• 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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    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • 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

  • How to Avoid Student Loan Debt

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    bag of money next to bar graphs increasing

    Student loan borrowers in the United States currently owe a whopping $1.75 trillion in student loan debt! As the costs of college continue to increase and more students get stuck in the debt trap, many are looking for new ways to afford a degree.

    Luckily, there are alternatives. In fact, 94% of Accelerated Pathways’ students graduate completely debt-free!

    Check out these top 3 ways you can avoid student loan debt and get a head-start in life.

    1.       Choose an affordable degree

    With so many college options available today, there are more opportunities to reduce the costs of college while still getting a high-quality education. For example, choosing an online degree program can cut the most significant costs of traditional college like campus fees, equipment charges, textbooks, etc.

    At Accelerated Pathways, we offer low-cost online courses that are regionally accredited. That means you can easily transfer your credit and graduate from your college of choice while saving a ton of money. Our academic advisors can find affordable degree paths for any educational goal. They create custom side-by-side degree comparisons to help students see which degree plan is most affordable and find ways to graduate completely debt-free.

    2.       Work while studying 

    Working full-time or part-time while attending college is another great way to avoid student loan debt. If you can pay for college as you go, instead of taking out loans to pay off large lump sums, then you’ll be way ahead of the game.

    Working while studying is also a lot easier if you’re taking self-paced, online courses. We give students the flexibility to study around their work schedule—anytime, anywhere. You can also start courses whenever it’s convenient for you, instead of having to wait for a semester start date or course schedule.

    Before you know it, all your hard work will pay off because, once you earn your degree, you can qualify for a promotion, a new job or higher pay. The difference is now you don't have to pay off student loans with your earnings or spend decades recovering your opportunity cost.

    3.       Take advantage of your employer’s tuition assistance

    Did you know that many employers provide educational benefits as a way to help their employees earn a degree? This is an excellent way to subsidize your education and avoid student loan debt.

    If you’re planning to work while attending college, then consider getting a job with an employer who offers tuition reimbursement assistance. On average, companies provide around $6,000 per employee per year.

    Already have a job? Ask your employer if they offer tuition assistance. If you’re looking for a job, check out these employers who offer educational benefits. By learning how to take advantage of your employer’s education benefits, you can earn a low to no-cost degree.

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    We started Accelerated Pathways because we believe college shouldn’t be a debt sentence. Our goal is to help students find the most flexible, affordable degree path possible and graduate completely debt-free.

    Ready to learn your options and avoid the student loan trap? We’re here for you! Check out our easy degree pricing.

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    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • 3 Skills Future Business Leaders Will Need

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    man in skyscraper overlooking futuristic city

    The digital age has created the need for a new kind of leadership. In the face of constantly evolving technologies and rapidly changing markets, business leaders are increasingly being asked to implement new innovations and cutting-edge alternatives to previous legacy systems to stay competitive.

    To succeed in this fast-moving environment, the leaders of today and tomorrow will need to be able to offer three distinct qualities:

    1.       Vision 

    Vision is essential to developing a coherent strategy and directing results in a rapidly advancing world. Current and future leaders will need to be able to provide their organization with the ability to envision and drive innovation in a useful way. According to MITSloan, these leaders will need to “help build digital capabilities by implementing the right technologies into the right parts of their customer experience, operations, employee experience, and business models.”

    In addition, leaders must be prepared to adjust their vision and course depending on new circumstances. This means being able to fully understand your industry and the enormous impact digital transformation has on your business and society as a whole. Leaders who can create a clear vision and execute it well will find success. Those who try to “wing it” won’t last long, as their lack of vision and direction will lead to confusion and delays, thereby preventing rapid innovation and the ability to compete.

    2.       Agility

    Leaders who can quickly assess new situations and respond with smart and effective decisions are highly valued. Agility is a vital response to more complex and volatile markets. Supporting innovation under these conditions means understanding that projects you’re working on can suddenly lose significance or change course. As a leader, you’ll need to be able to manage a flexible team who can adapt quickly and execute changes effectively.

    Furthermore, you’ll need to accomplish these goals with a team made up of a mixture of workers—from fulltime employees to gig workers to contractors and even AI. Markets have proven to reward organizations that can curate the best talent from around the world and manage their resources and capacity with a willingness to change, evolve and adapt. By establishing a work culture and team structure that encourages creativity and rapid innovation, leadership can ensure their organization thrives in a fast-paced world.

    3.       Support

    The future of leadership is also about empowering others to self-organize and operate in a less hierarchical system. This not only encourages agility, but it also allows for greater participation, involvement and contribution from everyone on the team. Leaders should take a more supportive role—encouraging, inspiring and nurturing others to grow and collaborate as they work remotely from all over the world.

    In this supportive leadership role, part of your focus needs to be on connecting people to resources that can help them succeed, gain new skills and advance. You’ll need to find opportunities to both serve and educate your talent in a way that fosters a positive company culture and builds community. ​​By providing learning, mentorship, empowerment and growth opportunities, leaders in the digital age can deliver improved results not just for the organization, but for society as a whole. 

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    Looking to developing your leadership skills or earn your business degree? We’ve got you covered! At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we give you the freedom to earn a degree your way—anytime, anywhere. See how it works.

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  • Study Motivation: Try These 6 Tricks!

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    woman studying at computer

    Your test is tomorrow. You’ve been trying to study for three hours now. So far… you’ve made two snacks, checked your phone 12 times, folded one pile of laundry and made a cool little beat on your desk.

    Intervention time!

    Stop procrastinating and try these six ways to get motivated to study.

    1.       Change your location

    Switch it up! You’ve been dragging your lifeless body back and forth to the same spot where you plopped your laptop – only to find your place in your textbook and then immediately lose motivation again.

    Unplug that laptop and take it to a new location! How about a good coffee shop, outdoor patio, local library or even just another room in your house or building?

    Sometimes all you need is a good scene shift to get your head in the right study space.

    2.       Share your new knowledge

    Learning gives you new material for conversations, posts, jokes and texts. Try to stay motivated by thinking of ways you can share your newfound knowledge.

    Imagine posting your silly side thoughts, like:

    “Wow, just read in my history textbook that Alexander the Great was accidentally buried alive. I think I’m cool with just being average now.”

    Even if your new brand of educational humor is corny, guess who will like it? Your mom! Therefore, it’s a must. Also, check out these 13 Ways to Study at Home Without Going Crazy.

    3.       Give yourself rewards

    You did the work, now you get a reward – yay! Just think… what rewards motivate you?

    Is there something reasonable that you can gift yourself after a good study session? Maybe a new song on iTunes? Every time you finish reading 20 pages, you get to download one new song. Yeee… dance party!

    Here are some more ideas for study rewards to keep you motivated.

    4.       Make your study area fabulous

    Is your study area in a dusty corner with no windows, artwork or plants? Is there a sad calendar curling up at the edges pinned above your monitor?

    Time for a change! Take a minute to look up some cool study space ideas on Pinterest or furniture websites. Get inspired.

    Now look for ways to make your study area more fabulous on your budget. Head to the thrift store, repurpose those kitchen crates or even frame that poster that’s been rolled up in your closet.

    You deserve a nice place to study. P.S. – That includes having a good chair.

    5.       Fake it ‘til you make it

    You know that one subject that bores you out of your mind? Time to go the opposite direction and pretend to love it… obsessively!

    Here’s you doing your biology homework now:

    Oh wow! You mean to tell me that cultured cells expressing proteins of interest are actually allowed to take up radioactively labeled amino acids for a brief interval or “pulse”? How am I’m just now finding this out?! What else happens during the pulse-chase protocol? I must find out!”

    Embrace that nerd energy—no matter how forced or sarcastic. It might just be the key to psyching out your mind, and, hey, maybe you’ll actually become obsessed with the subject. Worth a try!

    6.       Remember why you wanted to study

    Flashback to a younger, more idealistic you—fresh as a spring breeze and ready to fill your intellect with knowledge. Your future is looking bright and sunny… uh oh, waitflash forward to now

    You’re on your third exam and second term paper for the week, plus your job just called you in for an extra shift. How are you ever going to finish everything?! Your body is weary and physically craving that vacation you went on in 2018.

    Look… school is crazy tough. But try to remember why you wanted to study. You know it’ll lead to brighter horizons, more personal development, greater opportunities and new connections.

    You don’t want to work that terrible customer service job for the rest of your life... do you? Didn’t think so! So, just remember why you’re learning and go hit those books.

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    At Accelerated Pathways, we’re here to cheerlead you the whole way through your studies. Your personal academic coach is always just a chat away and ready to make sure you’re motivated, on target and meeting your life goals.

    Want to knock out your gen ed courses in an easy, supportive, flexible way and still graduate from the college of your choice? Click here to find out how.

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    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • How to Succeed as a First-Generation College Student

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    College Grad

    Being the first in your family to earn a college degree is a major accomplishment. First-generation college students can open the door to new opportunities for themselves and their families. Their success can also uplift their communities as they serve as role models and leaders.

    Unfortunately, first-gen college students also tend to face more obstacles. Many come from poor-performing high schools, low-income backgrounds and other socioeconomic disadvantages. In addition, they typically don’t have parents who are able to navigate or financially support their academic journey. Combined, these factors lead to higher college drop-out rates.

    If you’re a first-generation college student, we want to see you succeed. Check out these five tips to help you make it across the graduation stage!

    1. Ask for help

    First-generation college students tend to be resourceful, driven and independent. Don’t try to do everything on your own! Be sure you reach out for help throughout your college journey. Consult with anyone you can—teachers, mentors, academic advisors, financial aid experts—about everything from admissions to loans, student jobs and tutoring.

    Don’t be embarrassed to mention your lack of college funding or other key supports. You’re taking the initiative to improve yourself, and that’s a noble cause. It’s extra important that you get the assistance you need and let others know that you need it. The experts are there for a reason – so reach out to them throughout your academic journey!

    2. Apply for financial aid

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), first-generation and low-income students are less likely to complete a FASFA application. This financial aid application process can seem cumbersome, especially for those whose parents have difficulty providing the requested documentation. This means missing out on key financial aid that can help pay for higher education.

    Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to understanding what federal aid you qualify. Funding a college education can be the biggest obstacle for first-generation college students, so it’s important to understand the costs and look for ways to subsidize them – through grants, scholarships and other available resources.

    3. Pace yourself

    As the first in your family to go to college, you may feel immense pressure to succeed. You might have the urge to overextend yourself with all the extracurricular activities and student body associations. In addition, you may have to work a part- or even full-time job while attending college—not just to support yourself but also to help your family.

    It’s important to find a school-work-life balance that you can maintain. Be sure to prioritize your studies, but don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. You don’t want to burn out and then drop out. Protect your time and your mental health. That may mean taking fewer classes at a time and graduating slower than some of your peers. But remember, college is not a race—it’s a goal.

    4. Don’t make comparisons

    Those who come from affluent, higher-educated families can make college seem like a breeze. It can be hard not to notice the difference in their college experience vs. yours, especially if you have to work and still take on debt to accomplish your goals.

    Try to remember that we all start from different points in life and have our own unique talents. Don’t compare yourself to others or feel like you don’t have the same rights to be there. Many first-generation students experience “imposter syndrome,” a sense that they’re out of place or don’t belong. Others feel culture shock and have difficulty assimilating to a new academic culture.

    This is all part of the growing pains process. Surround yourself with as many supportive people as possible. Your experience counts, and your struggles will be worth it. Be the self-made success story when you cross that graduation stage!

    5. Commit

    College requires a lot of blood, sweat and tears. There will be times when you just want to quit. Don’t! Dropping out can have serious personal and financial impacts on your life. You may be required to pay back grants or loans without the benefits of earning a degree. Quitting can also be demoralizing—making you feel like you're unable to accomplish important life goals.

    Give yourself the patience to make mistakes, deal with setbacks and then get back up and keep fighting. It’s okay to pick a major that you’re passionate about if it helps you stay committed. Many first-gen college students feel pressure to choose a career that makes their family proud. You're already doing a lot of heavy lifting just to attend college, so give yourself a break by learning something that interests and inspires you personally.

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    At Accelerated Pathways, we love helping first-generation college students reach their goals! Our academic advisors are great at doing the academic research, helping you understand your college options and supporting you the whole way. Reach out today for a completely free college consultation

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  • 7 Ways to Rock Your Internship

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    7 Ways to Rock Your Internship

    If you landed a job as an intern – congrats! Internships are an excellent way to jumpstart your career.

    Not only can you gain hands-on experience in your field of interest, 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.

    With such an important opportunity to build your livelihood, you’ll want to do a stellar job. Here are seven tips to help you rock your internship!

    1. Research before starting

    You’ve done the initial research to get the internship – great job! Now take it a step further. Try to learn anything you can about the line of work, company background, leaders and even industry jargon and insider terms. Knowing what all those acronyms mean can come in handy. Check out the latest industry news, blogs or trade magazines and look up definitions as you go. It might even be a good idea to ask your internship supervisor if there are specific materials you can review prior to getting started.

    2. Communicate and network

    You may feel nervous about being a rookie in a new workplace. Don’t use that as an excuse to be a wall flower! Get in there and communicate, ask questions and build relationships. Show your colleagues that you’re interested in them and motivated to learn. Start conversations by asking about the business or the industry news you’ve been reading. You’re there to learn, so open conversations with the spirit of inquiry.

    Build as many relationships as possible and be sure to add your new colleagues to your professional networks, like LinkedIn. Breaking into a new industry can be more about who you know than what you know, so meet as many people as possible. When it comes time to find a full-time job, you’ll have that much more support.

    3. Show initiative 

    Volunteer for as many projects as you can and show your eagerness to help out. Don’t overextend yourself too much, but definitely look for ways to demonstrate that you have the passion and motivation to succeed. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on your assignments or request feedback about your performance. This shows a willingness to reflect on your work and make the changes necessary to succeed. Remember, your internship is an opportunity to prove your capabilities. Be a go-getter while you’re there!

    4. Be Punctual

    Don Marquis famously said, “Punctuality is one of the cardinal business virtues.” You may be a busy student with lots of personal obligations just trying to fit in an internship. Remember though, you’re building your professional reputation. Being on time is huge. This is how others will interpret your dedication, commitment, self-discipline, organizational skills, time management skills, credibility and other key markers of professionality. Being on time seems like an easy task – but don’t take it for granted! Plan ahead, stay mindful, complete assignments by their deadline and—most of all—show up on time.

    5. Look professional

    Dress codes can vary widely by workplace. Even if your internship is in an environment where people show up in sweats and sneakers, avoid the urge to be as casual. It’s better to err on the side of overdressed rather than underdressed—even if it’s just for Zoom meetings. Appropriate etiquette is a sign of common courtesy and respect, especially for newcomers. A professional wardrobe can get you farther than you realize. If you have to buy a few new outfits, it’ll be worth the cost down the road as you enter your field as a professional.

    6. Temper expectations

    Expectations can be a tricky thing when you’re first entering a profession. You may have one idea of what your industry or role as an intern will be like, then get there and it’s completely different. Or maybe the supervisor only gives you mundane tasks. We’ve all heard horror stories of interns being treated like errand runners or coffee fetchers. Try to stay humble and flexible. Remember that even if you don’t gain a ton of knowledge, you’ll still be making important connections and getting a foot in the door. This can be worth just as much—if not more—than learning about your profession in a classroom setting.

    7. Say thank you

    It can be hard to stay thankful when you’re doing unpaid work. Try to keep in mind that the organization is also putting in the effort to take on someone with little experience. Interns can be a sink on their resources and time, so be sure to remain grateful for the opportunity. After your internship, it’s an excellent idea to send a handwritten thank you card to anyone who assisted or influenced you. Gestures of gratitude can go a long way in building lasting professional relationships. Ultimately, it can lead to an opportunity when a new position opens up and you’re remembered for your graciousness.

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    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS