To achieve this, check out some job listings you’re interested in and note specific requirements and desires. Also note any words or phrases used by others in your industry to describe their roles. Include as many as possible in both your About and Skills sections.

    This will help recruiters find you, since many of them search for specific skills and terms when looking for qualified job candidates.

    4.       Add relevant experience only

    Your Experience section is a place to add any work you’ve done that’s relevant to the profession you want. This is not the place to add the summer job you had at a pizza shop or your part-time position stocking shelves. Employers, hiring managers and professional colleagues don’t need to know about every paid position you’ve ever held. Not only can that distract from your qualifications, but it can clutter up your profile and make it seem like you’re not clear about your career goals or employers’ needs.

    If you’re lacking work experience, add in internships, volunteer work, leadership experience, extracurricular activities or other related involvement and training you can think of to compensate. Maybe you were a “Freelance Web Developer” who finished a website project for a friend’s business. If it’s relevant, add it! Under each job title, write a short paragraph about what you accomplished there rather than listing a bunch of bullet points. Your profile should tell more of a story about your experience than a resume would.

    5.       Beef up your Education section

    What you’re lacking in your Experience section can also be made up for in your Education section. Use this area to add in any awards, activities, academic societies you’ve been involved in or other educational accomplishments. You can even highlight relevant courses you’ve taken, particularly if they were outside of your normal schoolwork and/or recognized by known organizations.

    While you'll want to add in as much of your educational accomplishments as possibile, keep your list of schools professional by displaying only the ones that relate your profession.

    6.       Show your work under Projects

    The Projects section is where you’ll want to build your portfolio. Do you have any examples of your work such as architectural plans, photography, writing, graphic designs, spreadsheets or anything else that shows off the skills you claim you have? LinkedIn lets you share rich media and other files to let employers see exactly what you can do.

    You can optimize this section with projects from various class projects, freelance gigs or just personal projects you created specifically to highlight your skills for employers. Be sure to add in any detailed descriptions of the project and include any team members who may have contributed to the work.

    7.       Develop your story

    Now that you’ve built an awesome profile, it’s time to start developing your story. Unlike a traditional resume that gives a glimpse into your past, LinkedIn lets you show and tell your professional story by sharing posts about things you’re working on, creative ideas, industry thoughts and engagement with other professionals and industry associations.

    This type of “skill-based storytelling” is the future of the resume and will set you apart in your industry. People will be able to see who you are, how you interact and what you’re about. Getting involved in this way also helps you to keep pace with the latest industry developments and future of work.

    Look for ways to show off your abilities, insert yourself in the conversation or even develop a bit of your own branding and marketing. Through posts, videos, creative contributions and other submissions, you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed, staying relevant and finding your dream job!

    8.       Build your network

    There are plenty of professional organizations and industry associations you can join on LinkedIn. One college student had this advice for building your LinkedIn network, “When meeting someone in class, a networking event, a coffee chat or any other occasion involving a potential life connection, you may as well add them as a connection on LinkedIn!”

    LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to attach a note to any connection request. Write a little personalized message saying hello and reminding the person how you met or explaining why you’d like to connect. Once you’re connected to a core group of professionals, check out their connections on LinkedIn and begin adding secondary connections. It’s easier to add mutuals when there’s just one degree of separation.

    9.       Give to get recommendations

    Did you have a great supervisor at an internship? What about a mentor who taught you the ropes? A leader at your volunteer group who inspired you? Give them a recommendation on LinkedIn!

    The best way to get recommendations is to give them. Rather than just requesting recommendations from people you know or have worked with, give them one and they’ll likely return the favor. Try to get at least one recommendation for each role you’ve listed under experience.

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    And voilà! You’re now on your way to getting recognized in your desired profession and having a successful start to your career. Be sure to check out LinkedIn’s profile checklist as a final step. And if you’re interested in building a great student resumé next, check out this blog!

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  • 5 Questions to Help You Choose Your Major

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    young male thinking with hand under chin, looking up, in red shirt, against light blue background

    Picking a major is a… major decision! Need some help? Our advice is to start with the end in mind. We don’t mean what you want to do in college. Instead, think about what you want to do after college. 

    That can seem like a difficult place to start, especially since careers paths aren’t straight lines with final destinations. However, it’s important to gain a general idea of what you’d like to do before figuring out what type of education you’ll need.

    This will require a bit of research and soul-searching, so grab some paper and get ready to answer some questions!

    First, let’s consider the skills and competencies you already have.

    1.       Who are you?

    Knowing your gifts, talents, likes, dislikes, goals and aspirations is the first step. That’ll make it easier to match your capabilities with the opportunities and needs of society. The point isn’t to decide your future. It’s to start gaining momentum in a direction you’re confident in.

    Write down your answers to the following questions:

    • What activities and subjects are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? 

    Examples: baseball, volunteering with children, organizing the spice cabinet. Identifying your strengths will help guide you toward a career that you’ll look forward to every day. 

    • What activities and subjects are you bad at? What do you not enjoy? 

    Examples: talking on the phone, Algebra, being indoors. Identifying your weaknesses is just as helpful as identifying strengths. This will help you understand what kind of jobs aren’t for you. 

    • What projects have you completed that make you proud?

    Examples: I built a model airplane, created a social media campaign, canvassed for an environmental cause. This will help you identify what kind of jobs you find fulfilling.

    • How do you like to spend your free time? 

    Examples: playing video games, traveling, exploring the outdoors. This will help you determine your job preferences and desired lifestyle.

    2.       What are your skills and preferences?

    Now, let’s look at all the answers you’ve provided so far. Try to identify the underlying skills, preferences and personality traits that connect your answers. Really stretch here—look for commonalities. This will help you identify employable skills and your work style.

    Example: Someone who listed “blogging” under their likes and “Physics” under their dislikes, might find the following commonalities: 

    My skills: Writing, communication, storytelling
    My preferences: Creative projects, things that don’t require math or science

    Now it’s your turn! Create two columns labeled skills and preferences and write down yours.

    3.       What do you want? 

    Now that you understand a little more about yourself, your skills and your preferences, let’s think about what you’d like in return. We don’t mean just a paycheck. Job benefits extend beyond compensation. Some of the more important job benefits are found in the work itself or even in what that job allows you to do outside of work. 

    Think about the kind of life you want to lead and let that guide you toward a career that will support those unique aims—either directly or indirectly. 

    Answer the following questions: 

    • What are some of your personal goals? 

    Do you want to climb Mount Everest? Direct a movie? Climb the corporate ladder? Change lives through social work? Write it down! 

    • Is there anything you want to improve in the world? 

    Working isn’t just about earning a living. It’s about giving back and being a positive influence on society. What positive influences do you feel the world needs? 

    • What is your ideal lifestyle and salary? 

    Do you want to live on the beach in California? Do you want to work from home, retire early? What does “the good life” mean to you? 

    4.       What are your top 5 careers? 

    Now it’s time to combine the “skills and preferences” lists you made with your notes on goals and lifestyle to find some actual professions that are perfect for you.  

    Warning: This will take a little research! Here’s how to get started:

    • Check out job listings.

    The internet is your friend here. Check out some job listing websites and search for the skills you listed earlier. If you’re having a tough time coming up with ideas, don’t feel dumb Googling things like “active professions” or “jobs that work with kids.”

    • Research different jobs in the same field.

    If you know you’re interested in journalism, that doesn’t mean you have to become the next Lois Lane. Lots of people (with lots of different skill sets) work in journalism—writers, reporters, editors, freelancers, marketers, etc. Keep your mind open and see what’s really out there!

    • Check out career salaries.

    Every career advances. As you gain more experience, your compensation will rise too. So, when comparing careers to your “ideal salary,” don’t just look at the starting salaries. Think about the future of that career too. 

    Now, based on your research, make a list of your top 5 dream careers! 

     Example:

    1. Video Production
    2. Video and Graphics Editor
    3. Graphic Designer
    4. Multimedia Specialist
    5. Content Strategist

    5.       Which college majors apply to your career choices? 

    Now that you understand where you want to head after college, choosing a major is as simple as researching the career choices you picked and doing a bit more digging to find out their educational requirements.

    For each of the five careers you listed, answer the following questions: 

    • Does this career field require a degree or other credential? If so, what kind? 
    • Is an associate degree enough to get started? Will you need a bachelor’s? A master’s? Or can you get started just by earning a certification?
    • Does this career require a specific major? What majors do industry professionals recommend? 
    • Which of these majors most excites you, fits with your interests or aligns with your personal goals? 
    • Can you find an internship or mentor to make sure you really like this field?

    Congratulations—You did it

    You’ve successfully narrowed your college options from “I don’t know—anything, I guess” to just a few highly-specific target majors that are guaranteed to get you started in the right direction.  

    Now, do college your way. 

    Ready to find out more about your final major picks and craft the perfect college experience for that major? We can help!

    At Accelerated Pathways, we empower you get the degree you want, from the school you want, at the speed you want… all without going into debt. Our students are free from the limitations of traditional college—no classrooms, set schedules or overpriced textbooks!

    No matter what career or major you’re interested in, you can do it faster—and cheaper—by knocking out college credit with Accelerated Pathways. 

    Click here to learn more

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    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • What to Know Before You Start

    Peter Marshall

    close up of graduate hands holding college diplomas

    The decision to start or return to college comes with a range of emotions… excitement, motivation and even nervousness. Here’s the good news: These feelings are normal! Having been a Success Coach Manager for 12 years at Accelerated Pathways, I’ve worked with thousands of students through all the ups and downs of getting a degree.

    To help you along your journey, here are a few things to know before starting your online education.

    1.       Plan ahead

    Studying at your own pace is a key advantage of Accelerated Pathways. However, it can be dangerous if you don’t develop a plan ahead of time.

    Before starting, determine how many study hours you’ll need to set aside weekly to complete your course. For example, it takes 10 hours of study each week to complete a course in eight weeks. Find your course term length and then figure out how many hours you’ll need to study each week to complete that course on time.

    Next, figure out when those hours will take place during your week. The orientation course has a calendar that you fill out to know when to study. Work with your Success Coach on a plan to adhere to those study hours. I tell my learners this: Protect your study hours, treat them like a part-time job and you will be successful!

    2.       Find a routine

    Studying autonomously has amazing benefits. It allows you to study the way that works best with your personal learning style. However, this also requires discipline.

    Here’s one tip to be successful while studying autonomously: Find or create a study area that’s free from distractions. Throughout my master's degree, I had one place I studied. All my study needs were there—my computer, notecards, pens and highlighters. My phone was left in another room, so I’d use a computer timer to set my study for 25 minutes. Then I’d take a five-minute break before returning to study for another 25 minutes. This routine helped me to graduate in 10 months!

    Be sure to work with your Success Coach to find a routine that works best for you. Because Accelerated Pathways courses are similar, once you’ve found a schedule pattern that works, it’ll most likely work for the rest of your courses.

    3.       Discover your intrinsic motivation

    Here’s one of the most important things I’ve discovered over the last decade as a Success Coach: Learners with intrinsic motivation are often more successful than learners who rely on external motivations such as a better job, more pay or even encouragement from others. While these are great to have, they don’t provide an immediate reward for learners. They’re future motivators.

    Intrinsic motivation is the desire within a learner to better themselves. They want to complete tasks and assignments because it helps them feel better about themselves and gives the immediate reward of self-improvement. They feel joy and motivation when learning something new, completing a course or turning in an assignment.

    To build your intrinsic motivation, try to recall the desire within yourself to want to go to school. Focus on why you wanted to challenge yourself and how you’re building your personal development each time you sit down to study. This will drive you forward, and you’ll be able to find that immediate satisfaction in a job well done.

    4.       Stay connected

    One of the biggest challenges of online learning is the isolation that comes with it. You study alone. You go to class alone. You make your study plans alone. Unfortunately, this can lead to depression and burn out.

    That’s why Accelerated Pathways pairs you with a supportive Success Coach, so you are not doing this alone. However, we also encourage you to find an accountability partner or partners. Your coach is there when you need to vent, create study plans or solve learning obstacles. But having someone you can see and interact with in real life will provide more complete support and help ease the feeling of isolation.

    Look for a friend, family member or fellow student who can help you with study ideas and hold you accountable for the goals you’ve set. This will take honesty and often stepping outside of your comfort zone but having this type of community support will be important to your success!

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    Just starting your journey with Accelerated Pathways? Remember, your Success Coach is always just a call or email away. We’re here to cheerlead you from start to finish, help you reach your full potential and celebrate when you fulfill your goals. You've got this!

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    Peter Marshall

  • Aspiring Teacher Shares Her Inspirational College Journey

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    portrait of Nailah seated casually in chair smiling at camera

    Meet Nailah! This Accelerated Pathways student is an aspiring teacher with a passion for instruction and student engagement. However, she previously struggled to finish her bachelor’s degree at a traditional four-year college while trying to balance the demands of a full-time job.

    Thankfully, with the flexibility of Accelerated Pathways, she’s now on her way to finishing her degree, earning her teacher’s certificate and changing the world!

    Check out our interview with Nailah to learn more about her inspiring story.

    What made you choose Accelerated Pathways?

    The program really stood out because it’s designed for people like me, who need the flexibility of an accredited program. Since my degree program is self-paced, I don’t have the pressure to take on more than I can handle. It fits into my life with work, but it also doesn’t take exceptionally long to finish and graduate.

    Why did you decide to major in Psychology?

    I’m fascinated with the “why” behind human behavior. There’s always an origin to behavior—whether good or bad. When I see the world from that perspective, I feel it allows me to be more patient and gracious. I knew that going to school to understand the way the mind works and how it ties into behavior would only make me a better teacher.

    How’s your education helping with your career and life goals?

    Going back to school has given me a boost of confidence – not only in the workplace, but also in my personal life. I would never tell anyone that going back to school is the easiest thing to do, but—my goodness—has it been worth it!

    In the workplace, I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned in a lot of my classes, especially in the way that I show up for my team professionally. I’ve learned how to celebrate myself, how to better prioritize my time, how to better manage my mental health and how to give my best—even when I don’t feel like it.

    How’s your experience with the Accelerated Pathways team?

    I have nothing but amazing things to say about every person I’ve encountered. They are exceptionally supportive, and I can tell that they truly want to see me succeed. They’ve gone above and beyond to help me be the best that I can be—cheering me on from the very beginning—from monthly meetings with my advisor to having access to the Student Support team. Accelerated Pathways has offered me more support than I’ve ever gotten at a traditional four-year university.

    How soon until you finish your degree?

    I started Accelerated Pathways only having enough credits to classify as a sophomore. Now, I’m proud to say that I have three classes left before graduation! On top of that, I’ve made the Dean’s List every term at my graduating institution. This is really the biproduct of having the best support system with this program that I could ask for. Every step of this journey has been filled with the most incredible people!

    Any post-graduation plans? What’s next?

    After graduation, I plan to study for my teaching certification exam. I’m excited about the potential future of being an educator. Hopefully, I’ll be in the classroom soon – helping to shape futures! I’m looking forward to that full-circle moment, when I can see how the puzzle pieces truly come together from start to finish.

    Any advice you’d give to others wanting to pursue a degree?

    Just do it! Push through the fear of what it’ll be like or even the fear of not being successful because I’m here to tell you that it is more than possible, and I can guarantee that you will have the best cheerleaders with this program. You are capable of so much, especially with the right support system!

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    We totally agree! Thinking of joining Nailah and thousands of other working adults in pursuing your educational goals? You’ll be amazed at how easy we make it to earn a degree completely debt-free! Learn more today.

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    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS