• 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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  • What Every Parent Should Know About College

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    What Every Parent Should Know About College

    Okay, parents… take a deep breath. We know you’re stressed just thinking about prepping your kiddo for college. You’ve got tons of questions and may not even know where to start.

    We’re here to help!

    We sat down with the experts from our Central Registrar’s Office to get the good intel for you. Check out their answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.

    How important is choosing a major before going to college?

    The sooner your kid can choose, the better.

    Students who know their major early on have less chance of switching tracks later (which can end up being a huge time and money sink). Therefore, it’s a great idea to have them test out a few majors before starting college.

    Students should look for any type of mentorship, internship or job shadowing opportunity available. Not only will this help them test out their ideas about what they want to do, but it can also help them build up experience for their college application. Internships.com can be a great place to start.

    Pro tip: Be sure to ask experts in their field specifically about credentials needed to be in that industry.

    How do I count the cost of college?

    This isn’t an easy thing to do. There’s housing, tuition, fees, graduation expenses and more. Add on scholarships and other forms of aid, and the process can get confusing very quickly.

    The government website college scorecard is a good place to check. It was created to bring transparency to college costs. In addition, every college is required to have its own cost-to-attendance calculator on its website. However, some of these calculators are more accurate than others. Check out other free tools like College Aid Pro and College Data, which can offer alternate ways to calculate costs.

    Remember to think through every cost carefully, including:

    • College application fees

    • Tuition

    • Fees (many campus programs have fees for health insurance, shots, bus programs, parking, etc.)

    • Books

    • Room & board

    • Meals

    • Transportation

    • Travel expenses

    • Graduation expenses

    Parsing out living expenses can be especially difficult, and this is where most of the unexpected costs can occur, especially for items like wardrobe, toiletries, smart devices, household items and other often overlooked expenses. Try to factor in everything you can think of, including a budget for emergencies.

    Could you explain financial aid?

    Financial aid can mean scholarships, work-study programs, loans, grants—basically, anything that helps you pay for college. To apply, you’ll need to access your tax docs and other financial forms, as much of it correlates to your income and assets.

    Be sure to start the financial aid application process early—at least a year prior to your kid starting college.

    Here are the types of aid you’ll want to check out:

    Federal aid

    Most students start with FASFA. This stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it’s basically just that—an application for federal aid only. Your tax information will determine eligibility for various levels of federal financial aid. This can include student loans, work-study programs, scholarships, state grants and the Federal Pell Grant.

    The Federal Pell Grant is money you don’t have to pay back. It’s a need-based award, and most low-income households can qualify. There’s a College Navigator tool you can use to understand awards based on income levels. StudentAid.gov also has calculations you can use.

    Scholarships

    Scholarships are a great way to pay for college. Every student should apply, even if they might not qualify. You can find federal scholarships through studentaid.gov; private scholarships through websites like Fastweb.comscholarships.com or Scholarship America; and university scholarships through each university’s website.

    There are two basic types of scholarships: merit-based and need-based. Merit-based scholarships are awarded due to your abilities or talents. Need-based scholarships are awarded on your family or socio-economic background, for example, if the student’s parents were veterans.

    It can take years to build out qualifications for scholarships, so be sure to start looking into them early.

    Work-study programs

    Work-study programs provide jobs to students, allowing them to earn money to help pay for education. Students can qualify for work-study programs through FASFA, but individual schools may also have their own work-study programs. This can be a great way to earn experience and mitigate college costs, even if it’s just working to cover one expense, like room and board.

    Tuition assistance from employers

    Employer education benefits—also known as tuition assistance programs—are benefits provided by an employer to compensate employees (and sometimes their dependents) for learning. This can be a great way to subsidize education.

    On average, companies provide around $6,000 per employee per year. If you have a job, ask if they offer tuition assistance, including for your children. If your kid wants to work during college, they can purposefully seek out companies with good employer education benefits to help cover tuition costs.

    How do I prepare my kid for college?

    Think of a college application like a resume. Instead of a hiring manager, the application goes before a school review committee. This committee is looking for the right person who will be successful in their program. They’re also wondering, “Who’s going to make us look good as an institution?” Graduation rates are important to schools, so they want to know who will stay committed.

    To prepare your kid for this type of scrutiny, start thinking about meaningful activities they can participate in to build a picture of who they are. Have them take electives in high school that’ll match with the degree major they want to apply. Also, think of ways your kid can improve their communication skills. This will help at every stage—from their written application to the interview process and then throughout college.

    Of course, the college admissions process differs depending on whether your student is applying to a four-year college, community college, technical school or non-traditional online college like Accelerated Pathways.

    How is Accelerated Pathways different?

    1. We help you shop for the right college.

    We provide all the tools you need to make the most informed and effective college choice possible.

    First, we do the college research for you... for free. Our academic counselors are experts at conducting an intensive research process of thousands of schools to find the right college programs that match each student’s individual goals and circumstances.

    Then, we give you a custom College Options Report. This shows a side-by-side comparison of the colleges and degree programs that best fit your major, schedule, budget, prior credit and more.

    You’ll be able to compare college options in a way that other institutions don’t provide.

    2. We find ways to significantly reduce the cost of college.

    Did you know that most universities allow you to transfer in up to three years of college credit? We help students maximize this opportunity.

    How? By offering low-cost, general education courses that are guaranteed to transfer to your target college. Our courses cost 36% less than the national average and are regionally accreditedthe most widely accepted accreditation.

    This allows students to earn college credit in an affordable, flexible, online environment and then transfer it seamlessly to their university to finish out their degree.

    What’s the worst college advice?

    When parents say to their kids, “Go to this college because I went there.”

    We understand this urge but warn parents that it shuts down the student’s exercise of thinking through their own academic path. You’ll want your kid to figure out the options that best suit their specific life goals. The more they engage in the process of choosing a college, the more likely they’ll be to stay committed once they attend.

    What’s the best college advice?

    “When you go to college, go with purpose.”

    College shouldn’t be something that just happens to your kid. That’s when all the traps start and they end up unmotivated, in a five-year or longer program, shifting around majors, taking off semesters or even dropping out. That’s also how they miss out on opportunities and scholarships—by ending up too late in the process.

    Make sure your kid is part of the process of planning, asking for things they want, talking to people, creating relationships and being purposeful about what they’re doing.

    Need help getting them started? Our academic counselors are experts at working with students at all starting points. Reach out today for a free college consultation!

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  • Hate Your Customer Service Job? 3 Steps to Escape!

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    Hate Your Customer Service Job? 3 Steps to Escape!

    Ever worked in the customer service industry? If so, you’ve probably collected a few not-so-fun stories about your customer interactions.

    recent Buzzfeed article went viral when one writer shared her workplace horror story. The response was overwhelming—prompting others to pitch in with their own sordid tales of dealing with annoying and abusive customers.

    For example, one dissatisfied customer spit out his chewed food into a service worker’s hand. Another customer was upset that they couldn’t return an article of blood-soaked clothing. Or how about the poor gas station attendant who described the awful mess a customer left him in the bathroom?

    While some of these stories may be entertaining… let’s be realWorking in customer service can be a painful experience. It’s a tough job that usually needs to be performed under stressful, understaffed, underpaid, underappreciated and overworked conditions. Many who do the work are there strictly out of necessity—just paying the bills—not enjoyment.

    What can be even more infuriating is society telling you, “If you don’t like it, then quit,” or “Just figure out what you love to do and then do it.” *Cringe* That type of sentiment may seem well-intentioned, but it’s usually completely detached from the financial reality most service workers face.

    So, how can you quit your hated job?

    Hey, we’re not here to tell you it’ll be easy to just throw in the towel and start a better career. However, we would like to help you take realistic steps to get there.

    1. Sign up for just one or two online college classes


    Sign up for just one or two online college courses that you can complete around your shifts at work. This will automatically move your life in a better direction. And since you won’t be living on campus or paying high tuition fees, you won’t need to apply for hefty student loans. You can just pay for your courses as you go.

    In addition, many service industry employers offer their employees tuition assistance. We can help you figure out how to qualify for it and take advantage of your employee benefits to earn a low- to no-cost degree.

    But what if I never finished high school? That’s okay! We can help you earn your GED first.

    2. Get an internship where you want to work


    Whether you’re interested in working in marketing, accounting, environmental justice, IT, engineering or any other area, internships are a fantastic way to get your foot in the door. Know of a specific place you’d like to work? Sometimes it’s just a matter of reaching out to them, telling them you’re a student and asking for an internship.

    While you may have to put in a few unpaid hours of work, internships can help you earn college credit, make great connections and gain hands-on experience. Not only that, if you make a good impression and show your value, they may end up hiring you!

    3. Develop a great student resume


    You know the battle. You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. It’s a conundrum many students face when trying to start their careers. Luckily, even without prior job experience, you can still create an impactful student resume that gets employers’ attention.

    For example, adding a section for “Relevant Experience” instead of “Work Experience” on a resume allows you to highlight your internship, volunteer work, leadership experience, extracurricular activities or any other related training you can think of to compensate for your lack of workplace experience.

    Check out these handy tips and examples to create an eye-catching resume while you’re still a student.

    Need help getting started? At Accelerated Pathways, we’re experts at getting busy, working adults where they want to go. It’s absolutely free to chat with our supportive academic advisors, so why not learn about your options today? Get started here.

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  • What Jobs Will the Inflation Reduction Act Create?

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    What Jobs Will the Inflation Reduction Act Create?

    Longer droughts, stronger heatwaves, more destructive storms—these are just some of the devastating impacts climate change is already having on our environmental, economic and social systems.

    To address the crisis, the US Senate recently passed a landmark climate bill (Inflation Reduction Act) that will boost the green energy industry and remake parts of the US economy. An analysis commissioned by the BlueGreen Alliance found that clean energy investments resulting from the bill will create more than 9 million new jobs over the next decade.

    What jobs will the new climate bill create?

    Research shows that the new climate bill will create five million new green jobs from investments in clean energy, 900,000 in clean manufacturing, 900,000 in efficient buildings, 600,000 in natural infrastructure, 400,000 in clean transportation and 150,000 in environmental justice.

    Based on each of these job growth categories, we’ve outlined several green jobs that are likely to see higher demand by 2030.

    Clean Energy

    More solar and wind energy engineers will be needed to support the increase in clean energy demand. Solar engineers work on solar panels, solar-powered devices, telecommunications and heating/air conditioning systems, whereas wind energy engineers work to develop aviation, mechanics or wind turbines and collector structures for wind farms.

    A bachelor’s degree or higher is required for these roles, usually in majors such as energy engineering, manufacturing engineering, chemistry or civil engineering. While these can be demanding subjects of study, the compensation is typically worth it—with an average annual salary for solar and wind engineers at around $95,000. 

    Manufacturing and Construction

    Manufacturing positions like operating technicians, warehouse operators, line supervisors and machine operators will be needed to process new manufacturing for green technology like solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles, plus the parts, labels and packaging involved. Construction workers will also be needed to install these new clean energy buildings, grids and infrastructure.

    While many manufacturing and construction jobs do not require a college degree, some training and certifications may be necessary to obtain certain roles. However, there are frequently entry-level positions with good benefits and union membership for those who want to start from the ground up.

    Natural Infrastructure

    Sustainability landscape designers, infrastructure engineers, green architects and other green workers will be needed to design, construct and administer new landscape, building and infrastructure designs compatible with the natural environment. Careers in this industry focus on creating sustainable systems that can withstand stronger storms, flooding, heat and other impacts from changing climate.

    Bachelor’s degrees are required for many of these roles, and some organizations also prefer applicants to have certifications in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) or accreditation from the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP). Targeted skills such as proficiency with GIS, AutoCAD, knowledge of 3-D modeling programs as well as construction documentation and detailing are also a plus.

    Clean Transportation

    Transportation management will be key to redesigning new modes of transportation that have less harmful impacts on the environment and lower carbon emissions. Transport planners, transportation managers and transport engineers will all be needed to handle the logistics, design, management and cooperation of transportation upgrades. Not only do these roles actively work toward sustainability in the transport industry, but they also help to reduce transport costs through planning optimization

    Good technical and problem-solving skills are needed for these roles, as well as the ability to communicate and collaborate on large-scale projects involving many moving people and parts. Transportation managers and planners tend to gain an education in supply chain management, logistics or other related fields. A passion for sustainability and pro-activity is a plus.

    Environmental Justice

    Environmental justice is a complex field that requires a specialized understanding of environmental issues, laws, regulations, institutions and organizations. Environmental lawyers, paralegals, compliance officers, policy administrators and other roles will need to be filled to ensure compliance with changing environmental laws, especially in the areas of water, gas, oil and energy.

    While many of these careers require law degrees, there are roles for individuals interested in entry-level positions, such as organizing, activism, advocating and more. If you’re passionate about enforcing environmental policies or enacting new legislation that benefits future generations, then environmental justice might be a good career fit for you.

    Interested in entering or transitioning to the green economy? At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we can help! Reach out to one of our world-class academic advisors to get started on the right career path today.

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  • Is College Worth the Cost?

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    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!

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  • Why Employers Should Promote from Within

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    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.

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  • Is Online College Better for Students with ADHD?

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    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!

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  • Top 7 Recession-Proof Careers

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    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!

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

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    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!

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    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!

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