• Is College Worth the Cost?

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    Is College Worth the Cost?

    Getting a bachelor’s degree is a great idea… but it’s an expensive one. It’s hard to know how much debt you might incur in the process or how long it could take to pay back.

    Bottom line… is it worth it? Does the cost of college pay off in the end?

    We decided to look at three possible options:

    1. Going to college on loans

    2. Skipping college altogether

    3. Working while taking online courses

    How much would each of these choices actually cost you? And how can each decision impact your finances, career and life?

    Check out what we found!

    1. Going to college on loans

    Let’s say you go off to college, graduate and find a decent job. You're making good money and doing pretty well for yourself. That's the dream, right?

    But what did college actually cost you? And how will it affect your finances after graduation?

    By the time you graduate and get a job, you'll have roughly $41,000 in student loans. That's assuming you pay the average tuition costs, get an amazing federal loan package with interest rates at 3.76%, get $30,000 in grants and scholarships and you've saved $16,000 before even starting college.

    But what about not getting a degree?

    2. Skipping college altogether

    What if you decided to get a job right out of high school—maybe as a server? Let's assume you're one of the 25% of servers in Houston, Texas who makes $39,000 a year.

    After taxes and cost of living, you would have made roughly $81,000 as a server instead of racking up $41,000 in student loan debt. That means you missed out on a whopping $123,000 in opportunity cost.

    So, how long will it take for your degree to recover $123,000 in opportunity cost?

    Let's go back to the first scenario to compare.

    Let’s say you graduate college on loans and get a great entry level marketing job making $51,000 a year. Your degree is already starting to pay off. Except, all other things being equal, you'd be over 40 years old before you recover the full $123,000 opportunity cost from not working as a server.

    So, 20 years of debt just to get a better job, and you actually paid $60,000 for the original $41,000 loan. That's over $18,000 just in interest! And don’t forget you already paid the $16,000 dollars you had in savings.

    The stark reality is that student loans are way more expensive than lenders and colleges want you to believe.

    But what if you could go to college without loans?

    3. Working while taking online courses

    Let's go back to the example of working as a server. You're making $39,000 a year, but then you also decide to make a lot of sacrifices. Maybe you live with your parents and take online college courses around your shifts at work.

    Now, it would still cost money to get your degree. But since you wouldn't be living on campus or paying high tuition fees, you wouldn't have to take out any student loans. You'd just be paying for your courses as you go.

    All your hard work would pay off because, after graduation, you get that same great entry-level marketing job making $51,000 a year. The difference is, now you don't have to pay off student loans or spend decades recovering your opportunity cost.

    So compared to where you’d end up in scenario 1 or 2, you’d have $135,000 extra! That's a lot of additional money by the time you’re 40 years old. Almost enough for a house in some parts of the country.

    Which option should you choose?

    Here's the thing: education is important. But, 20 years is a long time for it to pay off and missing out on thousands in earnings because you’re paying off debt is ridiculous!

    So, before taking out a ton of student loans, you should evaluate your options and look for ways to attend college without going into debt.

    That’s why we started Accelerated Pathways.

    We believe college shouldn’t be a debt sentence. Our goal is to help students stuck in the debt zone graduate from college—and graduate debt-free.

    If you’re willing to use the power of online education to avoid the student loan trap, we’re here for you.

    Check out our easy degree pricing!

    read more

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • Why Employers Should Promote from Within

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    why-employers-should-promote-from-within

    Nothing is worse than feeling like you’re stuck in a dead-end job. Eventually you start to see the warning signs add up. Your ideas are consistently ignored. You don’t feel valued. There’s no clear career pathway to advance, learn or grow.

    Sadly, millions of workers feel this way every year, leading them to burn out and quit their jobs.

    Pew Research found that 63 percent of employees who left their jobs in 2021 cited “lack of career advancement” as a primary reason. Employees who don’t see a clear progression from their current role to a better position ultimately turn to opportunities outside of their organization.

    Employee retention correlates to upward mobility

    Studies have shown that employers who don’t offer advancement opportunities for workers find difficulty in both hiring and retaining talent—not to mention in maintaining a happy staff and positive work culture. In a recent SocialTalent survey, the majority of HR leaders indicated “career growth opportunity” as the key motivation for employee engagement and retention.

    Advancement opportunities are especially important to hourly and low-wage workers. According to study by WorkStep, frontline workers highly prioritize their career growth. However, upward mobility is becoming harder to achieve as the US economy faces decades of rising inequality, stagnating wages and a shrinking middle class. As a result, this essential segment of the workforce tends to see more burnout and higher turnover.

    In response, many organizations have made retention a core strategy, particularly since the start of the Great Resignation. Most business leaders recognize the strong correlation between the upward mobility of workers and their organization’s business goals (see graph below). It makes both financial and operational sense to retain employees rather than replace them, and employees with higher seniority tend to be more experienced and productive.

    Employers rate perceived impact of upward mobility practices on the company’s competitiveness

    Source: “Upward Mobility Survey of Employers of Low-Wage Workers in the U.S.,” September–November 2020, Project on Managing the Future of Work, Harvard Business School.

    But while most business leaders understand the importance of promoting from within, many fall short of their set goals. Those who do succeed tend to prioritize employee advancement by implementing meaningful programs, educational opportunities, clear career pathways and specific internal goals (for example, 60% of managers will be promoted from within).

    Ways to prioritize employee advancement

    Employers need to be able to show their workers the long game right from the beginning. This means mapping out what careers could look like for new employees and then providing the framework to keep them learning, growing and advancing.

    Below are several best practices that top organizations follow to help their workers navigate internal career pathways:

    1. Clearly document career advancement pathways

    Develop clear information about pathways to advancement within the organization. Human resources can look for measures and controls for career advancement and then develop documentation with standards that are fair and transparent. Criteria used to assess employee promotion to the next level should be easily accessible to staff at all levels.

    2. Prioritize and communicate internal advancement

    Prioritize promotion from within by clearly communicating the availability of advancement pathways and new job opportunities. Supervisors can also reach out directly to workers who may be targeted for promotion or be a good fit for a specific position. Overall, employees should be well-informed and fully aware of the advancement options open to them.

    3. Provide training and education benefits programs

    Educational program curricula should make clear the connection between training and the company’s internal career advancement pathways. Workers should know what to expect after completing the training (for example, how the training is linked to a raise or a promotion). This not only helps the employee; employers can significantly lower costs of recruiting and gain positive long-term outcomes by upskilling their workforce.

    4. Employ staff whose specific function is to support career advancement

    Supportive supervisors play an important role in encouraging advancement within an organization. However, many companies have found that employing additional staff dedicated to helping workers achieve their career goals can be far more beneficial. A point person, such as a career navigator or mentor, can focus solely on assisting workers to determine what training is most appropriate for their career goals. They can also help to find funding (whether employer contribution, loans or grants) to pay for that training.

    The American Dream is tied to the idea of upward mobility, no matter where you started in life. Millions of workers are still seeking this dream, even as it becomes harder for many to achieve. As a result, organizations that prioritize employee advancement will continue to see higher retention and more productivity.

    At Accelerated Pathways, we help organizations identify and launch innovative career pathing and educational programs to advance their employees and prepare for the future of work. Ready to offer your workforce more opportunities to learn and grow? Learn about our programs.

    read more

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • Is Online College Better for Students with ADHD?

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    is-online-college-better-for-students-with-adhd

    If you’ve ever been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), you know how difficult it can be to experience learning, organizational and social challenges at school.

    You may even think twice about wanting to go to college. Perhaps you feel like you’re too distracted or disorganized to succeed? Or maybe you’ve attended a college campus and felt out of place?

    If so, online college may be a better fit for you than a traditional college campus.

    Here’s why.

    Traditional college has more limitations and distractions

    At a traditional college, students are expected to spend time on campus and attend in-person classes. This means conforming to specific rules, schedules and even behaviors. Many students with ADHD struggle to learn in this type of environment. Being placed in a confined classroom with fellow peers can lead to distractions and disturbances that make it difficult to focus on the teacher and lesson.

    Delivery of the learning material during in-person lectures may also become too tedious, monotonous or academic to hold shorter attention spans. Prerequisite college courses are frequently held in large impersonal study halls and span several hours. If a student misses a crucial portion of the lesson or needs a break, they can’t just pause or repeat that part of the lecture.

    Those with attention disorders may feel like they’re both distracted and a distraction in this type of learning environment, especially if classroom participation is required as part of the grade. It can be discouraging to see fellow peers functioning well and being able to pay attention, meet assignment deadlines and interact in the ways expected. Students with ADHD may end up feeling estranged and anxious, which can spiral into poor performance—both in and out of the classroom.

    Online college has more learning options and flexibility

    Luckily, there are other college options available thanks to the growing popularity of virtual learning. While online learning doesn’t change what you learn, it does change how you learn—which can make all the difference. Students with ADHD frequently find that online colleges provide more flexibility and personalized learning options to help them succeed.

    According to Ryan Kellems, professor of counseling psychology and special education, “Online learning offers students more control over their environment.” Students with ADHD can take online courses in whatever setting works best for them, such as a quiet café, a library or even their own living room. Being able to choose a location that feels free of distractions and confinement can make a real difference in how learning material is received and processed.

    In addition, students can access their course materials anytime. This allows them to go back over content they may have previously missed and try out helpful study methods like the Pomodoro Technique, which recommends studying in short segments and then taking breaks. Online learning gives students the chance to figure out which study skills and learning times work best for them. For example, those who find themselves able to focus in the evenings can choose to work on difficult school material later in the day.

    Some online colleges also offer self-paced courses, which allow tests, quizzes and assignments to be completed on the student’s time rather than a strict schedule. Having the option to set your own pace can alleviate the pressure associated with deadlines and empower students to strive for quality in their assignments. Many students with ADHD also feel more comfortable interacting with their teachers in an online setting and asking the questions they may have been too intimidated to ask in a traditional classroom.

    Creating a college plan for students with ADHD

    With so many college options available now, students with ADHD have more opportunities than ever to find the right college experience. Before diving in, it’s important to devise a good college plan. That starts with deciding on the academic and social settings that best fit your particular needs.

    If you find that the structure of a traditional college campus helps you to learn and focus, then be sure to reach out to the counselors at your target campus to figure out what resources they offer students with ADHD. If you find that online college provides you with the flexibility you need to feel less overwhelmed, then look for ways to create a balanced, organized study routine that you can maintain long-term.

    At Accelerated Pathways, we’re great at helping students with ADHD find the right learning path. Our academic counselors and student coaches check in regularly to keep you on track and deliver the resources you need to handle your course load. Ready to get the support you need and have the freedom to study anytime, anywhere? Reach out to us today!

    read more

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • Top 7 Recession-Proof Careers

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    Top 7 Recession-Proof Careers

    A growing number of financial experts are warning that the US is headed toward a period of economic decline, which historically leads to layoffs, bankruptcies, higher borrowing rates and a turbulent stock market.

    As such, many students are wondering how to prepare for the next economic downturn, especially those soon entering the job market. It can be difficult to start a career during a recession, but knowing which jobs have better survival odds can be helpful.

    Several factors can determine which jobs get cut and which remain secure during a recession, namely:

    • The degree to which the job is essential for society to function; and

    • The ability of that job to provide a clear consumer necessity

    If you’re wanting to focus on an education that leads to greater job security, check out this list of recession-proof careers.

    1. Healthcare Professionals

    During periods of economic turbulence, healthcare jobs have shown historic stability. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the healthcare sector has displayed steadiness during past recessions.

    Recessions can greatly affect the overall population’s health and well-being. Stress levels go up when people face financial hardships, which can lead to a number of medical, mental health and substance abuse problems, according to research published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. An influx of patients during a recession means that all medical professionals—from nurses, doctors, paramedics, pharmacists to therapists—will be needed to fill the demand.

    2. Accountants and Financial Counselors

    Money movement becomes more important as economic tides turn. During recessions, people increasingly look to financial professionals for advice and assistance. Faced with economic hardships, many take out additional loans or run up charges on their credit cards. Others find themselves trying to avoid bankruptcy or prepare finances from further impact.

    As a result, financial professionals such as accountants and debt counselors tend to see an increase in demand. Auditors also tend to stay busy during recessions as financial regulations, tax laws and other federal rules may change. While many financial careers require professional certifications in addition to a degree, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), seeking a major in finance or accounting can be a great step toward a recession-proof career.

    3. IT Professionals

    Even as economic tides shift, technology remains essential to a functioning society. All of the technology we count on—databases, smart devices, electric grids, information systems—remain necessary in order to keep goods and services flowing. As recessions kick in, some businesses look to ramp up technology as a way to offset expenses, automate jobs and lower overhead costs.

    As such, tech jobs tend to be more resistant to recessions. Jobs in networks, AI, automation, databases, communications, IT security and other computer systems can see an increase in demand, particularly for local systems that can't be offshored. In addition to job security, tech positions such as network administrators, data analysts, database engineers, programmers, developers and other IT specialists tend to offer excellent compensation and career advancement opportunities.

    4. Educators

    Teachers and educators also serve an essential function to society. As economic slowdowns occur and unemployment ticks upward, an influx of workers start to look for new training and education opportunities to compete in a tightening job market. Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby found that colleges and graduate schools saw higher enrollment numbers during the Great Recession.

    Investing in education and job skills will always be important, and demand for teachers and educators typically remains steady regardless of the state of the economy. Those who specialize in industries and markets that remain relevant regardless of the economic climate can see even stronger job security during recessions.

    5. Utility and Public Safety Workers

    Rain or shine, boom or bust, the need for electricity, gas, water, waste management, public safety and other essential services remains constant. As such, utility and public safety workers rank high among the list of recession-proof careers. This workforce ensures that the core services for day-to-day living continue operating, no matter what.

    Both public and private companies who supply utilities and safety services will continue to need employees who can operate these essential functions, especially as many workers are aging out of this field. Electricians, engineers, ambulance drivers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and other positions will need to be filled. There’s a wide range of careers to choose from in this sector. If you’re considering entering or transitioning into one of these careers, it’s a good idea to do some research to see which role has the most appeal to you.

    6. Social Workers

    When the economy declines, the need for social services increases as poverty, illness, unemployment, mental health challenges and other social ills arise. Social workers assist people dealing with a wide range of societal problems, and therefore see higher demand during recessions.

    However, job stability for social workers can also depend on government policy and local funding. As the economy declines, government budgets tighten. So, while social services are needed more than ever, the decisions on where funding is allocated can be a tricky matter. Still, the job outlook for social workers is expected to increase by 12 percent between 2020-2030. Even if funding is cut in certain areas, social workers can usually find job security during a recession by transferring to a different function or institution within their field.

    7. Legal Professionals

    Just like with social work and health services, the legal profession also tends to stay busy during tough economic times as crime, divorce, bankruptcy and other hardships occur. Lawyers, paralegals and legal assistants tend to see an increase in demand, particularly in certain areas of law. For example, Lawyers Weekly Jobs found that those who practice employment, healthcare, bankruptcy and cybersecurity law experience higher demand during recessions.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of lawyers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030. In addition, lawyers are typically well-compensated, with the median annual wage at $127,990 in 2021. Although education requirements are more stringent to enter this field of work, the payoff and job security can be worth it. If you’re interested in studying law, check out these suggestions for a pre-law major.

    On average, recessions last 11 months. Depending on how far along you are on your education, it can be worthwhile to consider a career based on job security, especially as recession woes loom.

    Whether you’re entering the job market for the first time or making a career change, we can help you choose the right learning path to fulfill your goals and stay competitive in a shrinking job market. Check out how!

    read more

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • Fast-Tracking a Degree – a Student Success Story!

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    test

    Meet Maegan! This bright, driven student fast-tracked her bachelor’s degree and completed all of her Accelerated Pathways courses in just two years!

    Her success story is especially inspiring given her previous college experiences. Years ago, she made several attempts to complete her bachelor’s degree through traditional college programs; however, it never seemed to be the right fit. Maegan eventually decided to put her education on hold as she got married, moved into a new home, pursued personal projects and worked full-time.

    Maegan and her husband had dreams of eventually starting a family and moving to northern Colorado, but both plans required a lot of savings, which left no extra money for education. As luck would have it though, Maegan began working for a major telecommunications company that offered generous tuition reimbursement assistance to its employees.

    That became a turning point in Maegan’s student journey!

    Inspired by the possibilities of returning to college and advancing her career, Maegan decided to finish her bachelor’s degree through Accelerated Pathways. Having already completed some general education courses, she was set up for success and began to fast-track her learning with self-paced online courses.

    Now, Maegan has completed all of her Accelerated Pathways courses and transferred over to her target college to finish out her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Human Resource Management! We’re very proud of her success, so we decided to reach out to learn more about her student experience.

    Check out what she had to say!

    What made you want to go back to school?

    Not completing my bachelor’s degree has always bothered me. I realized one day during my work shift that I was no longer satisfied with the work I was doing. I wanted to do something I felt was helping people on a more impactful level, so I started to look at job postings online. That’s when I realized my options were limited with just a high school education.

    Why did you choose Business Administration: Human Resource Management as your major?

    I have had a strong interest in pursuing a career in Human Resources. Upon reviewing job postings for a position in my desired field, I discovered that degrees in Business Administration, Organizational Psychology or related fields were listed in the qualifications for the postings. I noticed a pattern of a degree in Business Administration being the most frequently mentioned and saw that this degree was versatile to use for other careers outside of human resources, as well.

    What was your experience with the Accelerated Pathways program?

    I had a very pleasant experience with the Accelerated Pathways program. I secretly wished, in a way, I could’ve continued taking the rest of my required courses through Accelerated Pathways rather than having to transfer to another school. I liked the convenience and the fact that it was self-paced rather than a structured class. As soon as I completed everything required for one class, I could immediately move on to the next one.

    What was your experience with the Accelerated Pathways team?

    Everyone I interacted with from the Accelerated Pathways team was very helpful. My academic advisor was only an email or a phone call away and stuck with me from the moment I first signed up for the program to the completion of my last course. I was regularly checked in on. There was always someone available to reach for help with student services or tech. They got back to me in a very timely manner.

    What time management techniques have worked for you?

    I am a full-time employee in addition to being a full-time student. I would set goals for myself on my days off. For instance, if I wanted to complete the notes and quizzes for the next two chapters, then I would focus on meeting those specific goals. I would take notes and/or read chapters during any downtime I had available, as well.

    Any advice you’d give to new Accelerated Pathways’ students?

    My advice to any new Accelerated Pathways student is to be straightforward with your academic advisor with your initial consultation. Be clear on what you are looking for – whether that may be the least expensive option or quickest timeframe. Also, once you get a breakdown of the classes you are set to take, discuss any concerns you may have with any of the listed classes.

    For example, my concern ended up being with two particular math courses I needed to take. Unfortunately, I did not vocalize my initial concern with wanting to take as few math courses as possible when we were putting my degree plan together. Later, I found out there could have been some alternate routes I could have taken had I made my concerns known at the beginning.

    The academic advisors for Accelerated Pathways are very knowledgeable and can provide you with options, you simply need to speak up about what you are looking to accomplish.

    How was the transfer process to your target college?

    The transfer process was easy due to guidance provided by both my academic advisor and the admissions person from my target college. My academic advisor provided a list of all my completed courses up until that point, which made the rest of the process easier for me to ensure that all my credits were transferred.

    How many classes do you have left until graduation?

    I have just eight classes remaining to complete my degree!

    Any post-graduation plans?

    After I obtain my degree, I want to apply for an internship program in my desired field and add both my degree and my internship training to my resume. My goal is to land a human resources entry-level position and work my way up from there.

    How has your education helped you in your career/life?

    Up to this point, I have had jobs, but not a career. I had a revelation three years ago in which I realized I wanted to do something different and work with internal customers (employees) rather than external customers. From there, I concerned myself with finding out what steps I needed to take to get there.

    This is my third attempt at trying to complete my bachelor’s degree. A few life situations have required me to put my education on hold. My education reminds me of a book that I have started reading a few times but have never finished. I am now determined to finish it and will use my experience as a testimony to my child, showing them the importance of finishing what you start.

    Thanks for sharing your fantastic journey with us. We’re so proud of you!

    __

    Ready to be our next student success story? At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we love helping students accomplish their life goals. We make it easy for busy working adults to start or finish their education by offering flexible, self-paced online courses. Get started today!

    read more

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • Which Job Skills Will Survive the Future of Work?

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    test

    As the future of work continues to evolve with every innovation to technology and shift in society, both employers and employees will need to understand which job skills will be relevant in the future.

    Recently, Pearson and People Matters collaborated on the 2022 Power Skills Survey of 180 organizations across 10 counties to gain a better understanding of the power skills (skills that will power the future of work) for 2022 and beyond.

    Power Skills of the Future

    In their discovery, they found that human-centric, people-based skills will be in high demand as talent needs shift and harmonize with technological change. In particular, the following skills are projected to grow in demand: leadership, collaboration, adaptability, digital fluency and critical thinking.

    Top 5 power skills to look out for in 2022

    In addition to these skills, the World Economic Forum also includes self-management and complex problem-solving as work skills of tomorrow. And while these types of soft skills have always been considered important in the workplace, demand is growing for core human-centric abilities as automation and AI take over many previous job functions.

    Automation outdating hard skills?

    By 2025, over half of all workplace tasks are projected to be carried out by machines. The Future of Jobs report predicts that some 75 million jobs worldwide will be lost by 2022. However, 133 million new jobs will be created. In the transition, workplace talent demands will shift from hard skills to soft skills.

    The pandemic made this change in skill demand more apparent, as remote work and other new workplace adaptations were required by organizations. As Zahira Sughra Zainuddin, Head, Group Strategic Business Alliance, Petronas noted, “Whilst COVID-19 has certainly accelerated the need to reskill our human capital, it is a necessity and priority we had already identified prior to the pandemic. This is because the way of working has shifted, and there is a real need to apply different workforce skills in a more digital and agile world.”

    With advanced technology and societal changes eliminating jobs and creating others, the need to relearn is becoming a constant and soft skills are becoming more critical to success. Future-proofed skills are ones that no technology can replace, and inherent human attributes that can’t be coded, such as communication and emotion, will continue to see higher demand.

    Investing in the skills of the future

    As such, more organizations will need to invest in the skills that impact the future of work. According to Greg Miller, Executive Director, Faethm, “Many organizations today are facing increasing workforce disruption, as skills gaps grow and as past workforce planning tactics prove less effective in an increasingly digitalized workplace. HR and L&D leaders need clear, comprehensive data to confidently predict future skills needed so that they can make the right recruitment and reskilling decisions.”

    Reskilling employees for jobs of the future is not just important to commercial success, it’s also instrumental in improving social mobility – a key factor in reducing inequality and meeting diversity, equity and inclusion goals. A new report found that a 10% improvement in global social mobility would boost economic growth by nearly 5% over the next decade. And as traditional pathways from low- to high-wage work begin to disappear, workplace educational programs will play a key role in fostering upward mobility.

    The challenge in closing skill gaps

    But while most companies understand that reskilling is the key to success and business survival, many are still challenged by a lack of organization-specific data to back up the need for reskilling – or they have limited budgets and time to support continuous skill-building.

    Reskilling requires a higher level of organizational assessment, and many companies struggle with either not knowing how to identify skill gaps or how to go about launching an effective learning program to address their future needs. Readiness timelines can complicate matters further, as some skill gaps can be filled faster than others. For example, it could take just one to two months to acquire proficiency skills for certain emerging professions and up to four months to move employees into more tech-savvy roles.

    Time needed to start building new skills online in jobs of tomorrow

    To overcome these challenges, many organizations are turning to outside expertise. Recently, Pearson acquired Faethm’s state-of-the-art AI technology to help organizations find effective reskilling solutions. First, by conducting a skills gap analysis to identify core lacking competencies within an organization, and then by creating a strategic skills roadmap—targeting individualized learning plans through Accelerated Pathways, Pearson is able to connect employees with the right reskilling and job advancement pathways.

    Interested in learning more? Find out how we help organizations build a workforce that’s more competitive, engaged and prepared for the future!

    read more

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • Managing PTSD as a Student

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    Managing PTSD as a Student

    June is PTSD Awareness Month, and we’re hoping to encourage open and honest discussions that promote mental health and wellness—this month and beyond. Did you know that up to 17 percent of college students suffer from PTSDThat’s higher than the percentage in the general population.

    What is PTSD?

    The American Psychological Association defines PTSD as an anxiety problem that develops after experiencing extremely traumatic events. The symptoms can manifest in similar ways to other mental health disorders, but there are some specific signs that help psychologists identify those suffering specifically with PTSD.

    Here’s what the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) outlines as the four main PTSD symptoms:

    1. Re-experiencing symptoms, for example:

    • Recurring and intrusive memories of the trauma

    • Flashbacks where the person feels or acts as if the trauma is recurring

    2. Avoidance symptoms, for example:

    • Avoiding reminders of the traumatic experience, including people, situations, places, or objects

    • Repressing or ignoring emotions or thoughts related to the event

    3. Arousal and reactivity symptoms, for example:

    • Outbursts of anger with little provocation

    • Reckless or self-destructive behavior

    4. Cognition or mood symptoms, for example:

    • Inability to remember important details of the event

    • Exaggerated negative beliefs, such as thinking no one can be trusted

    An understanding of PTSD dates as far back as far as 50 B.C., when Hippocrates wrote a poem about the experiences of a soldier returning home from war. And while PTSD is commonly known as something associated with soldiers, it affects more than just those with battlefield experience. For example, those who have experienced sexual assault are twice as likely to suffer from PTSD and those who have experienced abuse and neglect as children may also have symptoms associated with PTSD, such as intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares and difficulty concentrating.

    Can PTSD affect learning?

    study by the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University-Newark shows that PTSD can influence learning. Exposure to traumatic events may lead to difficulty in paying attention and maintaining consciousness, which are crucial to success in education. Experts have noted that those suffering from trauma, in general, may have lower learning outcomes and higher rates of learning difficulties.

    Here are the main learning difficulties students suffering from PTSD may experience:

    Memory

    • Remembering new terms, facts and past details can be harder for those who are dealing with trauma. Even important logistical information, such as appointments and schedules, can sometimes be harder to keep track of as PTSD is known to affect memory.

    Attention

    • Disorganized thinking and problems with attention can make it difficult to concentrate on information, especially when it is new and unfamiliar. PTSD can lead to problems with concentration and therefore difficulty with reading comprehension and absorption of learning material.

    Problem-solving

    • Other symptoms of PTSD, such as avoidance, can make it challenging to solve problems. Executive functions may also be impacted, which are the mental skills needed to plan, manage and execute everyday actions.

    How can I manage PTSD as a student?

    Going to college with PTSD can be a struggle, but many find ways to manage it and even learn new coping strategies along the way. To manage PTSD as a student, it’s important to first recognize the specific signs and symptoms you’re experiencing, such as an inability to concentrate or amplified feelings of aggression.

    study published by the National Library of Medicine outlines several techniques that can help students to manage their PTSD. Here are just a few:

    Relaxation Training

    • Relaxation training involves teaching students deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and positive imagery to help them manage their PTSD symptoms. These skills are transferable to the classroom, home and other locations where PTSD symptoms may be triggered.

    Cognitive Restructuring

    • Cognitive restructuring focuses on ways in which the experience of traumatic events may have affected the student’s cognition of the world around them. Feeling threatened or frightened can especially lead to difficulty in functioning at school. Cognitive restructuring allows students to practice awareness of their automatic thoughts in various situations (like those that provoke anxiety) and then begin replacing these negative thoughts with more helpful and accurate ones.

    Trauma Narrative 

    • Developing a narrative of the traumatic experience can enable those suffering from PTSD to process what they’ve been through. By recounting events in writing or even with pictures, the trauma memory becomes more manageable. A trauma narrative can help students to express what happened and work through some of the thoughts and feelings associated with it.

    Although PTSD treatments are known to be effective, most people who have PTSD don't get the help they need. As one former-Marine and graduate from the U.C. Berkeley put it, “If you are having a hard time, seek professional help and don’t be stubborn.” A mental health professional can help you try out different coping mechanisms and find the right methods that work for you.

    If you’re a friend or family member wanting to help someone with PTSD, here are some things you can do to offer support. The Department of Veterans Affairs also offers helpful resources and ways to raise PTSD Awareness during #PTSDawarenessmonth and beyond.

    read more

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • Gen Z: More Likely to Go to College

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    Aly

    Born between 1997 to 2012, Gen­er­a­tion Z is the most diverse generation in American history. Known for being cre­ative, inclusive and tech-savvy, this generation likes a hands-on approach to learning and places a high importance on education.

    Accord­ing to the Pew Research Cen­ter, Gen Z is the least like­ly to drop out of high school and the most like­ly to go to col­lege, com­pared with old­er generations.

    As learners, Gen Z prefers interactive expe­ri­ences over traditional passive learning environments. According to Dr. Karen Freberg, Gen Z is looking for engagement as part of their learning experience. Their embrace of unorthodox learning methods partly stems from the vast adjustments they’ve made during the pan­dem­ic, as remote learning and new ways of gaining an education became standard.

    Not only is Gen Z more likely to go to college, but its members are on track to become the most educated generation yet. This group is motivated to learn new skills, and they have a strong drive to become successful. Based on polling, Gen Z is laser-focused on securing a better future for themselves, possibly as a result of the hardships and uncertainties they’ve faced in an era defined by the Great Recession, pandemic, climate change, mass shootings, protests over police brutality and other difficulties.

    Facing these many uncertainties has made Gen Z resilient, but also more worried about financial security and anxious about the future. They hold quite a bit of the pragmatism and skepticism of their Gen X parents, who they’ve seen struggle financially through tech and housing market crashes. As a result, one in four Gen Zers describe their feelings about finances as “always stressed,” according to a Harris Poll.

    So even though Gen Z lists high­er edu­ca­tion as a key issue they care about, they seek it in terms of its value and relevance. This means that their educational choices vary from past generations. There’s a shift toward more pragmatic majors such as health, computer science, engineering and biology, with less focus on the humanities. This indicates that Gen Z wants careers that guarantee success and stability in a fast-changing, uncertain world.

    In fact, getting a job is the top reason cited by Gen Z for enrollment in college (as shown in the below chart from The Chronicle of Higher Education). This generation is attending college with the expectation of a return on their investment. As such, Gen Z prefers to have services over amenities. Instead of state-of-the-art facilities, Gen Z would rather have access to career development, mentoring, academic advising and internships. A whopping 79 percent say they would like to participate in employer internships as part of their college experience.

    Gen Z understands the concept of getting a foot in the door and wants to gain first-hand knowledge. They desire integration between academics and practical experience. According to a study for the book Generation Z Goes to College, nearly 80 percent of Gen Z students said it was important that the undergraduate curriculum include real-world activities. And a recent LinkedIn study shows that Gen Zers want to learn their way up the career ladder.

    As students, this generation is great at researching and finding information. They want to learn on their own terms and prefer bite-sized learning. Having grown up in the age of the internet, smart devices and social media, they’re accustomed to searching topics of interest for school, DIY projects and other interests. They regularly seek out new information and entertainment and enjoy learning in unorthodox ways, such as from videos on YouTube or TikTok.

    To teach Gen Z, flexibility is of utmost importance. This generation wants to be able to apply concepts and gain functional skills when learning. They tend to excel when given more tools and options rather than fewer ways to accomplish a goal. In fact, 72 percent say they want a more customized college experience and prefer colleges that allow them to design their own studies. Programs that allow independent or collaborative work with control over learning options will allow these students to find the right balance.

    Are you a Gen Zer looking for a new college experience? Accelerated Pathways is a non-traditional, online college program that gives you the freedom to earn your bachelor’s degree your own way. We provide a proven plan to earn an affordable online degree, graduate faster and reach your real-life goals. You’ll especially love our self-paced courses that let you study anytime, anywhereLearn how it works!

    read more

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

  • Can the Traditional Resume Keep Up?

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    Can the Traditional Resume Keep Up?

    The resume has been an essential part of the traditional hiring process for centuries, with the word “resume” deriving from the French word “summary.”

    But can a short one-page summary of bullet points and buzzwords truly convey the information needed to fill talent needs and create equity in an ever-evolving job market? With digital disruption changing the future of work, is there a better way for job candidates to showcase their abilities?

    Pearson recently held an informative roundtable to discuss this topic. In this blog, we’ll touch on some of the highlights and insights shared for candidates and recruiters alike.

    Problems with the traditional resume

    While a traditional resume may be good at presenting a candidate’s past, it may not be as good at reflecting their true abilities and talents. For most candidates, their past says more about what opportunities they’ve had in life rather than what they’re actually capable of achieving.

    Unfortunately, many hiring managers use the resume at the top of a decision funnel to take shortcuts. They end up scanning for certain institutions, specific length of time in roles, a list of credentials and other qualifying factors that can end up discriminating against those who haven’t been given the same opportunities in life.

    By choosing job candidates based on past access rather than actual ability, the cycle of disadvantaging others continues. This inequity built into the hiring process ensures that candidates who have had better opportunities are selected over ones who may be most qualified.

    Ways to improve the hiring process

    Across organizations, greater value will need to be placed on an individual’s skills as well as their actual outcome. To improve the hiring process, more opportunity should be given to candidates who don’t necessarily meet the desired requirements but may have the right skills.

    This means looking at the resume in a unique way or requesting new types of information from job applicants, for example, work samples, assessments, storytelling, etc. Traditional qualifying factors like college degrees can still be valued, but at different points in the decision-making process. Job descriptions can also be updated to remove certain qualifications and years of experience requirements.

    Jonathan Finkelstein, CEO, Credly, Pearson asks, “How do we bring about a world in which every person has the ability to achieve their full potential on the basis of what they actually know and can do?” Credly works to answer this question by helping people connect their verified abilities to actual opportunities.

    By verifying abilities instead of work history, candidates who may otherwise be overlooked when decisions are getting made about talent can instead be centered. This allows organizations to inform human capital decisions in a way that brings more equity and access to the workforce.

    Ways to improve the resume

    Resumes of the future should become better at developing the story of the individual, rather than just providing a limited glimpse into the past. Candidates should try helping employers understand who they are and what they can do—not just what they have done.

    By creating skill-based resumes with storytelling, you can better prove your potential as a job applicant and keep pace with the future of work. Find a way to convey your abilities – or even create the work you want to be doing. Video resumes, creative contributions, submission of work like writing samples, architectural plans, art portfolios or even spreadsheets showing accomplishments can also be helpful in telling your story.

    Finally, don’t forget the power of the cover letter. You can use it in unorthodox ways to expand on your journey. Instead of just sticking to a traditional cover letter format, try explaining where and how you acquired skills, your influences and even a bit about your personality and passions.

    Job trends for the future

    As the world adjusts to rapid changes in the job market, many are asking how the role of humans in the economy will shift over the coming years. Faethm has found that, for many industries, core human abilities like empathy, imagination, creativity and emotional intelligence will become more valuable in the workplace as automation takes over many roles.

    While some jobs will be eliminated, other jobs will be created and, in many cases, in areas where humans prefer to spend their time and energy. As these types of soft skills gain value to employers, candidates will need to become better at conveying their stories and capabilities in creative ways. In turn, employers will need to become better at looking beyond the traditional resume and top-down hiring process to assess candidates.

    Mike Howells, President, Workforce Skills, Pearson sees the transformational potential in the future of work to empower the individual. “In every aspect of our lives, we now have access to an enormous range of data, insights and opportunities to figure out what works for us and how to get it. Whether as a consumer or employee, we now have access to an amazing array of data-driven tools to personalize our experience and find solutions to fit our needs.”

    read more

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS