Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of choosing a college? We understand how intimidating it can seem. Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions you can make in life—with tons of factors involved like affordability, accreditation, location vs. online.
While these considerations may seem complicated and overwhelming, don’t get discouraged! We’re experts at helping students research colleges and choose the right degree path.
Check out these tips to get started!
1. Clarify your career goals
Figuring out your professional goals may seem like a tough place to start. Perhaps you’d prefer to delay choosing a college major until after you’ve started college. However, we encourage you to start with the end in mind.
Having a general idea of what you’d like to do after college will help you determine what type of education you’ll need. In turn, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices based on colleges that specialize in your preferred subjects of interest.
You’ll have an array of options readily available at your fingertips. Even many previously in-person campuses now offer online degree programs – or a mix of online and in-person. You’ll also have opportunities to knock out your general education courses through a flexible program (like ours)—at a lower cost—and then transfer that credit into your graduating institution to finish out your degree.
Since the pandemic, online degrees have become more mainstream and legitimized. Still, it’s important to find quality online learning. You can do that by making sure your online institution has regional accreditation. This is the standard accepted across a broad spectrum of institutions. It ensures that your hard-earned college credit is valid and can transfer to almost any college or university of your choice. (All of our Accelerated Pathways courses are regionally accredited and guaranteed to transfer!)
If you choose in-person college…
There will be several factors to consider, including whether you want to live on-campus (in a dorm) or off-campus. In addition to researching housing options, you’ll need to consider location, transportation, campus atmosphere, facilities, accessibility, course schedules, extracurricular activities and additional costs like meals, utilities, facility fees, etc.
Once you have a few colleges in mind, it’s a great idea to visit them or do a campus tour. This will allow you to get a better understanding of the logistics and other details you may not have previously considered. You’ll have a better opportunity to compare campuses and figure out the best fit based on your unique needs. On your visits, be sure to ask any questions that you’re still unsure about—clarify your perception vs. the reality of attendance.
3. Talk with an academic advisor
Here’s the best news about choosing a college… help is available! There are experts who know all the ins-and-outs of college admissions, degree programs, costs and more. They can help you navigate your way to the right school.
While each educational institution has its own academic advisors who can tell you about their specific college programs, the academic advisors at Accelerated Pathways help you shop around and compare colleges. Why? Because we provide a different type of degree program—one that empowers you to earn your general education credit—fast and cheap—and then transfer it seamlessly to the college of your choice.
4. Compare your final options
Once you narrow down your options, you’ll want to make final comparisons.
Once you have enough information to make a college choice, commit to it and work hard! College will be difficult. It’ll require a lot of your time, focus and energy, and there will be moments when you just want to give up. Try to remember your intrinsic motivation, and think about why you wanted to be a better version of yourself—personally and professionally. Just know, you’re building a better future each time you sit down to study!
Ready for a free college consultation from one of our world-class academic advisors? Why not find out your college options and get expert help making the right choice. Get started here!
Breaking into a new career can be… tough business! Even if you’ve just earned a degree – in that field – most job descriptions will still require several years of experience to apply. We encourage you to apply anyway!
As a college student or recent grad, you’ve probably already developed a lot of the knowledge and qualifications to ready yourself for the role. Even without the exact years of experience they want, you can still get the attention of employers and make the case for why you’re the best candidate.
1. Find ways to gain relevant experience
You’re already earning a degree in your chosen field, which means you probably have up-to-date knowledge to offer your profession. Still, that doesn’t make up for a lack of experience. That’s why you should look for ways to get hand-on experience in addition to your schoolwork.
If you can’t land an internship, try volunteering, attending industry events, participating in professional organizations, doing freelance work, creating personal projects or finding a mentor in your chosen field. Anything you can think of to build experience will make your case when it comes time to apply for jobs.
2. Tailor your skills to employer needs
Even without prior job experience, you can still develop the right skills to create a strong impactful resume. Start by reading multiple job listings for your chosen career and note any common employer needs. Find ways to learn any skills that aren’t part of your school curriculum. For example, if employers require knowledge of specific software, sign up for a trial use of that software program and complete tutorials.
In addition to applying for as many jobs as possible, you should also be networking. If you don’t already have a professional network, build one! LinkedIn is a great way to connect with people who are well-established in your chosen field. Check out How to Make a LinkedIn Profile as a College Student.
Once your profile is built, start looking for professional organizations and industry associations to join. Any time you meet a potential life connection, add them on LinkedIn! You can also share your professional journey by posting things you’re working on, creative ideas and industry thoughts. Look for ways to show off your abilities and insert yourself in the conversation. This will give you a better chance of getting noticed, staying relevant and landing your dream job!
4. Refine your interview skills
Once you finally get an interview, you’ll need to do tons of preparation. Remember, this is your moment to make your case! You’ll need to explain why the company should invest in you rather than someone with more experience.
To show that you’re prepared for this role, you’ll need to thoroughly research the organization and plan to answer the typical job interview questions. In addition, go through their job listing again and be able to address everything they’re looking for. For any areas you’re lacking, let them know your willingness to compensate with hard work and perseverance.
However, simply providing generic tuition assistance or generalized learning programs may not get employees where they want to go. That’s why many employers have turned toward a skills-based approach to talent development—focusing on what an employee can do, rather than just what their role requires.
Shifting your talent development focus
By focusing on skill development, employers can gain a clear measure of employee proficiency and use it to provide the type of focused learning and career pathways that increase employee engagement while also making the employer more competitive. Not only does this deepen the organization’s talent pool, but it also democratizes its careers by creating equitable and transparent access to job opportunities.
Giving employees the opportunities to advance their skills helps employers unlock internal talent mobility. Whether it's an employee who wants to upskill because their profession is constantly evolving, or they want to grow in their career to become more senior, or even if they want to reskill to start something brand new, employers should look for clear pathways to achieve these goals.
According to Susan Manning, Senior Manager of Customer Education, Credly, “It’s really about assessing employee skills to determine the gap, then creating personalized development plans so they can actually increase their proficiency with a skill. Their performance then becomes proof of their development.” Having a skills-based development framework to enable a personalized learning experience moves the needle forward for both the employee and the employer.
Different skills-based approaches
A skills-based approach to talent development can include a broad spectrum of formal and informal learning programs—everything from strategic education benefits to credentialing, mentoring and new experiences. This approach recognizes that skill development is achievable in many forms. The key to these different approaches is in measuring development strategically to assess the skills your organization has and then create development plans to obtain needed skills in targeted ways.
One method – credentialing – provides organizations with a way to invest in talent while also gaining measurable data points to understand where skills bench strengths across the organization. Andrew Vecchiarelli, Strategic Initiatives and Learning Manager, BMO Financial Group helped build an internal credentialing program to prepare employees for the future of work. The program, Demo Forward, offers multiple curriculums that cover skills such as data visualization, analytics, cybersecurity, and even power skills like influence and emotional intelligence. Digital badges are given out through Credly as a recognition of the work.
As Andrew Vecchiarelli explained, “Because the program is voluntary and because there is a time commitment, depending on which curriculum you're looking at – it could be anywhere between 13 and 17 hours of work that goes into achieving a digital badge – it really is a clear indication of not only skill development, but of career interest and commitment by the employee. The digital credential actually becomes an evidence point of skill sets that the employee has, which allows our leaders to use it to help plan their own talent decisions. Then ideally, as we continue to look future-focused and through other technology integrations, it'll also suggest career opportunities to the employee that are aligned to their interests and career ambitions.”
Other companies, particularly those with frontline workers, have found that skills-based development is best achieved by providing strategic education benefits with a range of targeted learning options and flexible, non-traditional degree programs, including bilingual options. Enabling employees to pursue their educational goals without taking on debt can be a primary motivator for many essential employees. This can also help to fill basic skill and language gaps that many employees may be lacking. Michael Karicher, Executive Vice President of HR and Training, Remington Hotels partnered with Accelerated Pathways for his talent development needs, explaining, “Their program helps fill a critical gap for parts of our workspace that traditional development programs don't serve very well.”
Getting leadership buy-in
By focusing on a personalized learning experience, employees can build a robust profile of skills that meet their career aspirations and drive the organization forward. However, finding the right skills-based approach requires data-driven decision-making and buy-in from leadership. According to Andrew Vecchiarelli, “Executive sponsorship can be the catalyst that drives your entire talent management engine, but it really takes thinking about how skills change your HR ecosystem and not just how it helps become a proof point of a particular learning experience.”
Support from direct supervisors is also key to successful implementation, as they play a significant role as champions (or gatekeepers) in employee promotion and advancement. They’re frequently asked, ‘What do I need to do to get to the next level?’ If they’re willing to champion a new skills-based development approach, then the program will gain success and the employer will earn a reputation for its culture of fostering employee growth.
Taking the first steps
According to the Working Learners Index, 90% of employees say they would stay with their employer if education was offered as a benefit. Most organizations understand this and strive to offer talent development opportunities that deliver improved results. Ultimately, that’s what skills-based development is about—keeping the employee happy with their role, but also providing them opportunities to develop and move either laterally or vertically in the organization.
Ready to shift to skills-based development? At Pearson, we have the right resources to help you customize the best approach for your workforce. Our programs aren't just discounts on tuition. We offer managed education services that target your skills gap, drive your business objectives and make you an employer of choice. Get in touch with us to learn more!
Wondering if a college degree is really worth the time and money investment? What if it doesn’t pay off? And what about the people who find success without a college degree?
Here’s the thing… those situations are more of an exception than the rule. In the real world, people without a bachelor’s degree end up earning 35% less per year than those who graduated. In addition, bachelor’s degree requirements have become more commonplace for good-paying jobs.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average college graduate earns $78,000 per year, against an average of $45,000 per year for individuals with only a high school diploma. Even college dropouts are twice as likely to live in poverty compared with those who completed earned a degree.
In the information age, this trend will only continue, and the best jobs with higher incomes will require a college degree. Bottom line… if you want a stable career where you can build your profession and earning potential over time, college is the way to go.
2. Better employer benefits
Don’t want to end up in the gig economy with no health insurance or other safety nets? College graduates have greater access to employer benefits like paid time off, retirement savings plans and other full-time perks. In fact, degree holders are 47 percent more likely to have health insurance through their jobs than individuals with just a high school diploma.
These types of benefits can have long-term significance, especially if you live in a country with soaring healthcare costs and expensive retirement living. Having a full-time job with good benefits can help you build long-term security and savings—rather than being wiped out by an emergency or sudden health scare. You’ll have the chance to live and retire more securely.
3. Lower unemployment rates
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics consistently shows that college graduates have lower unemployment rates than individuals who did not go to college. In February 2022, high school graduates with no college had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, whereas those with a bachelor’s degree had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.2 percent.
Bachelor’s degree holders have better chances of possessing the skills that appeal to employers and therefore of getting hired and earning more. Not only does unemployment decrease considerably for college graduates, but they can also move up the career ladder faster and find more career options.
4. More career opportunities
As mentioned, college graduates have a wider variety of career options than other workers do. Having a bachelor’s degree allows you to apply to many different career fields, even outside of your major. In fact, over 80 percent of jobs in four of the fastest-growing occupations—healthcare, STEM, education and government services—require a bachelor’s degree.
Having more job opportunities also means having a greater chance of finding a career that you enjoy. For example, if you majored in psychology but eventually decided that you’d prefer to teach, you could still qualify for a teaching position and could transition more easily than someone who has to start their education from scratch.
5. Stronger personal development
Earning a bachelor’s degree is a terrific way to let employers know that you’re a goal-oriented applicant who can provide great communication, leadership and problem-solving skills—all attributes which are key to the future of work.
However, a degree is much more than just proving your value to others. College helps you achieve personal growth and self-development. There’s a deeper type of learning that you gain as you pull yourself out of your comfort zone and endure the academic, personal and social challenges faced as an incoming first-year student. College challenges you intellectually while also giving you the opportunity to explore your interests, expand your mind, reach new goals and define who you want to be in the world.
At Accelerated Pathways, we empower you get the degree you want, from the school you want, at the speed you want… all without going into debt. Our students are free from the limitations of traditional college—no classrooms, set schedules or overpriced textbooks!
No matter where you are in completing a degree, you can do it faster—and cheaper—by knocking out college credit with Accelerated Pathways. Why not start today?
Important announcement: Every college student should have a LinkedIn profile! Don’t worry if you don’t have much—or any—professional work experience yet. You can still build a great presence that helps you define your career goals and connect to the professional world.
Think of LinkedIn as your interactive resume—a place to demonstrate your skills, tell your story and network with employers and professionals so you can begin to build your career. Need help getting started? Follow these steps!
1. Take a professional photo
This doesn’t have to be the standard studio headshot, but it's a good idea to have someone who can take a photo of you in good lighting looking professional.
Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is not the place to show off your quirky, silly or flirty side! This is where you want to explore your more refined, mature self. If you’re unsure of what to wear or how formal to go, check out some of the other professionals on LinkedIn in your field of interest. That should give you a promising idea of the etiquette and standard for that industry.
Finally, don’t forget to smile! People want to work with friendly, well-rounded individuals, so an approachable demeanor can go a long way.
2. List your desired job in your headline
Your LinkedIn headline is a great place to define your profession. Don’t use this space to tell the world that you’re a student or what you’re studying. Instead, use your headline to tell others what role you can do or want to do.
For example, if you’re studying Computer Science and specifically want to work as a website developer, try a headline like “Website Developer | Experience with Adobe Dreamweaver, Sublime Text & WordPress.” Maybe you’re studying education and want to become an elementary teacher? How about “Early Childhood Educator | Passionate about Montessori & nature schools”? You can even create a pitch in your headline that outlines your sense of purpose.
People can find out where you are in the process of gaining experience, finishing school or earning certifications in the rest of your profile, so keep your headline focused on your primary career goal.
3. Use keywords in your About and Skills sections
Your About section is an excellent way to introduce yourself on LinkedIn and quickly advertise your qualifications. Think of it like the Summary section of your resume and create a brief statement, about 1-2 sentences, focused on your relevant experience as well as your career-developed skills.
Try adding in keywords and tailoring your skills to employer needs. To achieve this, check out some job listings you’re interested in and note specific requirements and desires. Also note any words or phrases used by others in your industry to describe their roles. Include as many as possible in both your About and Skills sections.
Your Experience section is a place to add any work you’ve done that’s relevant to the profession you want. This is not the place to add the summer job you had at a pizza shop or your part-time position stocking shelves. Employers, hiring managers and professional colleagues don’t need to know about every paid position you’ve ever held. Not only can that distract from your qualifications, but it can clutter up your profile and make it seem like you’re not clear about your career goals or employers’ needs.
If you’re lacking work experience, add in internships, volunteer work, leadership experience, extracurricular activities or other related involvement and training you can think of to compensate. Maybe you were a “Freelance Web Developer” who finished a website project for a friend’s business. If it’s relevant, add it! Under each job title, write a short paragraph about what you accomplished there rather than listing a bunch of bullet points. Your profile should tell more of a story about your experience than a resume would.
5. Beef up your Education section
What you’re lacking in your Experience section can also be made up for in your Education section. Use this area to add in any awards, activities, academic societies you’ve been involved in or other educational accomplishments. You can even highlight relevant courses you’ve taken, particularly if they were outside of your normal schoolwork and/or recognized by known organizations.
The Projects section is where you’ll want to build your portfolio. Do you have any examples of your work such as architectural plans, photography, writing, graphic designs, spreadsheets or anything else that shows off the skills you claim you have? LinkedIn lets you share rich media and other files to let employers see exactly what you can do.
You can optimize this section with projects from various class projects, freelance gigs or just personal projects you created specifically to highlight your skills for employers. Be sure to add in any detailed descriptions of the project and include any team members who may have contributed to the work.
7. Develop your story
Now that you’ve built an awesome profile, it’s time to start developing your story. Unlike a traditional resume that gives a glimpse into your past, LinkedIn lets you show and tell your professional story by sharing posts about things you’re working on, creative ideas, industry thoughts and engagement with other professionals and industry associations.
This type of “skill-based storytelling” is the future of the resume and will set you apart in your industry. People will be able to see who you are, how you interact and what you’re about. Getting involved in this way also helps you to keep pace with the latest industry developments and future of work.
Look for ways to show off your abilities, insert yourself in the conversation or even develop a bit of your own branding and marketing. Through posts, videos, creative contributions and other submissions, you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed, staying relevant and finding your dream job!
8. Build your network
There are plenty of professional organizations and industry associations you can join on LinkedIn. One college student had this advice for building your LinkedIn network, “When meeting someone in class, a networking event, a coffee chat or any other occasion involving a potential life connection, you may as well add them as a connection on LinkedIn!”
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to attach a note to any connection request. Write a little personalized message saying hello and reminding the person how you met or explaining why you’d like to connect. Once you’re connected to a core group of professionals, check out their connections on LinkedIn and begin adding secondary connections. It’s easier to add mutuals when there’s just one degree of separation.
9. Give to get recommendations
Did you have a great supervisor at an internship? What about a mentor who taught you the ropes? A leader at your volunteer group who inspired you? Give them a recommendation on LinkedIn!
The best way to get recommendations is to give them. Rather than just requesting recommendations from people you know or have worked with, give them one and they’ll likely return the favor. Try to get at least one recommendation for each role you’ve listed under experience.
And voilà! You’re now on your way to getting recognized in your desired profession and having a successful start to your career. Be sure to check out LinkedIn’s profile checklist as a final step. And if you’re interested in building a great student resumé next, check out this blog!
Picking a major is a… major decision! Need some help? Our advice is to start with the end in mind. We don’t mean what you want to do in college. Instead, think about what you want to do after college.
That can seem like a difficult place to start, especially since careers paths aren’t straight lines with final destinations. However, it’s important to gain a general idea of what you’d like to do before figuring out what type of education you’ll need.
This will require a bit of research and soul-searching, so grab some paper and get ready to answer some questions!
First, let’s consider the skills and competencies you already have.
1. Who are you?
Knowing your gifts, talents, likes, dislikes, goals and aspirations is the first step. That’ll make it easier to match your capabilities with the opportunities and needs of society. The point isn’t to decide your future. It’s to start gaining momentum in a direction you’re confident in.
Write down your answers to the following questions:
What activities and subjects are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?
Examples: baseball, volunteering with children, organizing the spice cabinet. Identifying your strengths will help guide you toward a career that you’ll look forward to every day.
What activities and subjects are you bad at? What do you not enjoy?
Examples: talking on the phone, Algebra, being indoors. Identifying your weaknesses is just as helpful as identifying strengths. This will help you understand what kind of jobs aren’t for you.
What projects have you completed that make you proud?
Examples: I built a model airplane, created a social media campaign, canvassed for an environmental cause. This will help you identify what kind of jobs you find fulfilling.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Examples: playing video games, traveling, exploring the outdoors. This will help you determine your job preferences and desired lifestyle.
2. What are your skills and preferences?
Now, let’s look at all the answers you’ve provided so far. Try to identify the underlying skills, preferences and personality traits that connect your answers. Really stretch here—look for commonalities. This will help you identify employable skills and your work style.
Example: Someone who listed “blogging” under their likes and “Physics” under their dislikes, might find the following commonalities:
My skills: Writing, communication, storytelling My preferences: Creative projects, things that don’t require math or science
Now it’s your turn! Create two columns labeled skills and preferences and write down yours.
3. What do you want?
Now that you understand a little more about yourself, your skills and your preferences, let’s think about what you’d like in return. We don’t mean just a paycheck. Job benefits extend beyond compensation. Some of the more important job benefits are found in the work itself or even in what that job allows you to do outside of work.
Think about the kind of life you want to lead and let that guide you toward a career that will support those unique aims—either directly or indirectly.
Answer the following questions:
What are some of your personal goals?
Do you want to climb Mount Everest? Direct a movie? Climb the corporate ladder? Change lives through social work? Write it down!
Is there anything you want to improve in the world?
Working isn’t just about earning a living. It’s about giving back and being a positive influence on society. What positive influences do you feel the world needs?
What is your ideal lifestyle and salary?
Do you want to live on the beach in California? Do you want to work from home, retire early? What does “the good life” mean to you?
4. What are your top 5 careers?
Now it’s time to combine the “skills and preferences” lists you made with your notes on goals and lifestyle to find some actual professions that are perfect for you.
Warning: This will take a little research! Here’s how to get started:
Check out job listings.
The internet is your friend here. Check out some job listing websites and search for the skills you listed earlier. If you’re having a tough time coming up with ideas, don’t feel dumb Googling things like “active professions” or “jobs that work with kids.”
Research different jobs in the same field.
If you know you’re interested in journalism, that doesn’t mean you have to become the next Lois Lane. Lots of people (with lots of different skill sets) work in journalism—writers, reporters, editors, freelancers, marketers, etc. Keep your mind open and see what’s really out there!
Check out career salaries.
Every career advances. As you gain more experience, your compensation will rise too. So, when comparing careers to your “ideal salary,” don’t just look at the starting salaries. Think about the future of that career too.
Now, based on your research, make a list of your top 5 dream careers!
Video and Graphics Editor
5. Which college majors apply to your career choices?
Now that you understand where you want to head after college, choosing a major is as simple as researching the career choices you picked and doing a bit more digging to find out their educational requirements.
For each of the five careers you listed, answer the following questions:
Does this career field require a degree or other credential? If so, what kind?
Is an associate degree enough to get started? Will you need a bachelor’s? A master’s? Or can you get started just by earning a certification?
Does this career require a specific major? What majors do industry professionals recommend?
Which of these majors most excites you, fits with your interests or aligns with your personal goals?
Can you find an internship or mentor to make sure you really like this field?
Congratulations—You did it!
You’ve successfully narrowed your college options from “I don’t know—anything, I guess” to just a few highly-specific target majors that are guaranteed to get you started in the right direction.
Now, do college your way.
Ready to find out more about your final major picks and craft the perfect college experience for that major? We can help!
At Accelerated Pathways, we empower you get the degree you want, from the school you want, at the speed you want… all without going into debt. Our students are free from the limitations of traditional college—no classrooms, set schedules or overpriced textbooks!
No matter what career or major you’re interested in, you can do it faster—and cheaper—by knocking out college credit with Accelerated Pathways.
Meet Nailah! This Accelerated Pathways student is an aspiring teacher with a passion for instruction and student engagement. However, she previously struggled to finish her bachelor’s degree at a traditional four-year college while trying to balance the demands of a full-time job.
Thankfully, with the flexibility of Accelerated Pathways, she’s now on her way to finishing her degree, earning her teacher’s certificate and changing the world!
Check out our interview with Nailah to learn more about her inspiring story.
What made you choose Accelerated Pathways?
The program really stood out because it’s designed for people like me, who need the flexibility of an accredited program. Since my degree program is self-paced, I don’t have the pressure to take on more than I can handle. It fits into my life with work, but it also doesn’t take exceptionally long to finish and graduate.
Why did you decide to major in Psychology?
I’m fascinated with the “why” behind human behavior. There’s always an origin to behavior—whether good or bad. When I see the world from that perspective, I feel it allows me to be more patient and gracious. I knew that going to school to understand the way the mind works and how it ties into behavior would only make me a better teacher.
How’s your education helping with your career and life goals?
Going back to school has given me a boost of confidence – not only in the workplace, but also in my personal life. I would never tell anyone that going back to school is the easiest thing to do, but—my goodness—has it been worth it!
In the workplace, I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned in a lot of my classes, especially in the way that I show up for my team professionally. I’ve learned how to celebrate myself, how to better prioritize my time, how to better manage my mental health and how to give my best—even when I don’t feel like it.
How’s your experience with the Accelerated Pathways team?
I have nothing but amazing things to say about every person I’ve encountered. They are exceptionally supportive, and I can tell that they truly want to see me succeed. They’ve gone above and beyond to help me be the best that I can be—cheering me on from the very beginning—from monthly meetings with my advisor to having access to the Student Support team. Accelerated Pathways has offered me more support than I’ve ever gotten at a traditional four-year university.
How soon until you finish your degree?
I started Accelerated Pathways only having enough credits to classify as a sophomore. Now, I’m proud to say that I have three classes left before graduation! On top of that, I’ve made the Dean’s List every term at my graduating institution. This is really the biproduct of having the best support system with this program that I could ask for. Every step of this journey has been filled with the most incredible people!
Any post-graduation plans? What’s next?
After graduation, I plan to study for my teaching certification exam. I’m excited about the potential future of being an educator. Hopefully, I’ll be in the classroom soon – helping to shape futures! I’m looking forward to that full-circle moment, when I can see how the puzzle pieces truly come together from start to finish.
Any advice you’d give to others wanting to pursue a degree?
Just do it! Push through the fear of what it’ll be like or even the fear of not being successful because I’m here to tell you that it is more than possible, and I can guarantee that you will have the best cheerleaders with this program. You are capable of so much, especially with the right support system!
We totally agree! Thinking of joining Nailah and thousands of other working adults in pursuing your educational goals? You’ll be amazed at how easy we make it to earn a degree completely debt-free! Learn more today.
Student loan borrowers in the United States currently owe a whopping $1.75 trillion in student loan debt! As the costs of college continue to increase and more students get stuck in the debt trap, many are looking for new ways to afford a degree.
Luckily, there are alternatives. In fact, 94% of Accelerated Pathways’ students graduate completely debt-free!
Check out these top 3 ways you can avoid student loan debt and get a head-start in life.
1. Choose an affordable degree
With so many college options available today, there are more opportunities to reduce the costs of college while still getting a high-quality education. For example, choosing an online degree program can cut the most significant costs of traditional college like campus fees, equipment charges, textbooks, etc.
At Accelerated Pathways, we offer low-cost online courses that are regionally accredited. That means you can easily transfer your credit and graduate from your college of choice while saving a ton of money. Our academic advisors can find affordable degree paths for any educational goal. They create custom side-by-side degree comparisons to help students see which degree plan is most affordable and find ways to graduate completely debt-free.
2. Work while studying
Working full-time or part-time while attending college is another great way to avoid student loan debt. If you can pay for college as you go, instead of taking out loans to pay off large lump sums, then you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Working while studying is also a lot easier if you’re taking self-paced, online courses. We give students the flexibility to study around their work schedule—anytime, anywhere. You can also start courses whenever it’s convenient for you, instead of having to wait for a semester start date or course schedule.
Before you know it, all your hard work will pay off because, once you earn your degree, you can qualify for a promotion, a new job or higher pay. The difference is now you don't have to pay off student loans with your earnings or spend decades recovering your opportunity cost.
3. Take advantage of your employer’s tuition assistance
Did you know that many employers provide educational benefits as a way to help their employees earn a degree? This is an excellent way to subsidize your education and avoid student loan debt.
If you’re planning to work while attending college, then consider getting a job with an employer who offers tuition reimbursement assistance. On average, companies provide around $6,000 per employee per year.
We started Accelerated Pathways because we believe college shouldn’t be a debt sentence. Our goal is to help students find the most flexible, affordable degree path possible and graduate completely debt-free.
Ready to learn your options and avoid the student loan trap? We’re here for you! Check out our easy degree pricing.
Your test is tomorrow. You’ve been trying to study for three hours now. So far… you’ve made two snacks, checked your phone 12 times, folded one pile of laundry and made a cool little beat on your desk.
Stop procrastinating and try these six ways to get motivated to study.
1. Change your location
Switch it up! You’ve been dragging your lifeless body back and forth to the same spot where you plopped your laptop – only to find your place in your textbook and then immediately lose motivation again.
Unplug that laptop and take it to a new location! How about a good coffee shop, outdoor patio, local library or even just another room in your house or building?
Sometimes all you need is a good scene shift to get your head in the right study space.
2. Share your new knowledge
Learning gives you new material for conversations, posts, jokes and texts. Try to stay motivated by thinking of ways you can share your newfound knowledge.
Imagine posting your silly side thoughts, like:
“Wow, just read in my history textbook that Alexander the Great was accidentally buried alive. I think I’m cool with just being average now.”
You did the work, now you get a reward – yay! Just think… what rewards motivate you?
Is there something reasonable that you can gift yourself after a good study session? Maybe a new song on iTunes? Every time you finish reading 20 pages, you get to download one new song. Yeee… dance party!
You know that one subject that bores you out of your mind? Time to go the opposite direction and pretend to love it… obsessively!
Here’s you doing your biology homework now:
“Oh wow! You mean to tell me that cultured cells expressing proteins of interest are actually allowed to take up radioactively labeled amino acids for a brief interval or “pulse”? How am I’m just now finding this out?! What else happens during the pulse-chase protocol? I must find out!”
Embrace that nerd energy—no matter how forced or sarcastic. It might just be the key to psyching out your mind, and, hey, maybe you’ll actually become obsessed with the subject. Worth a try!
6. Remember why you wanted to study
Flashback to a younger, more idealistic you—fresh as a spring breeze and ready to fill your intellect with knowledge. Your future is looking bright and sunny… uh oh, wait… flash forward to now…
You’re on your third exam and second term paper for the week, plus your job just called you in for an extra shift. How are you ever going to finish everything?! Your body is weary and physically craving that vacation you went on in 2018.
Look… school is crazy tough. But try to remember why you wanted to study. You know it’ll lead to brighter horizons, more personal development, greater opportunities and new connections.
You don’t want to work that terrible customer service job for the rest of your life... do you? Didn’t think so! So, just remember why you’re learning and go hit those books.
At Accelerated Pathways, we’re here to cheerlead you the whole way through your studies. Your personal academic coach is always just a chat away and ready to make sure you’re motivated, on target and meeting your life goals.
Want to knock out your gen ed courses in an easy, supportive, flexible way and still graduate from the college of your choice? Click here to find out how.
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.
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
Fees (many campus programs have fees for health insurance, shots, bus programs, parking, etc.)
Room & board
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:
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 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.com, scholarships.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 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 accredited—the 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.
Ever worked in the customer service industry? If so, you’ve probably collected a few not-so-fun stories about your customer interactions.
A 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 real. Working 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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 PTSD? That’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.
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?
A 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.
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.
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.
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.
A 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 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 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.
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.
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, anywhere. Learn how it works!
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.”
Summer is a time to unwind, enjoy life and reconnect with friends and family. But sometimes all that downtime can lead to ennui—a feeling of listlessness—especially after days of lounging by the pool or getting bored with the same options on your streaming services.
That’s why more summer breakers are mixing up their playtime with engaging, productive tasks like learning new skills and taking new courses. Summer can be a great time to catch up on goals you’ve been wanting to accomplish, and it doesn’t have to take away from time relaxing or enjoying the outdoors—especially when you can take online courses anytime, anywhere.
Ready to use some of that vacation time productively? Here are four great reasons to take online courses this summer!
1. Discover pet projects
Summer courses can encourage you to learn new things—perhaps even form a pet project! During summer, you may be exposed to educational opportunities you wouldn't otherwise have the chance to experience. Maybe you’ll be traveling to a country with an interesting history and know of a course that will tie into that knowledge. You could even dig into your surroundings to write your assignments on the culture or other aspects of your journey. Perhaps a foreign language course would be the perfect complement to your trip?
Or maybe you’ll be working a summer job, internship or volunteer opportunity and know of a course that pairs well with it. This could be a great time to take a computer, web design, digital marketing or even programming course. One recent graduate recommended taking advantage of any opportunity to tie assignments to current events or topics that you’re passionate about. She recalled using an Essentials of Speech assignment to practice learning and discussing topics that are business critical to her job role. The knowledge she gained created tons of value in her professional life and made the assignment much more enjoyable.
Summer is a great time to focus on specific topics that are relevant to your summer activities. So why not pair them up and get the most out of your summer experience? By focusing on just a few courses over the summer, you can concentrate on subject matters that stoke your passions.
2. Find your work-life balance
Each person has a different work-life balance that can take years to discover. For younger adults, it can be hard to know how much time to dedicate to work vs. life. The right combination is different for each person. Many older adults find themselves realigning their careers in mid-life after they finally figure out what work-life balance makes them feel healthy and happy.
Summer is a great time to begin to determine this balance for yourself, especially if you have some time off and the flexibility to set your own schedule. You can try out different summer vacation study plans to discover the right balance between relaxing and enriching yourself. Do you find that after an hour of relaxation, you’re ready to do something more productive? Make note of those types of feelings.
One summer plan suggests relaxing for two weeks at the beginning of summer, then studying for two hours per day until you figure what works best for you. You can also try a spaced learning approach to switch up topics and give yourself more breaks between study sessions. This can make learning easier and more engaging, especially when you’re in vacation mode, by switching up subjects at regular intervals. Keep tweaking your schedule and feeling out what seems like a healthy balance.
It can also be a good idea to take note of your energy level. For example, are you a morning person who is best at concentrating in the first few hours of the day? After lunch, you may feel sluggish or less able to focus on difficult concepts. In this case, you can plan your summer vacation with a couple hours of study in the mornings—maybe at your hotel or a café—and then go out in the afternoon to explore. If you’re more of a night person, try the opposite. Or maybe you like to study in little intervals?
Just bring your laptop along and pay attention to what works for you! This will help you figure out the type of work-life balance and routine that you enjoy best.
3. Finish college faster
You’ll be amazed at how much faster you can graduate from college just by taking some extra courses over the summer. Even if you take a lighter course load or choose easier courses, it’s a great idea to fit in some study time between your summer activities.
By taking summer courses to speed up your graduation date, you not only save time—but money! The longer you spend obtaining your degree, the less time you’ll have to start or advance your career and earn more money. In addition, students who finish their degrees early get better selections in the job market, according to Monster.com. Employers look favorably on job candidates who finish their degrees quickly because graduating faster demonstrates good organization, determination and work ethic.
Some college degree programs give you the flexibility to fast-track your degree, in addition to taking summer courses. So if you’re wanting to finish college as quickly as possible, look for an accelerated degree program that lets you structure your college experience to complete your general education courses in a compressed format.
4. Keep your learning momentum
Summer days can drift by slowly… and then end abruptly! That feeling can shock your system at the end of summer when it’s time to get back to life. It’s easy to fall into a lull right around July and start to lose your routine, which can eventually lead to unhealthy habits, unproductive choices or just a slump that makes it difficult to get back into the swing of things.
Figuring out a good study time management routine can be hard to establish, especially for students who are newer to college. It may take a few months to form good study habits. However, if this momentum breaks during the summer months or long vacations, it can be difficult to regain—even for experienced students. That’s why taking even one or two courses over the summer can help you keep up a good pace.
A good summer learning plan—with even one or two courses—will help you to maintain some semblance of focus and stimulate your mind in between those spells of partying in the sun. When you return to school after your break, you’ll be able to pick back up with no major hitch.
At Accelerated Pathways, we think summer should be a time to have fun… and learning can be a part of that!
Ready to polish up your skills in between sunscreen applications? We make sure you have all the tools, support and flexibility you need to enjoy and succeed in your studies—anytime, anywhere. Make good use of your downtime this summer. Check out our courses and register today!
Meet Mallory! Her attempt at traditional college didn't work out so well. She knew her abilities weren't the same as neurotypical students. But when given the chance to craft her own flexible learning path, she proved more than capable and discovered that her prior failure was a symptom of trying to force a square peg through a round hole—not a lack of ability.
Given the right learning tools, Mallory soared!
She just completed 21 courses through Accelerated Pathways and transferred to Waldorf University to finish out her Bachelor of Sciences in Business Administration with a Concentration in Management. Did we mention she did all this in two years while working full-time at a large telecommunications company, enjoying her personal life and managing neurodiversity?
Mallory recently shared her inspiring story with us in an interview. Check it out!
Could you share a bit about yourself?
Sure thing! I am an adult neurodivergent student. I initially pursued a traditional college education a decade ago, but I ultimately had to medically withdraw. Instead, I entered the professional world at a large telecommunications company with a Tuition Assistance Program. This eventually led to my decision to pursue a business degree.
In my personal life, I am passionate about giving back to my community. I currently volunteer on the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball board, as well as a local animal shelter. One of the most exciting parts of my personal life is that I am an adult amateur dressage rider. I am starting a brilliant young horse that I purchased with little to no training. I hope to take her up through the levels and achieve a United States Dressage Federation Silver Medal.
What made you want to go back to school?
I currently work in corporate management. Returning to school and earning a degree is a requirement for me to continue to progress in my career.
"Degrees open doors in career paths like mine, and I ultimately want to earn a master’s degree."
With my current company, I have the incredible opportunity to access our Tuition Assistance Program as part of my benefits package. This program has completely funded my bachelor’s degree, and I could not pass up such an incredible opportunity to develop myself and further my career.
What was your experience with the Accelerated Pathways program?
The courses and material were so approachable, and I loved the self-paced nature of the program. I have so much test anxiety. The comprehensive presentation of course materials helped me feel prepared and set me up to succeed. I loved the ability to own my experience and customize my approach to the day-to-day coursework to my individual needs.
“I am neurodivergent and I have learned through this program just how unique my individual needs are compared to the needs of the students who excel in a traditional college environment.”
I thrived in the empowerment of being handed more tools than I needed and set free to craft my own educational experience. I had the freedom to move through modules at my own pace. I was able to try different study approaches and the curriculum moved along according to my availability and comprehension within the course dates. I cultivated my own unique approach to the coursework that enabled me to succeed.
What was your experience with the Accelerated Pathways team?
I had the most incredible experience with the Accelerated Pathways team. This program truly changed my life and radically changed my perception on how accessible a degree is. Thanks in large part to this program, the entirety of my degree, including costs after transfer, will cost less than many students spend to attend a year of public university.
“My academic advisor was critical to my success and a cornerstone of my experience. She was always in my corner and incredibly supportive. Her belief in my ability to push through and accomplish difficult things truly made a difference.”
Anytime I had a question or technical issue, my academic advisor was right there and facilitated the support I needed. She set the bar for my current academic advisors at Waldorf University extremely high!
What time management techniques have worked for you?
Since I get test anxiety, I found it helpful to work through all the course material without the pressure of taking the graded assessments right away. I took a first pass at the course material to identify what I was already familiar with vs. what I needed to spend more time focusing on prior to taking the graded assessments. After reviewing the topics that I needed to spend extra time on, I went through and took all the quizzes but waited to take the tests and final later. I used my performance on the quizzes to identify which topics I needed to invest more study in prior to taking the tests and final exam.
“The ability to tailor the courses to suit my individual needs and comprehension really set me up for success.”
I did have an experience advantage in some of the business courses, as I use a fair bit of the material covered in my professional life. Because of this real-world experience, I was able to move through some courses much faster than others. I also planned strategically around which courses to take based on my personal strengths and weaknesses.
Any advice you’d give to new Accelerated Pathways’ students?
So many things I would love to share with new Accelerated Pathways’ students!
"First, I would advise them to throw away every preconceived notion of what college is supposed to be and explore how to make their educational goals fit into their current abilities and lifestyle."
During the majority of my time with Accelerated Pathways, I worked extreme amounts of overtime through a global pandemic – managing a global telecommunications delivery team. My college experience so far has been consistently atypical, but that works for me. Between October 2019 and March 2022, I completed 21 courses then transferred into my target college. I also made time for my personal life including training as a competitive equestrian 5-6 days a week.
"Second, I would advise students to work closely with their advisor."
It is so important to be honest about what they are struggling with as challenges arise and be open to approaching things differently. Sometimes all we need is a different approach to get around a roadblock. My academic advisor was a call I always looked forward to and she truly was the MVP of my experience in this program. I cannot speak highly enough of her.
"Third, I would advise students to take advantage of opportunities to tie assignments to current events or topics they are passionate about."
I will admit I often accepted a few point deductions on graded assignments because I took them in a direction just slightly outside the guidelines. It made the investment in the assignment useful for more than just checking a box academically, which also made it far more meaningful. My intention is to get an education for the sake of practical application and personal growth, NOT simply for the sake of academic achievement.
For example, I used several of my Essentials of Speech assignments as practice for discussing topics that are business critical to my role, and I recorded all of them using our business tools. The format of our enterprise presenting tool and some of the presentation skills practiced among our executive leadership did not quite meet the preferences and expectations of the professor. That said, the practice I gained presenting with our tools created so much value in my professional life. I am not suggesting that anyone deviate too far, but it becomes significantly easier to prioritize creating original coursework when it is about a topic you are passionate about.
My final thought for new students would be that a college education’s purpose is to expand knowledge in ways that are useful on an individual level. Constantly seeking opportunities to add the value of making a course impacting your personal or professional life makes the experience meaningful.
“Do not waste this opportunity simply checking the boxes for academic achievement. Make this investment add value across every aspect of your life and create a journey you enjoy and are proud of.”
How was the transfer process to your target college?
The transfer process was far easier than expected. I actually began my degree plan and completed it in its entirety with the intention of going to Strayer. While I was getting ready to apply, I had an instinctive feeling that I needed to consider a few options, as so many things change over the course of a few years. I considered several schools but knew immediately what my choice would be when I looked into Waldorf. Every credit I earned has transferred in and after my evaluation I am much closer to graduation than I expected when I applied.
“My academic advisor was a wonderful support resource answering my questions and providing guidance for processes."
When I mentioned wanting to consider multiple options prior to transferring to make sure I chose the perfect school for me, she was extremely supportive and helped me find my way.
How many classes do you have left until graduation?
I have 13 courses remaining to take at Waldorf, and I am hopeful to complete them and graduate in May of 2023.
Any post-graduation plans?
I have a few big picture goals. I absolutely have my eye on a Master of Professional Studies in Business Architecture and Transformation from Penn State Online. I am keeping my options open though. So much can change in a year, and I could easily see myself taking a break from school to start a family or pursuing a different degree/school. It is a huge goal to get a master’s degree.
We hear you might be getting a promotion at work?
There is an opportunity for me to step into another aspect of the business and learn an entirely new skillset – very exciting! I work with so many brilliant people and I am honored to even have been considered for this role.
“This career progression will translate wonderfully to the next phase of my education.”
I will be taking on a business-critical role with specialized required skills and knowledge that correlates well to the higher-level business courses I have planned to take in the upcoming year. I have kept my leadership very closely up to date with my degree progression, and I am certain that my effort and accomplishments in career development off the clock played a role in my selection.
How has your education helped you in your career/life?
My education has facilitated an immense amount of growth and development in all areas of my life. It has truly changed my perspective on my worth and abilities as an individual, a professional and a student. I have only recently learned to look at neurodiversity as a fact, rather than a problem or illness. My abilities and strengths are simply not the same as someone who is neurotypical. I often saw myself as lesser because my neurodiversity did result in failures such as my attempt at the traditional college experience.
“This education has enabled me to prove to myself how capable and able I am. It has helped me learn my failure was a symptom of trying to force a square peg through a round hole, not evidence of lack of intelligence or ability.”
I never thought I would be able to accomplish as much as I have in the ways that I have. My experience is unique—like me! What works for me may not work for every other student. It is my sincere hope that my success and my story can reach others who have had the same struggles and showcase just how capable we truly are. My biggest takeaway from this journey is that failure does not mean I cannot do something, it only means I cannot do something under the conditions I originally attempted to do it.
Phenomenal! Thank you for sharing, Mallory. Your journey is truly inspiring, and we’re so proud of you!
Ready to be our next student success story?
At Accelerated Pathways, we love to share the accomplishments of our students. Learners come to us from many different starting points on their educational journeys, and we pride ourselves on finding the right path and support for each individual to succeed and grow. Learn how our program works!
Worried about digital disruption affecting your industry? Between automation, artificial intelligence, emerging technology, growing e-commerce and the evolving distance economy, there has never been a more critical time to prepare for the future. Rapidly advancing technologies are having an enormous impact on the way businesses operate and interact with their customers, and the ability to keep up with this digital transformation can either make or break an organization.
In particular, reskilling talent for the future is becoming more critical to business success. According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, automation could take away 15 percent of all global work hours from humans by 2030, leaving around 400 million workers displaced.
Other reports indicate that half of the work done by humans globally can be automated, with up to 30 percent automated by 2030. This statistic may vary from country to country depending on factors such as speed of automation, but it is becoming increasingly clear that employers will need to keep pace with fast technology shifts in order to survive the evolving marketplace.
Skill needs are changing fast
To succeed, employers will need to identify critical skill gaps in their workforce. There are several approaches companies can use to weigh their current skills against future demand. One method, employed by our partner Faethm, uses artificial intelligence to help companies clearly understand the future of their talent needs. By collecting a diverse cross-section of employer data, Faethm analyzes various data points against multiple dynamic forces shaping an industry’s labor market—from technological disruption to economic shocks. This allows the organization to understand which jobs can be automated, which can be contracted, and which need to be performed in-house.
This latter category (jobs that need to be performed in-house) is typically the one targeted by employers for reskilling. In fact, filling skill gaps has become a top priority for many human resource departments, even more so than acquisition of new talent, as companies have found that reskilling is no longer a trend, but a survival strategy. To sustain a company’s growth, employees need to receive the right training in the right areas so they can adjust to coming technology shifts and remain competitive.
Employees value companies that offer these types of training opportunities as it allows them to develop their careers, improve job security and increase financial compensation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over one million workers are projected to be displaced in the next decade due to advancing technology. These workers may be reskilled to new viable and desirable growing roles at an average cost of $24,800 per displaced worker. While this may seem like a steep price, there’s an even steeper price to inaction.
How to keep up
The latest Global CEO Survey found that CEOs who have embraced upskilling and reskilling see the rewards through gains such as higher workforce productivity and innovation. Employers also understand that the money they put into workforce training is a financial and social investment. The focus on reskilling employees for jobs of the future is instrumental in improving social mobility, which is a key factor in reducing inequality. A new report found that a 10% improvement in global social mobility would boost economic growth by nearly 5% over the next decade.
While most companies understand the need to reskill, they struggle with either not knowing how to identify skill gaps or how to go about launching an effective learning program to address their skill gaps. According to McKinsey, reskilling efforts need to be practical with a real connection from the training to the new job. Many companies don’t know how to connect the dots between workers’ current skills and the skills they’ll need in the future. In this case, it can be beneficial to seek outside expertise and hire the right people to oversee reskilling efforts.
Pearson Workforce Skills division offers just the solution – in a two-step process. First, using Faethm’s expertise and technology, we conduct a skills gap analysis to provide organizations with better insights into what future needs are most in-demand for their industry. This helps organizations to identify competencies lacking and create an overall strategic skills roadmap to address the skills gap. Second, Pearson Accelerated Pathways targets individualized learning plans that connect employees with the proper educational pathways to gain the skills needed for the organization’s future success.
By helping organizations address critical skill gaps by first identifying market needs and then by providing training adjacent to the skill needs, we’re able to comprehensively help companies future-proof their workforce and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving technology landscape. Ready to survive and thrive in the age of digital disruption? We can help you keep your workforce prepared. Reach out to learn more!
We’ve all seen the stories about college dropouts who go on to achieve great success in life.
Kanye West titled his debut album after his college dropout experience and went on to gain fame and success doing what he loves. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard twice—only to become one of the world’s richest people. And what about Oprah Winfrey? She dropped out of Tennessee State University to pursue a career in media. That turned out pretty well!
Sounds great, right? Just take a few college courses, find your passion, drop out to pursue it and become rich and famous!
Here’s the good news: Our team helps college dropouts complete their degrees. We work to understand the reasons why students left college in the first place and then provide an alternative path to degree completion.
Check out some of the top reasons why students drop out of college, and how we help them finish.
1. Financial concerns
Here’s a troubling statistic: 89% of students from the first generation in low-earning families tend to drop out of college. Not only have college costs skyrocketed in recent decades, but many students have to work fulltime jobs not just to support themselves, but also to support families. Finding the money or taking out hefty student loans can be a major hindrance to completing a degree. In addition, acquiring student loans or other large-sum financing can be cumbersome and overwhelming.
Many students leave college because they couldn’t find a healthy school-work-life balance. The time spent on class lectures, projects, tests and studying prove to be too much. College is a multiyear commitment, and many students drop out because they just don’t have that kind of time to complete their degrees. Life gets in the way. Work gets in the way. Health gets in the way. Even distance gets in the way for students who attend traditional college campuses. In fact, students who live far away from their college campuses are responsible for 4% of college dropouts.
At Accelerated Pathways, we let students study whenever, wherever! With our self-paced online courses, there’s no need to worry about class schedules, deadlines or even semesters. You can start courses anytime—even on weekends—and learn whenever it’s convenient for your schedule. All you need is a laptop and internet. In addition, we’re experts at finding degree programs that accept prior college credit. That can be a huge time (and cost) saver for students who already knocked out some of their college requirements.
3. College social life
Did you know that 13% of college students drop out because of the social dynamics at college? Campus life can put a lot of pressure on students to fit into new social norms. For some, this can feel like re-living high school drama all over… or worse… feeling like it’s impossible to live up to your peers academically. Many non-traditional college students who return to college after years away are older than the general student population. This can also contribute to feelings of being an outsider who doesn't fit into the college social scene.
We offer an alternative! At Accelerated Pathways, social interaction is online and on your terms. You get to collaborate with teachers, classmates and academic counselors in ways that suit your learning and social style. This lets you put your education—not social dynamics—front and center. You’ll never be forced into an awkward situation that makes you feel distracted from your studies, scared to ask a question or socially uneasy about your learning experience.
4. Lack of support
College is a huge commitment and requires lots of self-dedication and self-determination. While it’s important to nurture your own drive and motivation, it’s also important to have support from friends and/or family. Even the most driven person will sometimes want to give up when the pressure of academia seems overwhelming. Sadly, not everyone gets the type of backing they need. Lack of adequate support from family contributes to 9% of college dropouts. Without supportive people to help push you toward your goals, it can be that much harder to accomplish them.
At Accelerated Pathways, we support you the whole way! While our team can’t replace family, we provide every student with world-class coaching. Our academic counselors are experts at keeping you engaged, prepared for your next steps and encouraged the whole way—even when the going gets tough. We find workarounds when you need a mental health break, and we even help you celebrate your successes. We love our students, and they share the love back! Just see what our students are saying about us.
5. Academic disqualification
College coursework can be challenging, and many students may be unprepared or ill-equipped for the challenges of university academics. In fact, 28% of students who drop out of college are unable to meet the set academic requirements. Feelings of frustration with understanding new concepts plus pressure to complete projects and homework under deadlines only add to this stress. Technical or higher-level courses, in particular, can cause students to feel like the content is moving much too fast to absorb. This can lead to terrible feelings of exasperation and anxiety.
We hate those feelings! That’s why we offer self-paced courses that let students learn in a stress-free environment. By having the ability to move at your own pace, instead of the pace of an instructor or advanced students, you can really absorb the content in your own way. This takes a huge burden off of those who want to return to college after a long time away or those who are learning unfamiliar concepts and difficult material for the first time. No more feeling like things are moving too fast or you can’t ask the questions you need. Plus, our counselors are here to support you and make sure you have the necessary resources every step of the way!
We’re sure you’ve had some very good and specific reasons for leaving college in the past. We’d love to learn what your obstacles were and help you overcome them. Our team is great at finding the right degree program to maximize your prior college credit, motivate you to learn and get you to the finish line. Let us provide you with a comparison of the best degree options to fit your learning style, schedule and budget. Reach out today for a free consultation!
Before the pandemic created a mass push to digital classrooms, online learning had already been on an upward trajectory. Over the last two decades, online learning has grown significantly in both work and education spaces, proving its value as an accessible, affordable way to gain new skills.
Students are choosing online degree programs now more than ever as the benefits become clearer. Check out these reasons why online college is a great choice.
1. Online degrees are as valuable as traditional degrees
When online degree programs were first offered decades ago, many viewed them as inferior to in-person learning. Some employers and hiring managers even preferred applicants with traditional college degrees over those with online college degrees. However, the growth of online learning, especially at established facilities, has helped to legitimate online degrees and remove the stigma previously associated with them.
In today’s economy, nearly all new college graduates entering the job market have at least partially completed their degrees online. In 2018, an estimated 34% of the 16.6 million undergraduate students in the United States were enrolled in at least one online course according to the National Center for Education Statistics, and that number has grown to practically 100% since then.
In addition, students who earn degrees online are found to be more adept at remote work conditions, which are also becoming prevalent across workspaces. Students who earned online degrees are accustomed to similar remote technology for video conferencing, messaging, information sharing and collaboration, so they’re often better at adapting and contributing to remote teamwork.
2. Online colleges match you with the right career
Many employers are finding that online learning can better prepare employees for the workforce because it matches them with curriculum that fits their goals, preferences and skillsets. Traditional colleges typically categorize students by demographics like age and gender, which may be more convenient to the university system, but it doesn’t necessarily serve students well. In fact, a study conducted by the Parthenon Group and the Lumina Foundation found that this traditional way of segmenting students has led to higher dropout rates, lower student satisfaction and less success after college.
In contrast, online colleges have the flexibility to create new ways of categorizing and understanding student needs. They’re able to categorize students in ways that focus on students' motivations and desired skills rather than their inherent traits. This can be helpful in identifying the right kind of learning for each student. Study.com found that student segments at online colleges can look more like this:
Career Accelerators – Typically older and already established in a career but looking to advance.
Aspiring Academics – Recent high school graduates who are focused on academic achievements.
Career Starters – Practical thinkers who look at college as a stepping-stone to a particular career.
Industry Switchers – Those who have started down a career path but want to pursue a different field.
By identifying each student’s root causes and motivations for learning, online colleges have become better able to provide students with the learning they desire. Not only does this motivate the student to perform well in their studies, but it also creates better real-world outcomes when graduates enter the workforce.
3. Online learning offers greater accessibility
There are a number of ways that online learning offers greater accessibility to a wider range of students. First, online students are not bound by geography. That means greater opportunity to study what you want, where you want. It also means not having to worry about transportation or other means for accessing a campus. This is especially helpful for working adults seeking a degree. Online learning affords them more control over their schedule, particularly with self-paced course options.
Second, online learning has opened up a new world of opportunity for disabled students. With online learning, students with physical disabilities no longer have to travel long distances and burden themselves with accessibility challenges and availability of facilities. They also have easier access to educational materials online, which removes the hassle of navigating libraries and other campus buildings. Online learning is not just helpful for mobile-impaired students, it is also beneficial for visual and hearing-impaired students who can apply a wider range of accessibility options and tools online.
4. Online degrees cost less
If you attend a traditional college, you’ll end up paying expensive fees in addition to tuition to support the campus and related facilities, such as athletics. You’re also likely to spend far more on room and board, transportation and costs for campus life when you attend a traditional college. Books alone can add up to a substantial sum, as they’re not included in traditional college tuition.
With online college, students can save tens of thousands of dollars on earning their degree while still gaining a high-quality education. With the rising cost of higher education, online college has become an affordable option for those who want to avoid decades of student loan debt. Most online degree programs are structured to accommodate working students with flexible courses as well as flexible payment plans.
At Accelerated Pathways, we offer pay-as-you-go, self-paced courses with no hidden fees and books included! Whether you're looking to save money, graduate quickly or make school fit into your busy lifestyle, we provide online degree programs that match your goals. Best of all, our courses are regionally accredited and guaranteed to transfer to your degree.
Did you know that dual enrollment is quickly growing in popularity among high school students?
According to Kent Phillippe, associate vice president of research and student success at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), “Research shows huge increases in dual enrollment across the country since 2001, continuing to grow even during the pandemic.” Statistics from UC Davis also show more students are participating in dual enrollment over time, with the trend growing from 11% of high school students enrolled in 2015 to over 18% in 2019.
Why the popularity of dual enrollment?
There are plenty of great benefits for students who choose dual enrollment. Earning credit for a course that counts toward both high school and college is like getting a two-for-one special. Not only does the work you put into a dual credit course count toward your high school graduation, but it also knocks out one of your required college classes. And with the development of online degree options and accessible college courses, earning dual credit has become easier than ever.
While the option to enroll in these programs is usually excluded to junior and senior high school students with certain grade requirements, those who qualify find dual enrollment beneficial for a few key reasons.
Main benefits of dual enrollment
1. Save time and money on a college degree
Dual enrollment courses are typically offered at a discount compared with regular college courses, depending on where you live, because the tuition may be partly covered by your state or school district. In addition, by earning both high school and college credit simultaneously, you can complete college earlier in life and be on your way to building a career.
A study from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) found that 88 percent of community college dual enrollment students continued onto college after high school. The Montana University System found that dual enrollment students have higher high school graduation rates, higher rates of college enrollment, higher rates of persistence to degree, better academic performance and higher rates of degree attainment than their peers who did not participate.
With all the great benefits of dual enrollment, there are also some important considerations. Namely, you’ll want to make sure your college credits count toward your degree. There have been horror stories where students made the mistake of taking dual enrollment courses without researching college transfer policies first. You certainly don’t want to find out your college credit was rejected, and your hard work was for nothing. Be sure to do your research beforehand.
The Accelerated Pathways guarantee
At Accelerated Pathways, you don’t have to worry about this. We guarantee college credit transfer! In fact, our academic counselors help you build out a custom degree plan in advance. Dual credit students can take online courses that replace many of their high school classes and are then easily transferred to their future college. In fact, you’re not just earning dual credit, you’re starting your actual bachelor’s degree while still in high school. We help students knock out general education college courses, which are required by every institution and major, and make sure that you hit the ground running at college. Best of all, the courses you take through Accelerated Pathways are regionally accredited and come with a complete transfer guarantee.
How to start dual enrollment
Ready to get a head start on college? Find out why many students are smartly choosing the Accelerated Pathways dual credit program. Our online college courses cost a fraction of most college tuition fees. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy high quality academic courses that let you learn at your own pace. This can be very helpful for students just starting their first college-level academic courses. Find out if you’re a candidate!
Let’s be real… earning a college degree is expensive. And now with the rising cost of living, it can feel like an even steeper uphill battle.
That’s why many have opted to skip college altogether and go straight into the workforce, hoping to eventually work their way up the career ladder. Unfortunately, this can lead to problems in the long run, when a desired promotion or career switch comes with college degree requirements.
Here’s the good news for those already working: Your company may offer some sort of educational benefit. If so, this could be your best bet for gaining an affordable college degree in today’s economy.
What are employer education benefits?
Employer education benefits—also known as tuition reimbursement or educational assistance programs—are benefits provided by an employer to compensate employees for taking courses. Many employers provide education benefits as a way to help their employees learn, advance their careers and improve their job skills.
The benefit gives employees a chance to subsidize their education, however reimbursement can vary by employer. One company may cover the full cost of tuition while another may cap reimbursement at a certain amount. On average, companies typically provide around $6,000 per employee per year, though many companies are beginning to increase their educational benefits as they see the positive net impact it has on their business.
Some educational benefits programs have certain conditions that must be met by employees. For example, you may have to earn a minimum grade in your courses to receive the benefit. You may also be required to pursue a degree major that directly relates to your current role to be compensated. In addition, a certain level of tenure may be required in order to qualify for tuition reimbursement.
Regardless of the requirements, taking advantage of your education benefits can be a smart way to develop professionally. Not only do these benefits programs allow employees to save huge sums of money on earning a degree, but it also gives them a chance to plan their career path and show initiative in the workplace. Best of all, at a time when many are struggling to pay off thousands in student loan debt, employees who take advantage of their education benefits can avoid this hefty commitment.
How do I use my education benefits?
Surprisingly, not many employees take advantage of their education benefits. In fact, many don’t even know they exist. Here’s the best way to learn about your options and not miss your opportunity.
1. Check with your immediate supervisor or human resources department.
This can be as simple as sending an email or just asking in person, “What type of education or tuition assistance programs do we have available?” If your company has an intranet site, you may be able to find this information there, as well.
2. Read up on any requirements or conditions.
Are you qualified to receive the benefit? Does the educational institution you choose need to be accredited? Do you need to pursue a degree major that complements your current role? Be sure to double-check with human resources to get all your questions answered, especially as you get closer to choosing a college, degree and courses.
3. Determine your out-of-pocket expense.
Many education benefits programs only cover the cost of tuition. That may seem all-inclusive, but for some schools, particularly those with a large campus, there may be fees you have to pay in addition to tuition, such as operating expenses, building fees, student activities fees, etc.
One good way to keep expenses low is to take courses through an online program, like Accelerated Pathways, where there are no hefty campus fees and low course costs. Our advisors can also help you to plan your degree major in line with your employer’s requirements, as well as to maximize your tuition reimbursement. For example, if you’re allotted $6,000 per year, we can design your degree to take as many courses per year to maximize your reimbursement.
4. Make sure you want to stay with the company for a while
If you’re unsure whether you want to grow with your current company, then investing in the education benefits program may be a waste of time. Remember, most degrees take years to complete, depending on how many prior college credits you have and how quickly you plan to finish your coursework. In addition, some companies may require you to stay with the company for a certain period of time after reimbursing your education, so be sure to factor this into your plan.
Overall, taking advantage of your company’s education benefits is a great idea. Even if you don’t complete a full degree, you’ll have the opportunity to take professional development courses—practically free! By gaining new skills and earning a degree, you can improve your career path, qualify for higher pay, gain access to more job opportunities, increase your job satisfaction and see more career flexibility. In fact, a study by Accenture and Lumina found that those who participated in their company’s education benefits program were more likely to be promoted and had a 40% wage increase over a three-year period.
Ready to get started using your employer’s education benefits? We can help! Accelerated Pathways is the perfect college path for working adults. We offer flexible, self-paced online courses that can be taken anytime, anywhere. We’ll help you select a degree plan that fits with your company’s education benefits requirements and allows you to maximize your tuition reimbursement dollars. Get in touch with us today!
This Women’s History Month, in honor of the 2022 International Women’s Day theme of “Break the Bias,” we’re celebrating three incredible women activists who have shaped and transformed our world for the better. Check out the amazing lives and feats of these women who, against all odds, broke biases while uplifting their community and humanity as a whole.
Dolores Huerta (1930-present)
Dolores Huerta is an American labor leader, civil rights activist and co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association – now the United Farm Workers (UFW). Born in 1930 in a small mining town in New Mexico, Dolores was inspired by her father who was a farm worker and miner as well as a union activist who ran for political office and won a seat in the New Mexico legislature in 1938.
Dolores was also inspired by her mother, who was an active participant in community affairs, involved in numerous civic organizations and the church. Her mother encouraged celebration of cultural diversity in the agricultural community where they lived, made up of Mexican, Filipino, African-American, Japanese and Chinese working families.
After graduating from the University of Pacific’s Delta College, Dolores became a teacher and was upset by how many students would come to school hungry and sometimes even with bare feet. This inspired Dolores to begin her lifelong journey of working to correct economic injustice. She joined the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO) and helped to found the Agricultural Workers Association, setting up voter registration drives and pressing local governments for barrio improvements.
In 1955, the CSO founder introduced Dolores to their Executive Director, César E. Chávez. The two shared a common vision of organizing farm workers and decided to launch the National Farm Workers Association in the spring of 1962. With excellent organizing, lobbying and negotiating skills, Dolores was able to successfully secure Aid For Dependent Families (AFDC) and disability insurance for farm workers in the State of California. She was also instrumental in pushing for the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, the first law in the United States granting farm workers the right to collectively organize and bargain for better wages and working conditions.
While the farm workers lacked financial capitol, they were able to wield significant economic power through hugely successful boycotts at the ballot box with grassroots campaigning. In 1965, Dolores helped organize the Delano grape strike in California along with Cesar Chavez. Dolores also served as the lead negotiator in the workers' contract that was created after the strike. And as a principal legislative advocate, Dolores became one of the UFW’s most visible spokespersons.
Dolores has gained many awards and honors throughout her life, including The Eleanor Roosevelt Humans Rights Award in l998, Ms. Magazine’s One of the Three Most Important Women of l997, The Kern County Woman of The Year Award from the California State Legislature, The Ohtli Award from the Mexican Government and The Smithsonian Institution – James Smithson Award.
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)
Sojourner Truth was an American abolitionist and women's rights activist born into slavery in Swartekill, New York. In 1799, New York began to legislate for the abolition of slavery, with emancipation finalized on July 4, 1827. Although Sojourner’s slaveholder had promised to grant her freedom, he changed his mind once emancipation was occurred. In addition, a New York emancipation order did not permit their freedom until they had served as bound servants into their twenties.
Sojourner understood the injustice of her situation and decided to escape slavery with her infant daughter, Sophia, leaving behind her other children in hopes that she’d be able to rescue them upon finding security. She proclaimed, "I did not run off, for I thought that wicked, but I walked off, believing that to be alright." Sojourner was taken in by Isaac and Maria Van Wagener, who settled her remaining one-year service account with her slaveholder for $20.00. A year later, New York law emancipated all slaves, but her slaveholder had already sold Sojourner’s five-year-old child into slavery in Alabama. The Van Wageners helped Sojourner to sue to recover her son. After going to court in 1828, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man.
Inspired by the events and experiencing a spiritual calling to work for justice, Sojourner went on to become an abolitionist and activist across the country. Her best-known speech, delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention, became widely known during the Civil War by the title "Ain't I a Woman?" During the Civil War, Sojourner helped recruit black troops for the Union Army. She also tried to secure land grants from the federal government for formerly enslaved people (summarized as the promise of "forty acres and a mule") after the war. Although the effort was unsuccessful, she continued to fight on behalf of women and African Americans until her death.
A memorial bust of Truth was unveiled in 2009 in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor's Center. She is the first African American woman to have a statue in the Capitol building. In 2014, Truth was also included in Smithsonian magazine's list of the "100 Most Significant Americans of All Time.
Hellen Keller (1880-1968)
Hellen Keller was an American author, disability rights advocate, political activist and lecturer born in Alabama. At just 019 months old, Hellen lost her sight and hearing after a bout of illness. She learned to communicate primarily using home signs. Then, at the age of seven, she met her teacher and companion Anne Sullivan.
Anne used unorthodox techniques to teach Hellen reading and writing, like spelling words on her hand to learn the names of objects around her. She also used the Tadoma or tactile lipreading method, in which a deafblind person places their little finger on the speaker's lips and their fingers along the jawline, picking up the vibrations of the speaker's throat, to understand communication.
Hellen’s unusual training and passion for education gained her acceptance into Harvard University, where she became the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She went on to work for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) from 1924 until her passing. Hellen spent much of her time touring the United States and abroad, advocating for those with vision loss and other disabilities. Hellen also wrote 14 books and hundreds of essays on topics ranging from animals to leaders like Mahatma Gandhi.
In addition to campaigning for those with disabilities, Hellen also advocated for women's suffrage, labor rights, and world peace. She supported the NAACP and was an original member of the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1933, one of her books was targeted and burned by Nazi youth. Hellen wrote an open letter to the Student Body of Germany condemning censorship and prejudice.
In 1971, Hellen was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame and was one of twelve inaugural inductees to the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame on June 8, 2015.
At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we host Women’s History Month activities, educational programming, virtual networking opportunities and more. We value the aspirations of those who work every day to break biases and create a world where difference is valued and celebrated. Interested in joining our diverse and welcoming community of educators and learners? Find out more about our college program!
If you’ve ever binged on social media, you’ve probably encountered that strange feeling while scrolling through endless feeds… like everything in the world is chaotic and spiraling out of control! Then you look outside your window. Birds are chirping, cars are passing and the ants have formed a very productive marching line across the sidewalk.
The shift in perception of reality can be difficult to synthesize. And with the news getting crazier by the day, many are looking for ways to just stay calm and sane.
Logging off for mental health
Accomplishing this can be difficult, but studies have found that logging off of social media more often can be an important step. The Happiness Research Institute found that those who avoid social media, even for just one week, improve in mood because they are more present. Logging off of social media provides more time to explore fulfilling goals and activities. One person who did a social media cleanse for over a year said that they realized how many opportunities they lost in the past because they were on their phone.
Many others have described their experiences cutting back or getting off of social media as a net positive. Frequently they list the upsides as being less distracted, having greater productivity, enjoying the moment and even sleeping better. Others have mentioned that they re-learned how to be social in real life. The term “social media” is somewhat of a contradiction, as people staring at their devices rather than interacting face-to-face, in many respects, creates an antisocial society. By bucking the social media trend, many are finding ways to interact and have real-life conversations that tear down the walls (or screens) between them.
Social media can be a tough habit to kick, though. Recent remarks from former Facebook executives suggest that users are being conditioned to use the platform in a more addictive way. To fight the urge to spend more time on social media platforms, it’s important to make an intention choice and replace the habit with something productive. As one blogger recommended, “If you feel you need social media to stay in the loop, seek out alternatives like newsletters or RSS feeds that are relevant. If you have to establish a social media presence professionally, set boundaries, such as logging in once a week to check messages and schedule the following week’s content.”
Replacing scrolling with learning
There are plenty of other good tips for ways to get off social media by people who have done it. Some suggest exercising as a way to clear the mind and strengthen the body. Creating arts or crafts is another good way to log off and tap into your imagination. Some choose to volunteer with helpful organizations as a way to build bonds in their community and make a difference in the world. Others are reading, learning and going back to college as a way to reset balance in their lives.
In fact, gaining an education has been shown to boost mental health overall, as it allows students to connect with others, develop a sense of meaning or purpose, build coping skills and develop goals and hobbies. Education can also improve happiness by providing a sense of accomplishment. Some find that completing assignments and earning a degree gives them a feeling of pride and a boost in morale. Studies of the relationship between education and mental health have shown that higher levels of education can also help graduates gain important structural and economic advantages.
No matter what goals or activities you decide to focus on, limiting social media consumption has positive benefits. In addition to enjoying greater presence in the moment, you can also block off much of the negative criticisms that always seem to come when posting about personal struggles or experiences on social media. Additionally, less time on these platforms provides the space to build a quality of life that makes you feel secure and confident – rather than seeking that validation online.
Ready to redirect your energy away from social media and all the madness in the world right now? Come join a community of learners and problem-solvers! At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we’re great at helping individuals find the degree path that engages their interests. We understand that learning benefits wellbeing by encouraging interaction, fostering open-mindedness and aiding in discovery.
Why not exercise your brain and work toward life goals right now rather than watching the world seemingly unravel on social media? Get started with us today!
Usually when working adults and parents consider going back to college to gain or finish a degree, they’re faced with an important concern: Can I manage it all? Often, they feel discouraged before even starting – wondering if they can find and maintain a healthy work-life-study balance.
In this blog we’ll provide six tips on ways to manage your study time as a busy working adult, plus share some advice from learners who’ve found methods to make college work with their schedules.
1. Consider online degree options
Before enrolling in a degree program, you should get a feel for the different options that are available. By comparing several different programs, you can illuminate differences in key factors such as scheduling flexibility, career development opportunities and areas of curriculum specialization or emphasis. In addition, online degree options can be an important consideration for adult learners, as these programs offer a flexible method to balance work, life and school.
Here are a few of the benefits online options provide for busy working adults:
Online courses let you learn at your own pace. Typically, online courses offer more flexibility, allowing you to log in and contribute to class discussions on your own time. This is especially valuable for those balancing school with family obligations or full-time work.
With online learning, you can choose the ideal program for you based on duration, tuition and other key factors, regardless of location. You will also save time commuting to and from classes.
Online degree programs tend to be more popular among older or non-traditional students. If you’re concerned about feeling out of place on a college campus, online learning may help you feel more included.
Online learning provides the type of flexibility for earning a degree that many have not previously experienced, especially those who earned their bachelor’s degree from a traditional campus with a set semester schedule. Online learning allows you to manage your degree and schoolwork on your terms.
2. Evaluate your schedule in advance
Before you start your school journey, take inventory of your schedule. You’ll likely be busier than you think, so be sure to list all the activities you take part in during a typical week. Calculate how much time you spend on each activity. Figure out how much free time you have and if there is anything you can eliminate. Specifically, consider your current work and family obligations, and then reflect on how you will find the time to read assigned materials, attend classes, log into class forums, complete assignments and study for exams.
The amount of time you’ll need to devote to school can vary widely depending on your chosen major and course load. Ask a representative at your school how much time you should expect to devote each week to your studies. Are you completing classes online, or do you also need to factor in commuting time? Are online classes synchronous (meaning you must attend at specific times) or asynchronous?
It’s also important to discuss your goals and schedule with your job so they can be aware of your schedule constraints and help you develop a plan that is executable. They may also be able to help you attain employer-supplied tuition assistance to complete your degree. If this is the case, it could be beneficial to pace yourself to maximize your benefits. Tuition assistance programs often have a yearly cap of the funds available, so be sure to investigate the policies and calculate the most efficient number of credits for you to complete each year as you’re working toward your degree.
3. Make a plan
What’s your graduation goal? How many credits will you need to complete in each term to reach that goal? Are your classes available each term? Is your program in a cohort format or do you have more flexibility? These are all factors you will need to consider when making a long-range plan. Be sure to meet with your academic advisor to work out a projected completion schedule.
For shorter-range goals, review your syllabus for each course. Estimate how much time you will need for each of your assignments and allot blocks of time in your schedule. Use whatever tools work best for you—a paper calendar, electronic calendar, checklist, etc. At the same time, don’t forget Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. If you allow too much time, you may find yourself being inefficient.
At the beginning of each week, look over the assignments due that week and budget your available time to complete them. See if there are any opportunities to work ahead. By doing this, you may be able to create more buffer space in your schedule. It’s important to work in some breaks for long-term sustainability.
If your classes require you to be available at specific times, make sure there aren’t any conflicts with your work schedule or other activities. Consider allocating vacation or PTO for extra time you may need to complete bigger projects. One graduate we spoke with completed her degree while she was working two part-time jobs by finding creative ways to maximize her time. She recalled, “I would get up in the morning, go to the gym and be reading as I was on the elliptical – basically, looking for any pockets of time I could study.”
4. Designate a study space
Reserving time and a comfortable place to study can be a challenge when you return to school as a working adult. Find a quiet space that you can set apart for studying, whether that’s a home office, a desk in the attic, a peaceful back porch or a favorite table at the local library or coffee shop. Be sure to keep your designated area as clean and clutter-free as possible to minimize study-time distractions.
As one student recalls, “Some of my classmates who were busy parents would attend courses sitting in their cars because it was the only quiet spot they could find, but they made it work!” It can be difficult to set boundaries with family members, but up-front communication can help to establish your do-not-disturb zone.
5. Develop a support system
Have a few people in your corner to help, like trusted family members, friends or even fellow classmates and mentors. Being able to count on people to help you manage responsibilities and even tackle household chores, especially during exam time, can be a big plus. More than anything, though, you’ll need people to encourage you and remind you why you’re seeking a college education in the first place. These are the people you can turn to for support, particularly if you start second-guessing yourself.
6. Brush up on your study skills
If you’ve been out of the classroom for a few years, you may worry that your study skills are a little rusty. This may not actually be the case, as many mature students find that they are better equipped for the classroom after some time away. But if you’re concerned about your study skills, here are a few tips:
Get to know your professors. Even a few minutes talking with them may give you a better sense of their expectations, plus it helps to have a relationship established with your professors.
Check out online tutorials. Many educators provide free videos on YouTube and other digital content platforms with advice on essay writing, note-taking and studying for exams.
Take a study skills class. Often, colleges and public libraries offer seminars that help older students learn about the latest study tools and techniques available to them.
Just remember, it’s never too late to learn. In fact, the percentage of students over 25 who pursue higher education is set to increase over the next ten years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. With the right commitment and attitude, school can be both fulfilling and invigorating – no matter when you return.
At Accelerated Pathways, we love to share the success of our students. Learners come to us from many different starting points on their educational journeys, and we pride ourselves on finding the right path for each individual to succeed.
Today, we’re recognizing the achievements of Webster Rose, an associate degree graduate from our academic partner Pima Community College. Webster has not only been a supportive friend and inspiring mentor to other students, but he’s also gone above and beyond in his coursework and projects. At this year’s Instructional Technology Council Annual Conference, Webster will be presented with the Outstanding e-Learning Student Award!
We sat down with Webster to learn more. Originally from Jamaica, he re-located to Tampa, Florida in recent years and began working full-time at Humana. Webster smartly decided to use his company’s tuition reimbursement benefits to pursue a degree in Health Information Technology through Accelerated Pathways. Between working full-time and studying part-time, we wanted to know how he not only managed everything—but excelled.
Check out what he had to say!
What was the most challenging part of starting school?
The most challenging part was my expectations of online courses. I hadn’t been in school for 10 years. At first, I wasn’t sure how much time I’d be spending on studying or how to manage the course content, especially since I’m taking accelerated online courses. I began to realize how much discipline I’d need to complete all the assignments and projects. It takes a lot of focus and attention to detail to be successful, so resetting my expectation around that was initially the most challenging part.
Was Accelerated Pathways different from your other school experiences?
Yes, of course, especially since I haven’t done an online program before. In Jamaica, everything was taught in a classroom, so I had never experienced online courses. I knew for a fact that time management and prioritization were very important. I work a full-time job managing 21 employees, so finding the time to study was a bigger challenge compared with my previous school experiences.
What time management techniques worked for you?
I had to ensure that I knew what was needed from me each week. Since I’m a family person with a career, life is already very busy. I made sure to understand exactly what was due so I could set time aside to complete all assignments. At end of the day, I knew my goal, and I was sure to allot enough time to get it done. Prioritizing and managing my daily tasks were key to being successful at school.
What would you tell a new student in this program?
I’d advise each student to change their mindset and outlook. Understand that there will be moments you feel like giving up, so you have to have an “I can do this” attitude. Even the most disciplined student gets overwhelmed at times, especially when juggling day-to-day tasks. So be sure to reach out to all your resources such as teachers, classmates, academic coaches, friends, family—whoever can help you manage and de-stress. Your support group can help you achieve your goals and be successful in the end.
Did you meet any other Accelerated Pathways students in your courses?
Yes, and one was actually another co-worker of mine who I didn’t even know was taking the program. We bonded while going through classes together. I also met Humana workers from other areas going through the same Accelerated Pathways program. We’d all communicate and touch base to support and motivate each other. If there was anything anyone needed, we could give each other advice and help.
It’s also been amazing getting to know other individuals in Pima courses who are from Arizona, where the school is located. I’m in Tampa, but I’m flying out there for graduation and can’t wait to meet them and the teachers in person. They’ve been very supportive and built a community that I’ve been so happy to be a part of during my entire three years in the program.
It sounds like you really made the program fit into your life.
Yes, it took a lot of perseverance, and I had to make a lot of changes. I’m a social butterfly and really had to cut back on traveling, long conversations on the phone, hanging out with friends and partying. One thing I had to realize was that I must be adaptable to change. And though I’ve made these changes to my life to be successful in the program, they don’t have to be permanent. As I always share with my direct reports at work, success begins with you. You have to believe in it and go for it!
You have a wonderful mindset! Thank you for sharing, Webster.
Thank you for having me!
Ready to be our next student success story? At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we love matching students to the right degree program. For associate degree seekers, we partner with Pima Community College, one of five community colleges selected across the country by Harvard to participate in workforce projects. As an innovative leader in the workforce economic development space, Pima offers a broad range of high-quality degree programs that prepare students with the skills most needed by today’s employers. Check out their academic programs.
Ready to start your educational journey? Reach out to us to discover the best degree pathway for you!
This Valentine’s Day, we’re all about the love! Our students are wonderful people, and nothing gives us more pleasure than cheering them on from start to finish. With learners coming to us from so many different backgrounds and starting points on their educational journey, we pride ourselves on finding the right path that works for each student’s specific goals, learning style, budget and schedule. Our world-class academic counselors and coaches offer the care and support needed the whole way.
See what our students are saying about us!
“You all have made finishing my degree so dang easy! I can't believe the amount of amazing guidance and support. It's like you’re giving me this on a silver platter. One of my reservations about restarting school was having to figure everything out, but you have made everything very simple, and I feel very supported.” – Lora H.
"I like the flexibility. I’m able to work around my work schedule and set a good pace. Otherwise, I might not be able to do it. My coach and academic counselor have made the process easy and always make sure I have what I need." – Sara D.
“My coach is awesome! He has been absolutely fantastic. He always checks in. He shows interest in my success. He gives me good advice, encouragement and has helped me come up with a strategy to finish the courses (rather than quitting) when my home life changed drastically.” – Barbara A.
“Accelerated Pathways has helped to solidify my goals and given me the opportunity to really focus on completing my degree with a clearly defined roadmap. Having that clarity allows me to push myself to not only stay within the outline but try to get ahead.” – Tyler J.
“It's been great. Self-pacing is awesome. I don’t think I could have done as well without self-pacing and the flexibility of courses. I especially like that the courses started a little easier before progressing to tougher material.” – Annie E.
“I like that I can do my schoolwork anytime instead of having to sit in a classroom. The platform is really easy to navigate, and I appreciate the coaching calls. I’ve even talked to my supervisor about how great the program is and recommended that others enroll in courses too.” – Kelsey M.
“I’ve enjoyed the hands-on approach and one-on-one time with my coach. It definitely helped me succeed. It made me believe in myself – that I am capable of obtaining a bachelor’s degree.” – Cody M.
“I have a great coach. He can relate to my current journey because he’s also a working parent who went through classes and had to figure out how to balance it all. He provides encouragement as well as a reality check when I’m being too hard on myself.” – Laura L.
“I’m enjoying the set-up of the courses and how organized it is. Things are smooth in figuring out where to go. My job offers tuition reimbursement, and that process has been easy and smooth to navigate. There is a lot of support any time I have questions.” – Stacey K.
At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, your success is our success! Maybe you haven’t had the flexibility and support you needed to complete college in the past. We’re changing that. Our team is with you every step of your college journey with free advising. Your academic counselor will help you build out your degree with the best courses for your college, major and learning style. Your success coach will check in regularly to keep you on track—no matter what life throws at you.
Ready to get the advice, answers and even encouragement you need to achieve your educational goals? Get started today!
With rapid advances in automation and emerging technologies threatening the future of millions of jobs, many are asking how the role of humans in the economy will shift or shrink over the coming years. In a quest to find answers about the future of work, companies, governments and educational institutions are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) for analysis and predictions.
AI predicts the future of jobs
While the application of AI to workforce planning is still a new process, its popularity is growing as predictive AI modeling becomes more accurate due to advances in commercial software systems. The current leader in the field of workforce AI and predictive analytics is Australian tech company Faethm, which runs a groundbreaking SaaS platform using software automation and robotic processing automation.
Faethm offers strategic workforce planning solutions that can predict the impact of emerging technologies and economic disruptions on workforces, industries and economies. In addition to understanding emerging tech, Faethm also has the capability to predict external forces such as COVID, remote work, recession, industry transitions and other key factors on workforces. These insights inform decisions that drive future employability, increased retention and talent development.
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 technology, automation and AI takes over many roles. While some jobs will be eliminated, Faethm forecasts that other jobs will be created and—in many cases—in areas where humans prefer to spend their time and energy. However, this shift will require robust efforts by employers to upskill and reskill their workforce for these new roles and their interaction with advancing technology.
Analyzing workforce data to upskill employees
Northeastern University recently conducted a study on workplace learning and found that workforce analytics and data-driven approaches to employee development have long been a strategic priority for many organizations. However, in the past, there was little data analysis on actual skill gaps between the worker and the company needs. While many recognize the importance of analyzing their workforce data to better understand trends and prepare for the future of work, adoption of analytics and development efforts have been slow and often stifled by a company’s size or ability to gain the resources and technology needed. Many struggle to understand how to find new talent pools, drive future employability and develop talent.
To bridge these efforts, Faethm works with companies of all sizes to provide the capabilities to analyze their workforce data. By collecting a diverse cross-section of employer data, Faethm can organize and analyze various data points against multiple dynamic forces shaping a specific industry’s labor market—from technological disruption to economic shocks—and help the employer understand how automation will affect diverse talent and the most “remotable” jobs, now and in the future.
This type of end-to-end scenario modelling allows executives and HR leaders to gain better insights and answer questions like:
Are our current skills and jobs matching?
What jobs will be automated and where can workers be redeployed into roles that are not at risk of automation?
What jobs will be augmented with technology and what upskilling needs to be done?
What about the jobs we’ll need in the future – are the skills and capabilities of our current workforce relevant?
Are there similar tasks being performed across business unit lines throughout the company that can be automated?
Equipped with these answers, the next question is usually, “How do we prepare our current workforce for the jobs of the future?” Employers understand that, even with advances in automation and technology, people will still remain their most important asset. However, the pace of digital transformation will require rapid and significant upskilling and reskilling. And in the era of the Great Resignation, more emphasis is being placed on building and retaining talent over hiring and buying new talent.
Bridging the skill gaps with targeted education
But how can employers bridge the skills gap? In the past, employer training and tuition benefit programs have struggled to keep pace with the changing world of work. Instead of education benefits being seen as powerful tools to reskill workers whose jobs will be automated (eliminated) and upskill workers whose jobs will be augmented by technology, many employers have simply offered standard onboarding sessions or tuition benefits packages disconnected from strategic business goals.
As focus now shifts to reskilling workforces to meet the needs of the 4th industrial revolution, employers are actively seeking ways to develop new education and training offerings. Investment in education is also key to retaining critical talent by offering internal mobility and intentional development of career pathways. In fact, education has recently become a top workplace perk, with more employees desiring learning programs that offer flexible, relevant experience and career growth.
Modernizing workplace learning
Recently, Faethm joined with Pearson to offer its analytics capabilities along with Pearson’s learning products to help companies of all sizes understand what skills they need and how to develop them. This strategic partnership allows employers not only to understand their skill gaps, but also to address them with targeted educational programs that offer optimal career transition pathways to jobs of the future. According to Michael Howells, President of Pearson’s Workforce Skills division, “In this digital age, we want to help the world’s workforce unlock its potential and ensure that companies have highly skilled employees who can work alongside new technology.”
As employers look for new ways to lead a technology adoption strategy that considers and plans for the future employability of their workforce, services like Faethm’s and Pearson’s will become essential. Workforce data analysis and learning investments are now seen as key differentiators to drive employee engagement and retention while gaining a competitive edge and preparing for the future. Employers also recognize that a significant share of workplace learning is shifting online, with digital learning allowing more opportunity to broaden workforce learning participation.
Looking to modernize your education benefits program with learning pathways that link directly to your learning & development strategy? Through our partnership with Faethm, we can empower you to gain the insights you need into your workforce skill gaps and then fill those gaps with targeted online education programs. Want to learn more about the Faethm AI platform? Book a demo today. Let’s future-proof your workforce!
At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we love to celebrate Black History Month by highlighting significant moments of diversity and inclusion throughout history. This February, we’re shining a spotlight on three scientists who deserve special recognition for their contributions to society and positive impact on the way we live today.
Annie Easley (1933-2011)
Annie was an American computer scientist, mathematician and rocket scientist who, among many achievements, helped develop software for the Centaur rocket stage. Born during segregation, Annie grew up during a time when educational opportunities were limited, but with strong encouragement from her mother, she was determined to get a good education. In 1950, Annie was accepted as a Pharmacy major to Xavier University in New Orleans and eventually went on to obtain a bachelor’s in Mathematics from Cleveland State University.
Annie started her career at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) as one of four African Americans out of about 2,500 employees. She began her career as a “computer” at the NACA Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, which eventually transformed into NASA. As electronic computers eventually started being used at NASA, her title changed to mathematician and computer technician.
Her fascination with computing grew and Annie decided to acquire additional education and training in mathematics and science. However, even as her role and contributions grew at NASA, she was not compensated at the same rate as her peers. In response, she began outreach for minorities and took it upon herself to be an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor.
In her 34-year career at NASA, Annie helped develop and implement computer code that analyzed alternative power technologies including solar, wind and energy projects. She also helped to identify energy conversion systems to solve energy problems, including the improvement of battery storage life. Her computer applications have been used to identify energy conversion systems that improved commercially available technologies. And Annie's work with the Centaur project helped lay the technological foundations for future space shuttle launches and launches of communication, military and weather satellites.
Annie was posthumously inducted into the Glenn Research Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2021, a crater on the moon was named after her by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
Emmett Chappelle (1925-2019)
Emmett Chappelle was an American scientist who has contributed to medicine, food science and astrochemistry. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Chappelle graduated top of his class at the segregated Phoenix Union Colored High School. Upon graduation, Emmett joined the U.S. Army where he was assigned to the all-Black 92nd Infantry Division. He was able to take engineering classes in the military, and the GI Bill enabled Emmett to earn a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950.
Emmett started his career as an instructor at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, where he conducted research that became recognized by the scientific community. As such, he was offered additional educational opportunities and decided to accept an offer to pursue a master’s degree from the University of Washington in Biology.
In 1958, Chappelle joined the Research Institute in Baltimore, where he made a major discovery that has contributed to the knowledge of bacteria and cyanobacteria. He showed how even one-celled plants, such as algae, are photosynthetic and can convert carbon dioxide to sugar and water into oxygen. This discovery helped the science community create a clean and portable oxygen supply for astronauts, while also providing them with a safe food source in space – as algae are capable of reproducing there.
Emmett has been honored as one of the 100 most distinguished African American scientists of the 20th Century as well as received numerous awards including NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal.
Shirley Ann Jackson (1946-present)
Shirley is an American physicist and 18th president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She was fascinated with science from a young age, studying the circadian rhythm of honeybees from her garden as a child. Shirley continued her thirst for knowledge in grade school and graduated top of her class, earning herself a place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as one of only a few black students at the time.
Despite experiencing isolation and discrimination from classmates, Shirley was determined to do well in her studies. She went on to form the Black Student Union, which campaigned for the university to recruit more underrepresented students with greater support and financial opportunities, as well as more diversity of the faculty members. She also created a program called ‘Project Interphase’ to academically support incoming underrepresented students. Shirley was determined for MIT to become more diverse and more accessible.
Through her persistence, Shirley also became the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. from MIT. She went on to work as a theoretical physicist at Bell Laboratories as well as chairing the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Her work in the commission included developing regulatory systems for assessing risk at the country’s nuclear power plants. She made this her primary focus after the tragedy of Chernobyl in 1986.
In 1999, Shirley became president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, which is America’s oldest technological research university. She also served as a co-chair on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board under the Obama administration and has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science and the Thomas Alva Edison Science Award, for her contributions to physics and for the promotion of science.
At Pearson, we celebrate Black History Month with a full event line-up of professional development workshops, discussions and educational opportunities. Our company culture is one of learning and promoting awareness of diversity, culture and behaviors that foster a sense of belonging in learning and workspaces. Want to learn more about important figures from all backgrounds who have positively impacted our lives? Check out our free booklets where you can explore key facts about their contributions and complete fun activities, including discussion starters. Interested in becoming a student in our Accelerated Pathways degree program? Check out what we offer!
Meet Melissa! This millennial mom and her husband have an adorable three-year-old daughter with a second baby on the way. Melissa works full-time in marketing and is currently finishing a bachelor’s degree through Pearson Accelerated Pathways. Whew – that’s a lot! We wanted to chat with this busy student and find out how she manages it all. Check out our interview with her.
What made you want to go back to school?
When I first graduated from high school, I knew I wanted some sort of college education. But like many millennials, I didn’t have the money or desire to spend four years at a traditional college and take on a bunch of student debt. So, I decided to attend a local technical school to develop skills in some of the areas that were really interesting to me, mainly photography and graphic arts.
Fast forward a decade, and I’m almost 30, working full-time and raising a toddler with another baby on the way. It’s kind of crazy that I chose now to add pursing a bachelor’s degree to my plate!
Part of my decision was that I’ve always loved learning. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of progression. My husband also started a master’s degree about a year ago, so I kind of felt inspired to keep up and expand my education. Mostly, I think we’re both inspired to be good role models for our kids. There’s also a sense of security and development in our career paths that we get from gaining more education.
What made you choose Accelerated Pathways?
For me, there were a couple advantages your program. The biggest one was flexibility. With Accelerated Pathways, I have flexibility in so many different ways. I don’t have scheduled class times. I don’t have to drive anywhere. I can even complete assignments on my own schedule.
With a three-year-old, a full-time job and a busy husband, it can be hard for me to know in advance what my study time availability will look like. I needed a program that I could blitz through courses if I had a free week or take a break if my personal schedule was really packed. Plus, I get the added bonus of not having to be on campus, potentially exposed to COVID. That’s extra important to me during my current pregnancy.
Probably the most difficult part of returning to college was getting the courage to start. There were so many options and factors to navigate. The Accelerated Pathways team made this process really easy by doing the college research for me.
How was your experience choosing a degree program?
So smooth and flexible! In my first conversation with my academic counselor, she asked about what I was interested in studying, what long-term goals I had and what prior college credit I had earned. She did a ton of research and found five different colleges that offered degrees similar to what I wanted to study. She also figured out which colleges would take my past college credit and determined the final cost for each option, even factoring in the tuition assistance benefits I get from my job.
All I had to do was send a screenshot of my unofficial associate degree transcript and she handled the rest. After reviewing my options, I picked the college and degree program that allowed me to graduate the fastest. The Accelerated Pathways team was able to transfer all the credit from my associate degree to that program, so I started my bachelor’s degree as a junior. There’s no way I would have been able to figure all that out myself.
We’re so glad to hear! How are your courses going?
Taking courses is super simple and straightforward – I just login to the Degree Manager and pick up where I left off. There are no semesters or due dates, so I really can work at my own pace. I do one course at a time on my schedule. I just finished American History ahead of schedule and will be diving right into Biology next. All courses have been high quality, and I’m learning a lot. It’s a great feeling!
I also meet with my academic coach regularly. He’s given me great tips on what the focus of each course is and how I should balance study time on the various course resources. Best of all – he’s helped to keep me accountable to my goals. I’m actually ahead of my initially planned graduation date since I had some extra time over the holiday break to knock out additional courses.
Any post-graduation plans? What’s next for you?
Having such a great experience returning to college has definitely made me want to be a lifelong learning. Even with my second child on the way, I’m hopeful about completing my degree on time and possibly starting on a master’s degree in the future.
One of my long-term goals has always been to be a librarian. I know “official” librarians usually need a master’s degree in library sciences, so earning my bachelor’s was a first step for me toward this dream.
In the short-term, I’ll have more opportunities and be able to take on even greater roles with better salaries once I return to work from maternity leave. There’s more of a sense of security and value I feel in returning to the workplace with additional knowledge and higher educational credentials.
Any advice you’d give to new Accelerated Pathways’ students?
My motto is: just stay consistent. After I got into the swing of my first course, I realized I could complete a module in a few hours. So, I set aside a couple nights a week to just ignore chores. As soon as my daughter goes to bed, I put on some good study music and do schoolwork for a couple hours.
By staying consistent—even with only a few hours a week—I was able to complete my first six Accelerated Pathways courses, which is 18 college credits, in just six months!
That’s fantastic! Thanks for sharing your experience, Melissa. We can’t wait to see you graduate!
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults have suffered or currently are suffering with symptoms of a mental illness. Mental health affects the way we think, act and feel, including how we handle stress or relate to others.
Some factors that contribute to mental health are difficult to control, such as facing socio-economic hardships, dealing with trauma, alienation or coping with biological factors such as chemical imbalances or medical conditions. However, there are some actions we can take to improve our emotional, psychological and social well-being, like practicing meditation, creating art, exercising and even learning.
How does learning contribute to mental health?
Mental health workers and researchers have found that we can support our mental health by connecting with others, developing a sense of meaning or purpose, building coping skills and having a goal or hobby. One way to engage in all of these activities is through learning and education. Research shows that education can improve mental health by broadening your intellectual, social and emotional horizons. Attending school can also expand your knowledge, help you meet new people, further your goals, improve your career and even help you build better coping mechanisms.
Studies of the relationship between education and mental health have shown that higher levels of education can also help graduates gain important structural and economic advantages. For example, data compiled of workers aged 25+ shows that education leads to higher income, with bachelor’s degree holders earning an average of $26,104 more per year than those with a high school diploma. While money can’t buy happiness, it can alleviate many stressors that contribute to mental health problems and allow you the freedom to pursue your interests.
Education can also improve mental health by providing a sense of accomplishment. Some find that completing assignments and earning a degree gives them a feeling of pride and a boost in morale. According to clinical psychologist Dr. Stephanie Smith, learning new skills can be great for mental health. College can allow you to achieve small successes while exploring your interests—from creative to academic to athletic. In the process, you can also discover the activities you find meaningful and enjoyable. For example, if you always wanted to learn an instrument or understand world history, education can help you do that.
Isn’t going to college with a mental illness more difficult?
It’s true that mental health conditions can affect your ability to study and learn, and traditional college students may face additional stress from first-time experiences with working, being away from family, having unfamiliar interactions or dealing with peer pressure. Luckily, resources are available for those who seek out assistance and treatment. In fact, many colleges offer support groups, counseling and other resources for students struggling with their mental health.
Alternately, some find that choosing a flexible online college program provides them with the accommodation needed to manage their mental health. For example, Pearson Accelerated Pathways offers self-paced online learning that allows students to take mental health breaks whenever needed, along with the ability to study from anywhere – including locations that may offer emotional support or enhance wellness. Attending college online can also alleviate the stressful tasks of separation and individuation from family and friends. In particular, working adults find online college options beneficial as it gives them the flexibility to complete and enjoy their studies even while juggling a busy schedule, raising kids or managing multiple responsibilities.
However, some find taking classes online to be less than ideal, especially in the Covid era when the effects of isolation on society have become more apparent. It’s important to know what matters most to you and your mental health, and then choose a learning path that best supports your wellness. It’s also important to remember that even highly successful people have found themselves struggling to manage mental illness while pursuing an education and other important goals. You are not alone in your struggle, so be sure to check in with others in your support circle, including mental health workers.
Benefits of learning outweigh stressors
Overall, even with the pressures of college, learning is good for our minds and essential to our existence. Most find that gaining an education outweighs the stress of assignments, deadlines and other pressures associated with school. In addition, learning benefits our sense of wellbeing by increasing self-esteem, encouraging interaction, fostering open-mindedness, aiding in discovery and providing a sense of purpose. It helps us view the world from a range of perspectives, which makes us more adaptable to new situations as they arise and contributes to our ability to manage mental health challenges.
At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we understand that the onset of a mental illness can be debilitating. Seeking help is something we support and value, and our academic counselors and success coaches are always here to help you find flexible ways to advance your educational goals while managing your mental health. We believe learning should give you the opportunity to nourish your mind free from stress and anxiety. That’s why we offer flexible, self-paced, affordable degree programs that can be completed anytime, anywhere.
At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we believe your college experience should empower you to pursue your goals, advance your career and live your life – not burden you with debt or chain you to a campus.
But how does it work? How do we help you graduate from the college of your choice, but at a lower cost?
Check out these five easy steps!
Step 1 – Academic Advising
Just complete a short assessment, and an academic counselor will reach out to discuss your goals, timetable, learning style, budget and more.
Our counselors are experts at understanding all types of academic options that fit any unique situation, such as prior credits earned, time restrictions, special learning needs and more.
Step 2 – Degree Plan
After learning your unique situation, your academic counselor will use Pearson’s advanced proprietary technology to evaluate thousands of college and degree options. They’ll find five degree options that best fit your goals, budget and schedule.
You’ll get a college options report of these degree options in a side-by-side comparison. You can even request specific schools be included in this comparison.
Your academic counselor will carefully walk you through each degree option so you can consider important factors like time to completion, total cost, prior credit transfer and much more.
Step 3 – Take Courses
Once you make your college and degree selection, you’ll get access to the Degree Manager™. This is your personalized learning portal where you can access your degree plan, register for courses, take courses and track your progress.
With the Degree Manager™, college is simple. You’ll always know exactly what courses to take, when to take them and how much they’ll cost.
In fact, this is how we save you money. Our general education courses are 36% less than the national average. There are no campus fees and no hidden costs. Even the books are included.
Plus, we’re here for you with world-class coaching the whole way!
Step 4 – Transfer
Once you earn the maximum number of general education credits from Pearson, then just transfer to your college to complete your degree.
All credit you earn through Pearson Accelerated Pathways is regionally accredited (unlike many of our competitors) and guaranteed to transfer into your college. We even help you prepare official transcript(s) for your destination college.
Step 5 – Graduate
Simply complete any remaining courses from your destination college until graduation. Typically, this will involve finishing your last 30 credits (or about ten classes) with the college that is granting your degree.
Then… voilà! You’re a debt-free college grad. Congratulations!
Ready to get started?
At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we love helping students earn their degree at a lower cost. With course options 30-50% less than the national average, we save you hundreds of dollars on every college credit. Our top-notch advising ensures you never take a course you don’t need, plus you get the freedom to pay as you go. Ready to graduate on your terms? Whether you’re earning an associate’s, bachelor’s or higher, we make it easy. Get started today!
Choosing an online college can be tricky.
Plenty of institutions offer amazing deals for online courses that seem too good to be true. And some are. When choosing to spend time and money on your education, it’s important to know that you’re making a wise investment.
While some schools offer national or special accreditation, regional accreditation is the most stringent and widely recognized. In fact, 85% of colleges and universities recognize regional accreditation. Non-profit schools (like Princeton and Yale) and state schools (like the University of Michigan or Texas A&M) all abide by regional accreditation standards.
This means when you take online courses that are regionally accredited, they’re recognized and accepted across a broad spectrum of educational institutions as quality learning. Therefore, your hard-earned college credit from a regionally accredited school can transfer to almost any college or university of your choice.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation shows the level of consistency in educational quality. To earn accreditation, schools must undergo a stringent review process and meet a set of academic standards involving faculty quality, student learning, professional outcomes and level of data-based research.
There are several types of accreditations:
Regional accreditation is considered the gold standard for the majority of college degrees. There are six regional accrediting agencies, and each serves a specific geographic region of the United States. They accredit post-secondary institutions and primary and secondary schools. Each of these agencies is primarily concerned with the accreditation of academic, non-profit schools, rather than specialized technical or vocational schools.
National accreditation typically applies to specialized vocational schools, technical schools, religious institutions or for-profit schools such as The Art Institute. This kind of accreditation accounts for less than 6% of all schools. Regionally accredited institutions are reluctant to accept transfer credits from nationally accredited institutions, mainly because they haven’t met the stringent standards of faculty qualifications, library resources and other guidelines.
Special and other
There are other types of accreditations for certain types of degrees. In addition, there are college credit recommendation and evaluation services, like the American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE® Credit), that evaluate and recommend college credits. For example, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) is a private, non-profit organization that evaluates distance education curriculum.
Some educational institutions may recognize credit recommendations from these varying institutions. However, unless your college credit is regionally accredited, it will have a lower chance of transferring into regionally accredited colleges and universities.
Regional accreditation is better. Period.
Accreditation will gauge not just the quality of the educational credit you’ll receive, but also the transferability. Regional accreditation is the most rigorous type of accreditation, and therefore the most widely accepted.
If you want to knock out general education courses and then transfer that credit to the college of your choice, regional accreditation is the way to go. The last thing you’ll want is to be stuck with is a bunch of lost credit (plus time and money) that you can’t use toward your bachelor’s degree (or master’s or Ph.D. if you decide to pursue higher education someday). Nothing can be more frustrating than taking a step backward and having to repeat course material.
The accreditation level of your credit institution should match the accreditation level of your prospective college, so—to be safe—always check that the courses you’re taking come from a regionally accredited institution.
How do I know if my school is regionally accredited?
To find out if your school is regionally accredited, visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website. Here you’ll find links to all six regional accreditation institutions and can discover if your school is accredited by one of the recognized accrediting agencies.
Does Accelerated Pathways offer regionally accredited courses?
All our courses are regionally accredited through our partner colleges. We've successfully mapped courses to over 2,000 colleges and universities. In fact, the courses you take through Accelerated Pathways are guaranteed to transfer into your target college. We offer a money-back guarantee plus an additional $1,000 to compensate you for time invested in your coursework if your courses do not transfer!
Being an active-duty member of the military comes with certain perks that you’ll want to take advantage of while you can. If you’re enlisted in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, you’re entitled to tuition assistance from your branch. Information on how each of the individual military services sets tuition assistance rates can be found at the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) website, but it’s typically a substantial amount and well worth using while you’re on active duty.
But I have military experience. Why do I need a college degree?
Some who enlist in the military serve for their entire careers; however, the majority of service members transition to civilian life, where a college degree can strongly benefit their chances for success in the workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics consistently shows that education is a wise investment regardless of background and experience. Data compiled of workers aged 25+ proves that the more you learn, the more you earn. In fact, bachelor’s degree holders earn an average of $26,104 more per year than high school diploma holders.
And while it’s true that military training can prepare you for many useful roles, college coursework can expand your horizons in other areas, particularly those applicable to commercial markets and industries. Many colleges have career services and curricula that offer internships, hands-on projects and other integrated job prep programs that give you a head-start on your career path. Even if you plan to stay in the armed forces, earning a degree can be an advantage as you move up the ranks. Commissioned officers are typically required to have a four-year college degree in addition to good leadership, communication, conflict resolution, time management and other soft skills that can be fine-tuned in college. In general, earning a degree can help you expand your future opportunities within the military or upon entering the civilian workforce.
College can also be helpful for many service members who struggle to make the shift from military to civilian life. By earning a degree, the transition becomes much smoother. You’ll make connections and stay tapped into the world outside of military service. And with a degree, you’ll have more desirable and even exciting job opportunities available once you’re ready to join civilian life. Military service is already a bonus for most job applicants, but many will find that the best positions require a college degree. Job applicants with both a college degree and military experience place themselves above the pack of candidates who have just one or the other. By combining a degree with military experience, you can greatly increase your chances of finding gainful employment and exciting opportunities in your preferred role and career path.
By taking advantage of your military tuition assistance benefits, you’ll be working toward a better, smarter you. Earning a degree not only serves as a bridge between your military and civilian life but can also help you develop lasting connections, deeper insights and marketable knowledge that you may not gain elsewhere. Whether you’re interested in learning about the business side of commerce, entrepreneurship, management, marketing, finance, budgeting and economics or something more technical, college is a great place for you to explore, learn and grow in areas that youwant to develop. You’ll have a greater ability to discover your interests, become more independent, invest in yourself and choose your own path – rather than have it chosen for you.
How do I get started?
At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we love to help our military members succeed. That’s why we offer a 10% discount on tuition for active-duty military. We’ve helped thousands of service members find the flexibility they need to attend college – no matter where they’re based.
Our courses are self-paced to work with your active-duty schedule. We coach you the whole way through, starting with a personalized College Options Report that shows you how much we can save you in addition to your military tuition assistance. All you need is a laptop and internet connection. Get started today!
HR professionals know the struggle of selecting and organizing training for an entire staff of employees. There are tons of factors to consider in attempting to maximize and allocate a learning & development (L&D) budget. At the top of the list is choosing whether it’s better to provide training in-house or through an external education partner.
As more companies look to stay competitive by upskilling and reskilling employees, it’s worthwhile to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the different skill development approaches. The decision to train in-house vs. outsource is more important than many realize as it can affect the future growth and success of an organization. So, let’s give it some careful consideration.
In-house or on-the-job training is the most common type of directly provided training offered by employers because it can easily be blended into tasks workers already carry out as part of their jobs. This type of training can be applied to onboarding, provided throughout a worker’s tenure or delivered for specific occupation transitions. Organizations that develop in-house training programs typically have an internal team dedicated to development, for example, an apprenticeship program that combines classroom training provided by senior staff.
Specific: In-house training is delivered by people who know your company and its needs. Training will be relevant to your specific requirements and in compliance with your internal strategy, corporate goals, market positioning and even branding. Plus, an in-house training team has a greater interest in the final program outcome and success of the company.
Customizable: When training is provided in-house, it’s customizable at the local level. This means the syllabus can target exact requests for learning and foster knowledge transfer between employees. There’s greater control over development and changes/updates can be quickly adapted.
Confidential: In-house development avoids sharing confidential data with an external company. You won’t have to provide proprietary data to outside training designers, courseware developers, educators and other potential hazards to intellectual property and cybersecurity protocols.
Not employee-centric: In-house training is usually company-specific and doesn’t provide employees with the types of flexible degree and certificate programs they seek to advance their careers. Their learning will be limited to the company knowledge base, which may result in a lack of innovation and fresh ideas for the company and its ability to stay competitive in the marketplace.
Expensive: Although some believe in-house L&D is cheaper to administer, others find it to be more expensive. For organizations without an in-house L&D team, hiring a development team can be costly as it requires new software, authoring tools, studio environments, etc. These tools and licensing fees come with a high price tag, so building your own Learning Management System on a tight budget may not be the best idea.
Time-intensive: In-house learning and development require lots of time to plan, approve and deliver, not to mention the efforts required to train and maintain a team of project managers, instructional designers, courseware developers, trainers and more. Some organizations simply don’t have the resources or budget required to produce good results.
Many employers work with educational institutions or partners to develop programs specific to their needs or to offer training for high school completion programs, English-language training programs, higher education degrees and more. These types of programs help workers advance to jobs higher on career ladders and/or to enroll in postsecondary education programs. This skill-building strategy can also involve employers covering the costs (either fully or partially) of programs provided by education and training institutions, either online or onsite at those institutions’ locations.
Expertise: With an external education partner, you’ll have access to their client services, expert trainers, academic advisors and other higher education experts. They’ll have a fully developed learning platform that may be customizable to your specific learning needs. In addition, they may be able to integrate your training into a Learning Management System that allows you to track who is taking your courses, who has completed your courses, which skill gaps are being filled and other useful data.
Fresh perspectives: The workplace is ever-changing, and training is necessary to keep pace. Even the best in-house training programs can quickly become outdated when trying to keep up with changes in the industry. External educational institutions have experts and insiders who stay current on changes in automation and technology, especially as work becomes increasingly remote and digital. They’ll have course offerings based on the latest advancements and forecasts into the future of work that can give your employees fresh perspectives and insights your internal staff may lack.
Recruitment & retention: Education benefits are becoming one of the most popular workplace perks. As college costs have skyrocketed in the U.S., so has the popularity of education benefits like tuition reimbursement, tuition assistance and employer-sponsored scholarships. More than ever, job seekers are looking for companies with great education benefits that will help them advance in their careers and invest in their futures. By partnering with an education institution, your company can offer the kind of official certifications and degree programs that appeal to employees. In turn, this will allow you to retain and advance your workers as they upskill, reskill and complete their education programs.
Onboarding: Outsourcing involves taking time to onboard a new partner and get them up to speed on projects and goals that align with your company’s mission and needs. You’ll have to dedicate more time to teaching an external team who isn’t familiar with your business products, services and model.
Disconnect: With an external partner, you may experience less collaboration and more physical distance, which can lead to a disconnect between what you want vs. what is provided. It’ll be important to do your homework and ensure the educational partner you choose is dedicated to your mission.
Non-specific training: While external education institutions can offer a broader range of learning programs, they may not be focused on the specific subjects and skills that are relevant to your business. Their courses may be too generic and unable to address your company’s issues using real-life examples. That means employees may not learn how to solve specific work problems that relate directly to their roles.
As you can see, you’ll need to make some tough decisions in determining whether it’s better to develop and administer your own training programs in-house or to bring in an outside company. Ultimately, if you only need to train employees to address a few isolated, well-defined skills, it makes sense to develop your own programs in-house. If you’re looking for a robust educational offering and the ability to offer tuition assistance as a benefit, then an external education partner will likely be your best bet.
Employers can also benefit from a more educated workforce. By investing in upskilling and reskilling, companies gain knowledge that benefits their operations and keeps them competitive over the long-term. A two-year study by the Lumina Foundation showed that education reimbursement programs have a 129% return on investment. That means for every dollar a company invests, it generates an additional $1.29. Furthermore, employers that offer educational assistance also benefit from easier talent acquisition, better employee productivity and hefty tax breaks. Section 127 of the US tax code allows employers to deduct over $5,000 per employee per year in tuition reimbursement.
While education perks aren’t new to employee benefits packages, the offerings are becoming more robust and increasingly targeted to a wider audience. Instead of just focusing on employees who want to pursue advanced degrees, many tuition programs are now targeting workers who never went to college in the first place. For frontline or disadvantaged workers, that means not choosing between earning a living vs. earning a degree. They can do both and avoid going into heavy debt.
Want to step up your company’s education benefits package to be more competitive in the marketplace? We have just the solution! Pearson Accelerated Pathways works as a partner with your organization—from inception to design—to implement educational strategies that meet the needs of your unique workforce. We administer the right programs that appeal to employees by focusing on their specific needs and best pathways to success. Learn more about our employee-approved education benefits programs today!
Did you know that helping your employees understand and navigate career advancement pathways within your organization is critical to retaining a talented workforce? Studies have shown that employers who don’t offer advancement opportunities for workers, particularly in low-wage jobs, will find difficulty in hiring and retaining talent—not to mention in maintaining a happy staff and positive work culture.
A recent study by SPR found that organizations with higher retention rates tend to set clear career pathways and help employees navigate them. Top organizations typically set specific internal goals for advancement (for example, 50% of managers will be promoted from within), and they also implement coaching or mentoring programs to nurture and encourage career development from within.
To ensure your business retains its top talent, here are four best practices (and examples) you can use to help workers navigate internal career pathways:
1. Clearly document career advancement pathways
Businesses should 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 across the board. Criteria used to assess employee promotion to the next level should be easily accessible to staff at all levels.
For example: One manufacturer developed a career navigation application for employees that provides a line of sight into career pathways and allows employees to focus on skills they want to develop. Information specific to their position and skill set is also mapped to possible career advancement opportunities.
2. Prioritize and communicate internal advancement
Organizations should work to prioritize promotion from within by clearly communicating the availability of advancement pathways and new job opportunities. This can be done through email, in one-on-one conversations, by putting up flyers or using other internal communication methods. Employees feel valued and prioritized if they know new job openings are posted internally before being advertised outside of the company. 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 advancement options open to them.
For example: One retailer hosted an open-house fair where management from different departments met with frontline workers to talk about their skills and interests and discuss which career pathways were available based on their specific goals.
3. Create opportunities for career advancement via training 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). In some cases, training programs can be clearly connected to promotions or pay increases at predetermined levels. This not only helps the employee; employers can significantly lower costs of recruiting and gain positive long-term outcomes by educating and training their workforce.
For example: A hospital was having trouble hiring lab technicians, so it designed a training program to upskill incumbent employees to fill those positions. Doing so created a new career advancement pathway, cut recruiting costs and established an internal talent pipeline for the hospital.
4. Employ staff whose specific function is to support career advancement
Direct supervisors play an important role in encouraging advancement within an organization. However, many companies have found that employing 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. This dedicated staff can be part of internal human resources or employed by outside vendors hired by the company.
For example: At one insurance company, workers can seek mentorship outside their department if they have an interest in exploring other areas. This employee mentoring program provides them with guidance and support about how to advance within the company and helps them to meet with teams in other departments or units who may have openings.
As The Great Resignation persists, employee retention remains a top priority for many businesses. By helping employees navigate clearly mapped career pathways—through documentation, communication, training and other supports—organizations can gain an advantage in the war on talent.
Frontline workers are the first point of contact for your customer. Their knowledge and performance have a pivotal impact on your business and how it represents its values and mission. As such, there’s no question about the importance of keeping your frontline staff happy. Not only are happier employees more productive, but they also offer better service and improved customer loyalty.
Simply put, happy frontline workers make happy customers.
Employees who feel motivated and engaged add more value than employees who feel demotivated and disengaged. So, how do you keep your workers happy, particularly at a time when turnover is at an all-time high? We’ve examined approaches from best-in-class employers and believe there are three secrets to success.
1. Invest in employee health and wellbeing
Did you know that workplace health and wellbeing is one of the main drivers of workforce productivity? According to the American Psychological Association, the top components to workplace wellbeing are work-life balance, health and safety and employee growth and development. Effective employers understand these components and view their employees in a more holistic sense—as opposed to just laborers who perform necessary tasks. They see their staff as part of a wider system of communities, cultures and systems that affect their overall health and wellbeing.
Workplace wellbeing considers both the physical and mental states of employees. Physical wellbeing at work includes things like temperature, ergonomics and safety, whereas mental wellbeing regards areas like stress, negativity and anxiety. The more an employee’s physical and mental wellbeing is compromised, the worse their output. As such, many employers actively promote workplace wellbeing programs that build community and improve environmental conditions.
To improve physical wellbeing, employers can improve facilities or design spaces for employees to gather socially, like a ping pong table, a walking path outside the office or an informal seating area. But just as important as the environmental space is the workplace culture. No one will want to use a communal space if they know it’s frowned upon by management. There’s a multitude of do’s and don’ts for building a positive workplace culture, but here’s a basic rule of thumb: think of ways to make workers at all levels of the organization feel valued and heard. Brainstorming with staff can be a great way to decide on what type of benefits or activities make your team feel most valued.
2. Invest in supportive leadership
Another way to keep frontline workers happy is to invest in leadership that’s both supportive and responsive to their team’s needs. According to Indeed, “Supportive leadership is an important and valuable leadership style for businesses. Not only does it foster positive relationships between employees, but it also ultimately empowers team members to develop their professional skills and work well autonomously or with little active management and guidance.” In fact, a shift in leadership roles is evolving across industries as companies find that people-focused leaders can obtain better results than profit-focused leaders.
For most workers, feeling appreciated, compensated and supported goes a long way. People-focused leaders and supervisors have the first-hand capacity to encourage, inspire and teach others on their team. They also play significant roles as champions (or gatekeepers) in the promotion and advancement process. By considering opportunities for promoting those on their team, supervisors can nurture growth and encourage advancement within an organization. These leaders can also affirm and express their support of employees by educating them about career pathways, encouraging them to participate in educational opportunities and helping them develop leadership skills.
By recruiting and investing in supportive leaders, businesses can reduce stress and frustration in the workplace while also increasing productivity. To identify leaders who fit with your company’s mission, look for candidates with self-awareness and emotional intelligence who can understand when to offer care, attention and guidance to their team. With most employees wanting to experience a sense of belonging in the workplace, finding supportive leaders who create a space where others want to spend their time can be one of your most valuable assets – particularly in frontline, customer-facing environments.
3. Invest in training and education
While premium benefits packages can help employers attract and retain talent, they can also be costly to implement and administer. However, with educational benefits—like tuition assistance and tuition reimbursement—the results can often outweigh the initial costs of providing learning assistance. Research from the Lumina Foundation suggests that providing learning benefits not only reduces turnover, it helps to boost the national goal for Americans with college educations, which is currently lagging.
With increasing automation in the workplace, more remote working, higher demand for vocational skills and the huge disruption and acceleration caused by COVID, the need for lifelong education and upskilling has never been more pressing. According to the CDC, this ultimately ties into a worker’s wellbeing as a more broadly prepared field of workers is less stressed and better positioned to pivot to new solutions or quickly adapt to technological changes.
As businesses across industries look for ways to keep their workers happy, they’ll find that investments in employee health and wellbeing, supportive leadership and training and education programs will better equip them to retain a positive, productive, future-proof workforce. At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we’re uniquely positioned to help businesses invest in their frontline workers by providing flexible degree plans and post-secondary options as strategic educational benefits. Our learning programs are online, flexible, completely personalized and cost effective. Find out how we can enable your staff to drive their success and enrich their lives through learning.
Does your workforce have the job skills needed to keep you competitive in your industry?
In a recent West Monroe survey of HR professionals, 56% of respondents said their organization’s skills gap is moderate to severe. This is especially true for organizations undergoing digital transformation and adapting to future trends. As automation grows, it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure workers can handle higher-value work. In fact, a ManpowerGroup survey found that by 2022, 54% of workers will need significant reskilling or upskilling as their current job skills become outdated.
With a tightening talent market and higher demand for emerging skills sets, companies are finding it more advantageous to reskill their workforce rather than rehire. According to Mike Howell, Chief Strategy Officer at Pearson, “The world of work is changing faster than most workers are evolving. With increasing automation in the workplace, more remote working, higher demand for vocational skills and the huge disruption and acceleration caused by COVID, the need for lifelong reskilling and upskilling has never been more pressing.”
Industries such as healthcare, hospitality and retail also stand to benefit from upskilling frontline workers. According to Kevin Oakes, CEO of i4cp, “The opportunity for positive bottom-line impact through frontline worker development is significant as it impacts those who often work most closely with an organization's customers.” Retail is a critical sector of the economy, with 16 million workers, yet this sector also faces some of the highest turnover rates. The result is millions of Americans missing out on opportunities for career advancement and income growth. By building talent from within, retail employers are finding that they can lower costs up to six times compared with recruiting while also gaining positive long-term outcomes, such as improved employee and customer experience.
As work across industry sectors continues to evolve, employers who invest in training and education will become more qualified to handle the future of work, which can yield higher earnings for both the individual and the organization. Providing educational programs to frontline workers can also boost a company’s status as an employer of choice - one that values learning and investment in human capital. While premium benefits packages can be costly to implement and administer, educational benefits—like tuition assistance and tuition reimbursement—have become increasingly popular as the results can outweigh the initial costs of providing upskilling assistance.
At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we help companies maximize their learning and development funds to train and retrain their global workforce with skills gaps they urgently need to fill. We work with HR leadership to provide academic options for everyone on the organization chart—from frontline employees to executives. Through our advanced network of academic partners, we offer low tuition rates and customized program offerings that meet your talent development needs. Learn how we can future-proof your workforce.
There’s a new term being coined for the job era we’re in: The Great Resignation. Unlike normal times when people quit their jobs because of a healthy economy and plentiful opportunities in the market, an interesting shift has occurred during the pandemic. As the worst recession in U.S. history set in and millions lost work, those still employed began quitting their jobs in record numbers. Since then, employers have been complaining about acute labor shortages and difficulties retaining employees, particularly those in frontline positions.
Between stagnant wages, skyrocketing costs of living and increasingly dangerous health risks in the workplace, many workers, particularly those in low wage jobs, have been resigning in search of better pay and improved working conditions. Workers have reported feeling exasperation and burnout, and many have stated they’re leaving because they don’t feel a sense of belonging at their workplace.
For most workers, feeling appreciated, compensated and supported goes a long way. So, what can be done to improve workplace conditions to retain employees? Pearson Accelerated Pathways recently sponsored a study conducted by the Social Policy Research Associates to identify successful approaches used by companies to support the advancement of underrepresented frontline workers. Based on interviews and research of best-in-class employers, the study found that a big portion of the answer lies in having supportive leadership. In fact, six of the seven employers interviewed identified supportive supervisors—and in some cases coaches or mentors—as a critical factor in helping frontline workers advance and stay with the business.
What makes supportive supervisors so important?
Supervisors have the first-hand capacity to encourage, inspire and teach others on their team. They also play significant roles as champions (or gatekeepers) in the promotion and advancement process. By considering opportunities for promoting those on their team, supervisors can nurture growth and encourage advancement within an organization. They can also affirm and express their support of employees by educating them about career pathways, encouraging them to participate in education and training opportunities and helping them develop leadership skills.
In fact, workplaces that develop upskilling strategies and foster a culture of learning can also counter implicit bias and create a friendlier workplace, especially for underrepresented workers. By developing opportunities for education and growth, supportive leaders build a sense of community and foster a culture that can acknowledge the struggles frontline workers face and the events that impact marginalized communities. This type of community building is important across an organization, and leaders who foster supportive business environments not only increase productivity, but they also give workers the sense of belonging they desire.
How can I be a supportive supervisor?
There couldn’t be a better time to improve your management skills, especially with supportive leaders in short supply. As Forbes puts it, ‘When you begin to think of a management position as the ultimate supporting role instead of just another rung on the leadership ladder, you’ll begin to find the ways to become the manager your company — and your employees — deserve.’
While there are many approaches to effective leadership, here are a few things we’ve found most supportive leaders strive to do:
1. Promote mentorship
Supportive supervisors can help foster mentorships in the workplace through networking, personal connections and even mentorship programs. According to Biz Library, ‘A mentoring program can improve employee retention, create more diversity, help plan for the future, and save on costs for other forms of training.’ By acting as an advisor or pairing those less experienced with those more experienced, mentors can help others to grow, set goals and develop in the workplace.
One approach is to choose staff with more seniority to mentor newer team members. Senior members feel valued for their knowledge and experience, plus they have a chance to bond with newer teammates. This type of mentorship also allows knowledge to transfer in a way that builds a more successful, productive and collaborative environment. In addition, mentors can offer encouragement to mentees as they work through challenges of the job. Overall, promoting mentorship is a win-win for an organization and a great way to show support as a supervisor – either by participating in or pairing others in mentorships.
3. Connect others with resources and opportunities
Part of your focus as a supportive supervisor is to connect people to resources that help them gain skills and succeed in the future. Supervisors are frequently asked, ‘What do I need to do to get to the next level?’ In addition to helping set up workplace supports like healthcare and childcare, offering educational opportunities as a benefit is an excellent way to invest in employees, especially frontline workers who may have struggled to complete high school or college.
According to the Working Learners Index, 90% of employees say they would stay with their employer if education was offered as a benefit. Supportive leaders understand that most employees want to continue learning and growing to keep up with job market demand. Making employee growth and learning part of your strategic plan can result in your entire organizational culture valuing employee development and learning. By providing frontline workers with opportunities to learn, supportive leaders can deliver improved results not just for the organization but for the community as a whole.
4. Continue learning
A degree in management or business may prepare you to understand business operations, financial analysis and other technical aspects of business, but it’s also important to work at developing soft skills that will benefit your role as a leader, like communication, approachability, empathy and adaptability. An effective leader seeks out feedback and looks for ways to grow both personally and professionally. To sharpen your soft skills, you can practice by engaging and socializing with people in various scenarios or by taking supplementary management training courses.
It also helps to network with peers in the leadership community either in-person or online. There are book groups for leaders to share great reads as well as support groups to share problems encountered by those in leadership roles and receive sound first-hand advice. Asking for help and seeking input is valid even when you think you’re expected to have all the answers. To support others, it always helps to have your own support system in place.
Good news for psychology majors! The U.S. Department of Labor says the job outlook for psychologists shows steady growth over the next decade. While a Ph.D. can get you far in the mental health field, those with a B.A. or B.S. in psychology can still find excellent opportunities working in hospitals, schools, private businesses, non-profit organizations, social service agencies, mental health centers and more. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also sees job growth potential for psychology majors as assistants in rehabilitation centers and in other occupations involving data collection and analysis.
If you’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology and wondering what job opportunities exist for you right out of college, here are some careers to consider.
Do you like helping those experiencing mental disorders or developmental disabilities? If so, you can work as a psychiatric technician providing care to patients in a variety of settings including group homes, residential treatment centers, hospitals and nursing homes. Your duties would involve observing patient behavior, monitoring vital health signs, teaching life skills, conducting applied therapy sessions and helping with basic needs. You’d need a solid background in abnormal psychology, clinical psychology and psychology of personality to understand the various conditions afflicting psychiatric patients. You’d also need to be able to carefully follow instructions for patient care provided by psychiatrists, so good comprehension and communication skills will also be important as you establish rapport with both patients and doctors.
Psychiatric technicians play a pivotal role in helping patients cope with their mental health conditions as they are often the first in line to encounter issues as they arise. Psychology majors who hope to work as psychiatric technicians or aides should try to get internships working with patients in a clinical setting prior to graduation to see if this type of role is right for them. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for psychiatric technicians is predicted to grow 12% through 2028. In fact, there are indications that this trend will increase even more as our growing older population will require more psychiatric assistance. Growth is also forecast for psychiatric technicians in residential settings, especially in substance abuse treatment. Residential and community-based treatment centers are becoming increasingly popular as effective options for addiction rehabilitation. A bachelor’s in psychology qualifies most candidates for work as psychiatric technicians, however some employers may also require a postsecondary certificate.
Do you like helping others work through difficult problems in a personal one-on-one setting? Counseling could be right for you. Counselors help people suffering from an array of difficulties – from addiction to behavioral disorders – by offering guidance, treatment and advice. Specialties include drug abuse counselors (who work with clients struggling with substance abuse and addiction), youth counselors (who work with troubled youth on personal growth and development), rehabilitation counselors (who help to promote healing and wellness in rehabilitation facilities), in-home behavioral counselors (who provide behavioral planning and support to families in crisis) and mental health counselors (who treat clients with a variety of conditions, like anxiety and depression).
Do you like planning, directing and coordinating healthcare services? If so, you may find satisfaction working as a medical and health services manager. In this role, you’d be responsible for managing anything from an entire care facility to a specific clinical area, department or medical practice. Medical and health services managers focus on improving efficiency and quality of patient services while also ensuring that operations are compliant with applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations. Your duties may also include preparing budgets and spending, representing the facility at meetings or on governing boards and keeping organized records of the facility’s services.
Interested in helping people get back on their feet after they’ve served time in correctional facilities? You might enjoy a career as a correctional treatment specialist (also known as parole officer, case manager or correctional counselor). Your role would involve evaluating inmates using questionnaires and psychological tests as well as advising and developing rehabilitation plans for probationers and parolees. In addition to developing release plans, correctional treatment specialists also help facilitate job training programs, counseling services, substance abuse or mental health treatment and adequate housing for former inmates.
Correctional treatment specialists’ release plans and reports can greatly impact the future outcome for parolees, so candidates hoping to work in this field need to be highly ethical and are often required to pass competency exams, drug tests and criminal background checks. Keep in mind that this job can also be stressful and dangerous, as you may be assigned to fieldwork in high-crime areas or in correctional institutions. A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field, like criminal justice, can help to prepare you for this role and its demands. Employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is lower than average, with projected growth at just 4 percent from 2020 to 2030, however, this will vary significantly depending on your location.
Do you like to educate and inspire others? Want to be a role model? You may love teaching. According to Teach.com, “A great teacher should love educating students, and one of the principal goals many teachers set for themselves is to be the best educator they can be. There is something extremely gratifying about imparting information to your students and working with them to ensure they understand, not only concepts, but practical applications as well.” Keep in mind that teaching can also be demanding, as many teachers work during school hours as well as evenings and weekends preparing lessons and grading papers. Still, many find the work rewarding, plus many parents find teaching a great career because it allows them to have work breaks that coincide with their children’s school calendar.
While a bachelor’s in education is the go-to path for many aspiring teachers, some feel a bachelor’s in psychology can complement their work as a teacher in different ways, as they apply their psychology knowledge indirectly to the classroom environment. Whether you’d prefer to teach at the elementary or high school level, a bachelor’s degree will help you gain the right qualifications to enter the teaching field. You’ll also need to earn a teaching certificate along with your degree, so be sure to check your state’s teaching guidelines and requirements. Overall employment of grade-school teachers is projected to grow 7 percent this decade, about average for all occupations.
Do you like helping others manage deep societal issues such as poverty, abuse, unemployment and addiction? You may find social work rewarding. A social worker helps others improve their lives through counseling, advocacy and referrals to other agencies and professionals. As a social worker, you would help struggling families and individuals improve the quality of their lives by making sure they have access to basic needs. You’d also be responsible for examining their environment, relationships, community and even the government policies that affect their lives. Your role may involve finding solutions for your clients such as physical relocation, counseling, medical treatment, government programs, legal resources and employment. Social workers often help guide those in need through a matrix of complex problems, including the legal system.
Social workers operate in a variety of settings such as governmental organizations, schools, hospitals, private and non-profit organizations, community centers and elder care homes. Employment for social workers is expected to grow 11%, and employment for social services managers is expected to grow 13%. These managers direct and coordinate programs that provide services related to residential care, youth and family support, rehabilitation and other important areas of social support. Typically, you only need a bachelor's degree to qualify as a social worker or social services manager, but it's a good idea to look into the licensing for your particular state to better understand any additional requirements.
Ready to go back to college? Excellent decision! If you’ve already earned previous college credit, you’ll want to make sure your hard work counts toward your new degree. To find out how much of your prior credit you can transfer, you’ll need to obtain your college transcript. But how? And what if it’s been years since your last college attendance? No worries! We’ll answer your questions and walk you through all the steps to obtain your college transcript.
What is a college transcript?
A college transcript is a list your courses, grades, major/minor (if you had one), credit hours and GPA you’ve earned at a college.
How do I get my transcript?
The school you last attended is always the best place to start when looking for your transcript. Your transcript can be requested in person, by mail or online.
We suggest ordering it online by following these steps:
Go your previous college's website.
Either enter "order transcript" in the search box on the main page or look for a link to the Enrollment, Admissions or Registrar page.
From there, you should be able to find instructions on the various ways to order your transcripts. (You may be required to go to the college’s online student portal. If this is the case, you’ll likely need to enter your former student ID and password. If you forgot it, click on the applicable "forgot my student ID" or "forgot my password" buttons and follow any steps listed.)
Follow the instructions to order your transcripts, fill out any information required and pay any fees that might be requested. Typically, there are no fees for unofficial transcripts. If you’re not sure if you need an official or unofficial transcript, see below.
How do I know if I need an official or unofficial transcript?
Official transcripts are certified by the college and mailed to the receiving institution in a sealed envelope. This ensures that the transcript is unaltered and assures the receiving institution of its validity from the originating source. Official transcripts are usually only needed for formal college or job applications.
Unofficial transcripts can be downloaded and/or printed out by you or the college. An unofficial transcript is typically not accepted when formally applying to a college or job, but it allows you to review your transcript and work with an academic counselor to better understand how to transfer that credit.
For your call with our academic counselor, all you need is an unofficial transcript. This will allow us to see what prior credit you’ve earned and research where it can be transferred. The following documents are also acceptable if they’re easier for you to access: degree audits, degree evaluations, academic advising reports and even screenshots as long as the institution and student name are visible. Be sure to include all pages!
Some universities offer a certain number of transcripts for free, and most offer unofficial transcripts at no charge. Official transcripts may have a fee ranging from $10-50 depending on the college.
I haven’t attended college in years. Will my transcript still be available?
Luckily, transcripts are available years after you attended or graduated from a college. If, by chance, the college you attended has closed, try to find out if it was part of a larger educational organization. The CDE recommends that you try to contact the parent organization first.
If you’re still unable to find the college or a branch of the college, try contacting any of the following organizations for help:
Department of Higher Education in the state in which the school you attended was located. There should be a link to request transcripts from closed schools.
Parchment is a private company that offers transcript recovery services.
At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we love to help students find degree plans that accept as much of their prior credit as possible. In fact, we do your college research for you… for free! Once you provide our academic counselor with your college transcripts, they'll conduct an intensive college research process based specifically on your goals and transferrable credit. Then you’ll get a custom College Options Report of the best colleges we found to fit your degree plan, schedule, budget, credit transfer and more. You’ll be able to make side-by-side college comparisons based on the most important factors to you. If you haven’t set up an appointment with one of our expert academic counselors yet, be sure to reach out today to get your free College Options Report!
Considering a degree in business? You probably already know that a business degree gives you a head start when applying for jobs compared to applicants with less marketable degrees. Business is one of the more popular majors due to its many real-world advantages, including attractive salaries and good jobs right out of school. And while most degrees in business ensure you understand the foundations of accounting, management, financial analysis and business operations, there are many majors and concentrations to choose from, including:
Business Administration & Management
Green and Sustainable Management
Human Resources Management
How do you choose a business major?
Well, the most popular choice among students is Business Administration. In fact, it’s not just the most popular among business majors, Business Administration & Management is among the most popular majors in the United States with over 410,000 degrees and certificates handed out per year. But does that mean it’s the best business major? While a Business Administration degree offers a broad foundation in the world of commerce, some research shows that students who major in general business and marketing are more likely to be underemployed or earn less than those in more math-focused business majors, such as accounting or financial planning.
So how do you make a decision with so many business major options? Eyeing the job market outlook for business degrees of the future is a good place to start, but your decision should also take into consideration your preferences, goals and motivations. In this blog, we’ll help you narrow down your choice by looking at three motivating factors: Do you want to earn the most money, gain a sense of fulfillment or be your own boss?
Let’s take a look at five of the highest paying jobs for business graduates according to UoPeople:
VP Sales and Marketing: MBA in Sales, Marketing
Chief Executive Officer: MBA in Management, Operations, Entrepreneurship, Sales
Finance Manager: MBA in Management, Operations, Entrepreneurship
Director of Marketing: BA/MBA in Marketing, International Business, Sales
Budget Director: BA/MBA in Finance, Entrepreneurship, Accounting, Operations, Economics
Notice how most of these upper management high earners have education at the MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) level. If your goal is the make the most money by advancing to executive management, you’ll probably want to obtain your bachelor’s degree and then join the workforce for a few years before applying to an MBA program. For this path, it may seem like an undergraduate degree in Business Administration would be your best option; however, that may not necessarily be the case. TopMBA looked at the undergraduate backgrounds of those accepted into MBA programs at three of the most prestigious business schools in the United States. Results showed that the majority of candidates accepted were not from business backgrounds.
Here’s a breakdown of the undergraduate majors accepted to these MBA programs:
A good deal of students accepted to MBA programs actually come from STEM backgrounds. This may be partly attributed to higher rankings on the GMAT or GRE, which you’ll be required to take to get accepted into a reputable MBA program. If getting a high GMAT or GRE score is important to the MBA program you’re applying, then you may want to consider a major that will help you prepare for it. GMAC analyzed scores from different majors and found the top performers on the GMAT had bachelor’s degrees in Physics (608), Mathematics (605) and Engineering (595) while graduates in Marketing (493) and Education (485) were near the bottom of the list.
In sum, if your goal is to make the most money by striving to become a top corporate executive, your best course is to set your sights on eventually earning an MBA. Instead of just focusing on a generic business undergrad degree, your education plan should align with the type of industry you’d like to work in. If your goal is to someday become the VP of a financial institution, then you might do well to study finance as your undergrad major. If you’d rather be a high-level director or manager in the tech industry, then studying an IT-related major could get you further in your educational goals, career and earnings than a general business major.
I want to be fulfilled in my work life
Some jobs pay well, some have flexible schedules and others are reported to give workers a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. While making lots of money is a good goal for some, others are looking for a job that makes them feel rewarded and engaged. If you cherish your mental health and a good work-life balance, pay attention to these factors that The Balance Careers say make a job fulfilling:
Something you excel at
Good company culture and reputation
Opportunities for advancement
Lack of major negatives
Caring for others
While there are a variety of jobs that offer these types of benefits and advantages, it’s best to know your particular personality and values before deciding what might be most satisfying in your work life. Perhaps you have an accounting brain or maybe you’re passionate about non-profit management and social causes. There’s also Green and Sustainable Management for those with a passion for protecting the environment. According to msn.com, here are some of the most-fulfilling roles identified by business professionals:
As you can see, these positions can be held in a range of industries and organizations. If you’d like a job that gives you a sense of fulfillment, it might be a good idea to figure out what makes you feel motivated and engaged. You can also take some general business classes before declaring your business major. This will help you decide if you prefer the math side (accounting, finance, tax) or the people side (human resources, marketing, public administration) of business. Luckily, most business degrees are versatile. So even if you end up in an entry-level role that doesn’t bring you joy, there’s still opportunity for advancement, company change or even career change.
I want to be my own boss
Is your goal to someday run your own company? A business degree is a great start. While anyone can come up with a business idea, how successful that business becomes depends heavily on the individual and their education. It’s true that some successful business owners have never completed college, but this tends to be more of an exception than the rule. A degree will only help your business become more successful, even if you’re able to get a good head start on your own. Knowing how to take your business to the next level is key to being an effective entrepreneur.
There are several business majors that work well for budding entrepreneurs. Here are four we’ve identified as most effective:
Entrepreneurship – A business major in entrepreneurship is a great choice for anyone wanting to start a business, as it teaches you how to pursue business opportunities and provide for the needs of the market. According to CVN, you’ll also learn how to get creative, learn management, be a leader, tackle uncertainty, identify problems, expand demand and dream big.
Marketing – Another great choice for those wanting to learn how to start their own business is marketing, as marketing campaigns are pivotal to the success of any new business endeavor. A marketing major will help you explore the fundamentals of consumer behavior while also learning how to conduct market research and develop advertising to promote your products or services and increase your brand awareness.
Economics – An economics major is also useful for entrepreneurs for several reasons. You’ll learn how markets work, be able to identify true costs, know how to collect in-depth market analysis and make long-term business forecasts.
You know the battle. You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. It’s a conundrum many college students face when trying to start their careers. Searching through endless job postings that require at least two years of experience can be frustrating, but don’t get discouraged!
Here’s the good news. As a college student or recent grad, you’ve probably already developed a lot of the knowledge and qualifications to ready yourself for the professional world. Even without prior job experience, a college student can still create a strong impactful resume that gets employers’ attention. In fact, Career Alley confirms that most employers want to see evidence of leadership, problem-solving, and communication skills. Luckily, these are all things you can prove you’ve developed in college.
Ready to show hiring managers that you have what it takes to land your dream job? Here’s some handy college resume tips and examples to help.
1. Choose a well-organized resume format
In the past, classic resume formats followed a boring standard layout with limited flexibility. In today’s market, pertinent information and good design have set the standard for catching employers’ attention. Why not stand out from other candidates with a catchy design? If you're looking to get your creative juices going and develop a resume format that stuns while also fitting your aesthetic, Canva has some very cool designs to get you started. Check out this one by Stella.
According to Indeed, “The best resume formats are well organized with only the most relevant information and should make efficient use of blank space to avoid clutter.” Stella has made great use of the one-page space, even including a photo to showcase her unique style and personality. She’s also included a section labeled “Relevant Experience and Training” in place of the traditional “Job Experience” to emphasize her involvement in school teams and committees that have provided her with applicable skills in lieu of an official job.
Keep in mind that if you include a photo on your resume, it should reflect the style and dress for your industry. If you’re entering a more formal career, be sure to adjust your resume accordingly. You can still have a great design while keeping it professional, like in Avery’s resume below. As a new face in the accounting and finance world, Avery wants to make an impact on employers while still representing himself as a reputable professional. His resume stands out yet also does a great job of fitting the expectations and standards for his career.
2. Create a summary focused on the employer’s needs
A summary, objective, or “About Me” statement is an excellent way to introduce yourself and quickly advertise your qualifications. This statement should be brief (1-2 sentences) and focus on your relevant experience as well as your career-developed skills. It’s also a great idea to tailor your summary according to the employer’s needs, rather than your own. If the employer mentions specific desires in their job posting, figure out a way to incorporate the highest priority ones into your statement. Not only does this show the employer that you’ve paid attention to what they want, but also that you're responsive and willing to meet their needs.
3. Prioritize education vs. experience
For college students or recent graduates, it can be difficult to decide whether to list your education or experience first. Notice in Jonathan’s resume below, he lists his education history first to showcase his student activity and accolades, like the Best Student Web Developer Award. That’s because his educational accomplishments demonstrate more enthusiasm and mastery of his technical abilities than his limited experience as a freelance web developer – with just two work projects completed.
Not sure whether to list your education or experience section first? Figure out which one allows you to present your most pertinent and remarkable information. If your main selling points come from your college experience, then be sure to list your education section first. Then you can get really creative in emphasizing your academic history and accomplishments, as discussed next.
4. Get resourceful in your education section
Don’t feel intimidated if your degree doesn’t exactly align with the job you’re applying. By showing a commitment to your education, you can still demonstrate the qualities employers are looking for like strong work ethic, dedication, leadership, commitment, and desire to improve.
According to Live Career, “Not only should the education section of your resume be concise, but it should also relate to the job you are seeking.” This is a good time to brainstorm and make a list of your best student accomplishments. Any relevant honors or academic recognition, coursework, activities, or other achievements obtained during your education should be included to build up what may be lacking in your experience section. You can even add in relevant coursework and school projects you’ve completed to establish your training qualifications and special areas of study, particularly if your major or minor doesn’t readily indicate it.
5. Keep your experience section relevant
Employers don’t need to know about the summer job you had at a pizza shop or about that one time you sold perfume at the mall. Your experience section shouldn’t be limited to just paid jobs nor does it need to include every job you’ve ever had. Hiring managers will be looking to see whether you have job experience that’s relevant to the position they are hiring.
In Jonathan’s resume above, notice how he only includes his work as a Freelance Web Developer. This is his only experience that’s relevant to the positions for which he’s applying. Jonathan doesn't need to include his part-time job stocking shelves at Costco or his sales associate position at Champ’s during his first year in college. Not only can that distract from his qualifications, but it can clutter up his resume and make it seem like he doesn’t understand the employer’s wants or needs.
If you have very limited or no work history at all, you can change the name of this section from “Work Experience” to “Relevant Experience.” Then add in internships, volunteer work, leadership experience, extracurricular activities or any other related involvement or training you can think of to compensate for your lack of workplace experience.
6. Include a skills or strengths section
Including a skills, key strengths, or competencies section on a resume is a great way to let employers know what hard skills and soft skills you bring to the table. Indeed defines hard skills as abilities specific to the job (like proficiency in technical software systems) and soft skills as abilities that can be applied in any job (like problem-solving and time management).
So how do you know which of your many talents to list on your resume? According to The Balance Careers, “Some skills are in high demand for employers hiring college graduates, and there are other skills that specifically relate to the job for which you're applying.” Try reviewing several job descriptions specific to the industry or role you’re applying. Be sure to focus on the key desires and requirements employers emphasize for candidates. Jot down a list of the ones that stand out, then review how their desired skills match your core competencies. From there, you can decide which key strengths to include on your resume.
Check out Ed Stewart’s “Key Strengths” section in the below resume. Notice how he only lists hard skills or technical abilities. This is a good move for Ed as he’s positioning himself as a Search Engine Marketing expert and targeting companies looking to hire someone with a technical approach to their marketing strategy. He also does a great job of keeping his bulleted section short and scannable. Bulleted lists should only include about 5-7 items, so be sure to add only the most important and relevant skills to your resume. Anything that you feel you’ve left off can be included in your cover letter.
7. Always submit a custom cover letter
Did you know around 250 resumes are submitted for each corporate job listing and only about five candidates will be called for an interview? According to Pongo, “without a cover letter, you're relying solely on your resume to make a big enough impact that the hiring manager will call you back for an interview.” As an applicant just starting out in the job market, you’ll need a good cover letter to make up for the lack of experience on your resume.
By submitting a custom cover letter specific to the company and role for which you’re applying, you can let employers know why they should hire you over a candidate with more experience. This is your chance to tell them that you’re a fast learner, hard worker, or willing to go the extra mile to gain experience and to help their company succeed. Don’t count on your resume to get you through the competition. By including a cover letter, you’ll get noticed quickly, show you’ve put in extra effort, and demonstrate how much you want the job. You only have 7.4 seconds to make an impression, so make it good!
8. Get a friend to proofread
After staring at the same resume and cover letter for hours, it can be easy to gloss over your own writing and mistakes that a fresh pair of eyes can detect. After completing these documents, try a few proofreading tricks like reading them slowly and out loud. Then, ask for help! You’d be surprised at what someone else may pick up on. TopResume states, “Have a friend — preferably one who writes for a living or studied English in college — review your resume for contextual spelling mistakes, missing punctuation, and inconsistencies in your resume format.” Once all final details are confirmed, then you’re ready to apply. Good luck!
Want to check out more college resume and cover letter examples? Zety has some excellent templates and guides. And check out this blog if you need help obtaining reference letters. At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we love helping students on the journey to their brightest future and best career. We’d love to help you create your own college experience that develops the background qualifications and skills needed to land your dream job!
Roland is a 32-year-old father of three young girls and the Operations Supervisor for the New York Public Transit facilities. Currently, he’s managing the facility and maintenance staff for two boroughs in NYC: Manhattan and Queens. Although he’s never completed his bachelor’s degree, he loves his job and has made it this far in his career by being a go-getter and a hard worker.
But now he’s hit a bump in the road.
His boss is retiring in a year, and Roland is up for an Associate Director promotion that earns almost double his current salary. To qualify, he’ll need to complete his bachelor’s degree as quickly as possible to “look good on paper.” The company knows how hard Roland works, but without meeting the education qualifications for the promotion, he’ll be surpassed by someone with less experience.
Fortunately, Roland already has 42 college credits that he’s earned over the past 10 years. His prior credits come from different places including a trade school, a community college, and The City University of New York (CUNY). While he enjoys learning, Roland has always encountered difficulty finishing his degree at in-person schools. It seems every time he got started, life got in the way: his wife got pregnant and sick, they moved to be closer to family, Covid started, etc.
Now he understands what it’ll take for him to complete his degree as fast as possible.
This is Roland’s wish list:
He needs to be able to start school right away (no traditional college semesters)
All courses have to be offered completely online (not in-person)
He must be able to take courses during downtime at his job (no set class times)
His college must accept as much of his previous credit as possible (no tight transfer restrictions)
Time to call in the experts!
To fulfill these requirements, Roland turned to the academic counselors at Pearson Accelerated Pathways, trusting their expertise in finding degree paths with freedom and flexibility. By gathering his transcripts from each school, Roland was able to help his academic counselor to review his prior credits and see where they could transfer. Although Roland’s previous studies mostly focused on engineering and architecture, he also had a good deal of general education credits completed.
Roland now wants to major in Business or Project Management to better fit the promotion qualifications at his job. His academic counselor was able to sort through thousands of possibilities and narrow down five degree options in a side-by-side college options report customized to show Roland the degrees that would best fit his wish list. Here’s a preview of three of the six colleges they reviewed.
After going over the best options with his academic counselor, Roland chose Excelsior College based on a combined factor of price and prior credit acceptance. He was able to start courses right away, and with tons of hard work, determination, success coaching, and tips on staying sane while working full time in college, Roland exceeded his completion date and earned his bachelor’s degree in under two years!
As a result, Roland has fully qualified for the promotion to Associate Director at his job and no longer has to worry about hitting a glass ceiling or feeling like his lack of a degree will hold him back from future promotions. He also gained a solid foundation in budgeting, planning, business operations, and management from his degree that will be beneficial as he moves into upper management. Congrats, Roland!
It’s Not Too Late to Go Back to College
Feeling stuck in your career because you still haven’t finished your degree? You’re not alone. According to a Pew Research study, 35 percent of workers say they don’t feel they have the education and training needed to get ahead at work. They’re not wrong either. In fact, there are 57 percent more job opportunities for those with college degrees than without.
That’s why we’ve developed a new way for workers to experience college. By providing flexible start dates and self-paced learning options, Pearson Accelerated Pathways has helped thousands of busy adults and parents get ahead in their career by finishing their degree while they work. Unlike traditional universities, we allow you to start learning right away – not on a rigid semester schedule.
Our flexible online courses can be started anytime, anywhere—even from your job—and with no assignment due dates. You can learn, complete quizzes, and even take tests according to your schedule. With loads of success stories from working adults and parents, our goal is always to help you earn your degree and move up the ladder to your brightest future.
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the amount of research needed to attend college? With so many degree options, costs, and requirements for each school, the search process can feel like a never-ending battle with a thousand unanswered questions. Do I meet the admission requirements? How much will it cost? Will my past credits transfer?
Where do I even start?
Take a deep breath because expert help is on the way! At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we do all the college research for you… for free. Our academic counselors have tons of expertise, resources, and inside knowledge to help you narrow down the best college options based on your specific goals.
We Build a College Options Report – Just for You
Just provide us with some basic info and our academic counselors will reach out to learn more about your situation. Our goal is to gather the most pertinent info needed to determine your best college and degree options. We’ll factor in things like:
What majors interest you, or do you want to wait to decide?
How many hours per week you can study?
What do you want out of your college experience?
Have you’ve already earned any college credits?
If so, where can they transfer?
From there, just sit back and relax as we crunch the numbers on tuitions, degrees, fees, and much more. We'll conduct an intensive college research process based specifically on your data and circumstance, and then you’ll get the final results. Your academic counselor will send you a super organized and helpful College Options Report – custom built just for you.
What's a College Options Report?
The College Options Report is a side-by-side degree plan of the best colleges we found to fit your goals, schedule, budget, transferrable credit, and more. The first page will look something like this:
Your academic counselor will carefully walk you through each page of the report to make sure you understand all of your options. In particular, they’ll spend lots of time going over the chart on Page 2 (below), where you’ll see a complete breakdown of each school by degree, cost, transferable credit, and more. As you examine this college comparison, you’ll be able to consider important factors like:
Which of the degrees can I obtain the fastest?
Which of the schools costs the least?
Which of the options accepts most of my prior credit?
After that, you’ll see a page-by-page outline for each college (like in the image below). This gives you an overview of each college by tuition, fees, books, and—most importantly—the potential savings through our Global Digital Classroom (GDC). The GDC is Pearson Accelerated Pathways’ online learning platform. It’s how we are able to offer you lots of courses at a much lower cost per credit than traditional colleges. The GDC gives you extra freedom to pursue courses that align with your interests while enjoying our cost savings and flexibility. Best of all, GDC courses are fully accredited and guaranteed to transfer to your final college of choice!
With the College Options Report, you’ll be able to make comparisons based on the most important factors to you. That may be cost, degree, major, college reputation, time to complete, prior credit transfers, or a number of factors combined.
In the above example, let's say you choose to go with Maryville University based on the cost savings. You’ll see that we can save you $32,850 on your total degree cost by offering 25-27 courses through our Global Digital Classroom (GDC). This savings also includes the discounted tuition you’ll receive at Maryville University for transferring from Pearson Accelerated Pathways. That’s a lot of savings – cutting the total cost of your degree almost in half!
In addition, Pearson Accelerated Pathways offers flexible pay-as-you-go plans. Unlike one-size-fits all colleges, we work with your budget to customize payment options. Also unlike traditional colleges, you can get started on online classes right away. No waiting for a semester to begin or working around a set college schedule. We make sure payments and schedules are all on your terms!
We’re Here When You’re Ready
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices involved in doing college research, let us help... for absolutely no charge! We love being a guiding light for students in a world of noise and clutter. Our specialty is helping students identify their best college options and setting them on the right education track for their lifestyle, budget, and schedule.
Before making any career decision, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself, “Will this career be in demand? And if so, how much can I earn and what education will I need?” With thousands of options available, it can be difficult to narrow down a career path that's right for you. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of five careers that have great demand and excellent earning potential. We hope this will help you on your educational journey and increase your chances of making a good career decision.
Cyber security encompasses everything that relates to the protection of data and networks. Employment can be found in a wide range of industries and focuses on a number of specialties. Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures; forensic roles deal with the aftermath of data breaches; penetration testers identify vulnerabilities to help prevent breaches; security architects establish and maintain network security; and the CIO sits at the top tier of the industry, overseeing all of this.
For each career pathway there’s a lot of technical knowledge and many certifications to acquire to demonstrate mastery, so it’s best for aspiring cyber-crime fighters to research each specialty early and get on track for the role that best fits their skillset and goals.
Here are a few specialties and their earning potential:
Information security analyst ($51K-$108K)
Forensic computer analyst ($49K-$118K)
Penetration & vulnerability tester ($58K-$136K)
Cyber security architect ($86K-$160K)
Chief information security officer ($106K-$200K+)
Study options available
Most entry-level cyber security positions require only an undergraduate degree (which degree may not matter if you have the right skills and certifications), but a graduate degree will open the door to more senior positions and quicker advancement. Increasingly, schools are offering degree programs specific to cyber security that students can pursue rather than the more broad computer science.
No matter what degree a candidate boasts, their prospects may be further improved by adding professional certifications to their résumé. In fact, many job postings will require that prospects come to the table with at least a foundational certification or will ask employees to acquire further credentials for career development.
Here’s some insider advice from Charles Poff, CISO, Salespoint, “Anyone interested in cybersecurity needs to get a degree, as going to college helps you to learn how to learn. No one in IT or security has all the answers, but what defines us as IT and security folks is how we figure out problems. You learn how to become a lifelong learner in college and develop new skills on the job as you fine tune your natural gifts.”
The demand for smart devices increased 16% in 2020, and with it the need for Internet of Things expertise in consumer electronics, transportation, manufacturing, utilities, agriculture, and healthcare has grown. Bachelor’s degrees in the subject are only just starting to be introduced, but there are other programs and skills that can lead to success in this career.
The IoT is the network of physical objects that are embedded with sensors or software to connect and exchange data with the internet. This includes products such as wearable fitness trackers, home automation devices, self-driving cars, and much more. The demand for these devices is staggering, with an estimated 35 billion devices connected worldwide in 2021—a 16% increase in just one year. Although investment and development may have slowed during quarantine, COVID-19 is set to spark further growth. More time at home means more people connecting their homes for health, wellness, and efficiency, and the healthcare industry is leveraging smart tech for tasks like early detection and contact tracing.
Here are a few specialties and their earning potential:
IoT developer ($59K-$74K)
Data scientist ($67K-$135K)
IoT solutions engineer ($80K-$120K)
IoT architect ($98K-$190K)
Cyber security engineer ($94K-$320K)
Study options available
While there are only a couple US colleges offering a bachelor’s degree specific to IoT, the rise in options internationally indicates that number will likely increase soon. In the meantime, for many entry-level roles, a bachelor’s in information technology, computer science/engineering, or software development may suffice.
Learners can set themselves up for IoT job success by researching the competencies expected by their dream employers and planning their course work accordingly. Master’s degrees, micro-masters, and graduate certificates specific to the IoT are increasingly common. These programs may go by alternate labels such as “embedded systems” or “cyber-physical systems”. At all levels (engineers and architects in particular), professional certifications may be a requirement.
Here’s some insider advice from Home Security List, “Without a doubt, the versatile nature of the IoT is one of the numerous reasons it is due to add such significant value to the economy. IoT devices can be implemented in every industry, through adoption, development or both. In this respect, you should learn to collaborate with people from distinct sectors. Make sure your training is diverse so that you can apply it to numerous businesses.”
In the past few years there’s been a growing demand for equality and representation. As a result, more companies are championing the need for diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace and hiring specialists to help them meet that need. In a 2018 column for Inclusion at Work, Jennifer Kim noted that taking on a D&I role comes with significant risk, as they’re often the first cut in an economic downturn. This prediction held true at the onset of COVID-19 when job postings plummeted. However, just months later, the US saw widespread civil rights protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, and D&I job postings did a quick about-face.
There’s hope right now that roles supporting D&I are newly focused on action over awareness. Examples include GE, which pledged $10 million toward racial justice and inclusivity initiatives, and Salesforce, which committed to increasing Black representation, especially in leadership. The rebounding of job postings is also a positive sign of change. Each of the roles included below supports employers’ mission of attracting, developing, retaining, and supporting the advancement of a diverse workforce.
Here are a few specialties and their earning potential:
Chief diversity officer ($75K-$211K)
D&I director ($89K-$120K)
D&I manager ($55K-$124K)
D&I specialist ($46K-$118K)
D&I coordinator ($25K-$102K)
Study options available
Options for a degree specific to D&I are limited, but available. Some institutions, such as Tufts University and The University of Kansas, have developed master’s degrees in D&I leadership. However, most D&I job applicants come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some studied and worked in business or human resources management, choosing to specialize along the way. Some transitioned from other areas of their organization, driven by passion and seeing the need for this role. For them and others, there is a proliferation of graduate certificate and online course options that support D&I development.
It’s worth noting that while education demands are high for these roles (45.6% hold master’s degrees), transferable skills and a demonstrable interest in social justice should not be discounted as qualifying factors. A number of institutions, such as Emporia State University, offer interdisciplinary degrees in subjects like ethnic, gender, and identity studies that will give candidates a social science foundation and help them stand out in the hiring process
Here’s some insider advice from the Allison Dingler, Global DI&B Program Manager, Indeed, “My number one advice for folks looking to get into diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DI&B) is to look at what they can do right now, within their sphere of influence, to create an inclusive culture. DI&B is a vast field, needing a multitude of skills and backgrounds. Consider how your skills translate to DI&B work and start doing that work before you ever have a DI&B title.”
The wine and beer industries are not new. People have been studying the production and use of fermented beverages for thousands of years. Throughout much of that time, education came through apprenticeship and then certification. Historically, the wine and beer industries have been the domain of families and smaller communities. Now, with a myriad of options for self-education, winemaking and brewing have become accessible to a broader group, and many are turning this passion into a career.
Universities are starting to offer degrees to expand the possibilities for job candidates in these industries. Most who seek careers in beer and wine are driven by passion. While some start young — either in the labor-intensive lower tiers of the industry or by seeking formal training right away — others are career-changers looking to turn their hobby into a profession.
Earnings that follow can vary greatly. Working for a small winery or craft brewery is not going to net as much as working for a major brand, but as health and sustainability trends move consumers toward quality over quantity, the number of boutique producers entering the market is increasing. More new producers means more opportunities for those open to both the uncertainty and potential of a start-up.
Here are a few specialties and their earning potential:
Vineyard manager ($50K-$85K)
Study options available
There are many ways to specialize in the wine and beer industries, and expectations for applicants’ experience and background will vary. Those willing to start at the lowest tier of wine and beer work—in the field or in the cellar—will learn a lot on the job. At the business and sales end, industry knowledge is crucial, but traditional degrees often suffice.
Those looking to specialize as brewmasters, enologists, or sommeliers, however, are going to need certifications and proven dedication to understanding the science, taste, and history of their product. University degrees are increasingly a way to gain the necessary academic foundation. There are numerous bachelors and a few masters options in the US, and even some PhDs for those willing to go international.
Here’s some insider advice from Teri Fahrendorf, “My hunch is that as time goes on, the educational requirements of microbrewers in the US will increase, if for no other reason than that the demand will increase. One microbrewery owner I spoke with recently declared he will never again hire another brewer without formal training... or a lot of experience.”
Data is everywhere and in everything we do, and with humans producing 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, the need for data scientists is rising. The high demand for this role makes it a competitive field that requires intensive education and skills. Love it or fear it, big data is everywhere, and it’s about more than just serving up unnervingly targeted ads. In addition to shaping the retail industry, big data is a cornerstone of healthcare, banking, agriculture, government, transportation, and energy. It’s estimated that humans produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily. That figure is only going up, which has led to the growing demand for data scientists.
Here are a few specialties and their earning potential:
Data analyst ($44K-$86K)
Data architect ($77K-$156K)
Data engineer ($65K-$132K)
Machine learning engineer ($76K-$154K)
Study options available
Compared to other emerging careers, data science has fairly rigorous academic requirements for entry. A competitive field means employers can make higher demands for education, and the array of technical skills required will demand intensive study, whether formal or informal. A good starting point is a bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics, IT, or statistics. Increasingly, degrees specific to data science are available as well. This also goes for master’s degrees, which are held by 73% of professionals in the field. As many as 38% have a PhD. However, those with a more mixed background still have a chance.
Since the field is new, many of its leaders didn’t have today’s focused degree options. Applicants may stand out if they can demonstrate that they’ve supplemented coursework with real-world projects, if they have additional expertise in the job’s broader industry (i.e., healthcare, marketing, etc.), or if they can show that they’ve targeted their studies to fit the demands of the role they’re looking to take on.
Here’s some insider advice from Robert Chang, Data @Airbnb, “Instead of fixating on a single technique or programming language, ask yourself, what is the best set of tools or techniques that will help you to solve your problem? Focus on problem solving, and the tools will come naturally.”
For a more comprehensive and in-depth look at additional emerging careers, get our free eBook with up-to-date information and useful charts to help you with your future career decision. If you’re ready to start your journey toward a fast-growing profession with the right education and skills, we can help! At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, our academic advisors are experts at putting you on the right track to become qualified for your dream job. We help you to customize your college experience, choose your learning style, choose your pace, and study from anywhere. All you need is an internet connection. Learn more about our college planning process.
Congrats! You finally decided on a college and a major. But now you’re wondering how to determine what level of education you want to achieve. Will a bachelor’s degree be enough for your career and educational goals, or do you need to go on to gain a master’s or higher?
How do you know what level of education you need?
We’ve compiled 10 questions you should ask to ensure you’re making the best college decision for your schedule, budget, and future career.
1. What field do you want to go into?
Hard work will get you far no matter what degree you have, but there are some jobs you just cannot get without a certain credential.
Here’s a general guide to what jobs or fields are typical for each educational level:
2. What job do you want?
Once you know what field interests you, you should decide on a target position in that field. Many professions contain positions for varying credential levels. For example, if you decide to work in healthcare, you can be a medical assistant, technician, or nurse with an associate degree, but you must attain a doctorate if you want to be a surgeon. In cases like this, knowing what job you want will often make your degree decision for you.
3. Does the job you want favor credentials or experience?
Some fields place a premium on the right degree, others place little emphasis on degrees at all. Certain technology fields value expertise in coding skills so highly that they may overlook the lack of credentials. Similarly, many trades don’t require a degree. Trade school may the way to go if you’re considering becoming a plumber, electrician, welder, etc.
The spectrum of academic careers leans the opposite direction: while skills matter, the credential matter more. The ladder must be climbed. Your field’s emphasis on prestige or skill will impact your choices. Should you immediately go to work to gain experience, or should you progress to the next degree level? The answer to this question depends on the demands of your line of work and how much practical knowledge you bring to the table.
4. What is the cost of your prospective degree?
Your level of education can increase your future earnings. But it’s possible that raise in pay may not be substantial enough to justify the time and money invested into the credential itself. Think about the degrees and institutions you’re considering and do a little number crunching on the total expense for each option. Compare these totals to the potential earnings from your future position. Check out our video on the Opportunity Cost of College for more information on this.
How many years will it take to break even? Make sure your expectations align with reality: even though a degree is typically worth the investment, it doesn’t always pay off right away.
5. What is the opportunity cost of your prospective degree?
Every choice in life automatically excludes something else. Your “opportunity cost” is what you lose by not choosing an option. When you think about your degree or what level of degree to choose, consider: How much money could you earn without the degree? Calculate your potential lifetime earnings if you stay at your current education level and never get the degree. Are you missing valuable work experience by spending time in school? If you didn’t choose to earn this degree, how much would those extra years of experience boost your career potential? What cost are you paying by not having that experience when you graduate?
6. Will you have to pay off student loans?
After researching your degree’s cost and benefits, dig a little deeper to find the potential amount of debt involved. How many years would it take to pay off the loan? What cost savings are available to your degree? Taking out debt for a degree is never advisable. Before you sign the dotted line, make sure you understand the full cost you’re paying by considering student loans. Want a customized college plan to help you graduate on your schedule and without student loans? Talk to an Accelerated Pathways advisor to learn how much we can help you can save on your degree.
7. What is your reason for considering the degree?
Whether you are thinking about a bachelor’s degree or a doctorate, what is your goal for that degree? Your motivation will influence not only the level of education you want, but how much time and money you’re willing to spend earning it. Are you hoping to earn a stable income? Fund another passion? Satisfy a thirst for learning? Climb the ladder in your career? Teach? Lead innovation and discovery? Consider the deep motivations and goals behind your educational choice, then ask yourself: is pursuing this degree the best way to achieve them?
8. What impact will your desired degree have on your life?
Your current season of life might make the degree decision for you—at least for a while. Do you have bills to pay, a savings account to fill, or a family to provide for? If so, you might consider waiting to pursue that next degree level or finding a program flexible enough for you to study and work simultaneously.
Take some time to figure out not only what’s most important for your future, but what’s most important for your life right now. What other life goals or responsibilities will impact when or how you earn a degree? What kind of freedom do you currently have to commit to your education? Many college freshmen are in a stage of life with fewer responsibilities than they will have 5-10 years down the road. For them, this is an excellent time to prioritize goals like education that will be more difficult to juggle later in life.
9. How much time do you want to invest in your education?
Investing in a higher level of education will take time. A lot of it. Count the cost before you sign up for classes. The average time commitment for each degree level is:
Bachelor’s = 4 years + Master’s = 2 years + Doctorate = 4-8 years
If you’re just looking to get a degree as quickly as possible to enter the workplace, an associate or bachelor’s will be the way to go. However, if you’re interested in pursuing a specific career path, you may want to some specific research on what level of degree or training is needed for that path. Our Academic Counselors can help with that!
10. What impact will your desired degree have on your life?
If it’s higher pay you’re interested in, find online estimates of the average earnings in your chosen field before enrolling in that degree program. Will a new credential actually raise your earnings sufficiently? Accelerated Pathways helps you earn a bachelor’s degree on your schedule. We give you the freedom to pursue your important life priorities while you’re still in college! Talk to us about getting started with your fully customized college plan.
Congratulations! You’re well on your way to figuring out what level of education is best for you! Once you’ve crunched the numbers and understand your desires for life, take a deep breath and make the plunge. And remember: numbers and pro-con lists aside, you will come out of the process with either irreplaceable work experience or an amazing credential that displays your intelligence and persistence.
Learning—in whatever form it takes—is always worth the costs, and you are a pretty cool person for taking the time to understand and carefully choose the best learning option for you. Learn more about how to earn your bachelor’s degree on your schedule and without debt at Pearson Accelerated.
Feeling like it’s becoming impossible to plan your education in the Covid era?
Sarah knows exactly how you feel. After getting accepted to her dream college in Winter 2019, she felt elated knowing her career goals were within reach. Sarah’s first day moving into the historic campus dorm across from the big clock tower was everything she dreamed college life would be: exciting, social, fun, frustrating, and busy, busy, busy.
Every day was a new adventure on campus—running back and forth between classes, figuring out how to keep notes organized, and joining lots of study groups – including the Intro to Biology study group where she met Oliver. He showed up with a big bag of Cheetos to share, and they instantly hit it off. A few invites to board game nights later, and they became inseparable.
Sarah felt like she was nailing this whole first-year college student thing – getting good grades, navigating the campus, making awesome friends, and even finding love. But just as abruptly as it all began—you guessed it—the pandemic hit.
Covid Crushes Student Dreams!
Suddenly forced to pack up her favorite belongings and head back home, Sarah had a terrible sense of uncertainty about her future. Stuck in her childhood bedroom, she felt like her life was taking a huge step backwards. Even worse, the remote courses that her old campus professors scrambled to piece together were wonky and confusing. She could feel her learning suffering – not to mention her mental health.
Everything Sarah loved about college life—the action, the camaraderie, even the smell of dusty chalkboards—suddenly disappeared and felt uninspiring. All her new college friends were scattered in different cities, and Oliver was 400 miles away at his dad’s house.
While there was still a glimmer of hope that things would return to normal, real-world circumstances kept letting Sarah down. New Covid variant strains, greater concerns of health and safety protocols, plus her parents being extra protective because of her autoimmune condition. Sarah started to go from feeling burnt out to looking visibly depressed.
She just wanted to disengage from the whole process and take a gap year—or worse—give up on school altogether.
Pulling Out of the Covid Rut
Luckily, her college friends set up regular group chats to keep in touch and help each other through their feelings. One day, her former dorm-mate Jessyln announced her decision to switch to online learning through Pearson Accelerated Pathways. The chat was instantly full of questions.
“Wait… what? Why did you switch over to Pearson?” “What’s Pearson Accelerated Pathways?” “Does this mean you’re not coming back to our campus if it re-opens?”
Jesslyn calmly explained, “I have a new online degree plan now through Pearson Accelerated Pathways. They're helping me knock out my general education credits, and the courses are designed for online learning so they’re way easier to learn from. No more Mr. Zamora trying to figure out a zoom call with his confusing PowerPoint slides! Best part is the courses are guaranteed to transfer, so I can finish out my degree faster and cheaper. It’s really helpful!”
The conversation put some fuel in Sarah’s tank. She reached out to Pearson Accelerated Pathways, and sure enough, she’s now back on track to earn her degree! With a big sigh of relief, Sarah is moving toward her goals again, and even finding the flexibility with online learning to plan fun trips with Oliver. In fact, she brought along her laptop and completed a course during their unforgettable week-long camping trip to Colorado. Sarah’s parents are thrilled too. They don’t have to worry about their daughter going back to a crowded dorm or classroom where she could be more susceptible to illness.
Don’t Get Behind on Your College Degree
Has Covid disrupted your learning path? Not ready to head back to in-person classes? We have the perfect solution! Pearson Accelerated Pathways offers transferrable college credits from wherever you are. Studies show that getting behind on your degree can result in big cost and time losses. We’ll get you back on track with the flexibility and affordability you need right now. See how it works. We love helping students reclaim their destiny.
Basically, General Education (or Gen Ed for short) is required curriculum that makes up the foundation of an undergraduate degree. This set of standard classes goes by many other names, including Core Curriculum and Shared Experience.
How much of my degree will be General Education?
Colleges (and even individual campuses of the same university) have a lot of leeway in determining how many General Education credits go into their offered degrees. However, most general education requirements cover ⅓ to ½ of a degree, between 42-60 semester-based college credits. Highly-focused or technical degrees may have fewer Gen Ed requirements to allow for more time on core subjects.
By offering accredited online courses that are 36% less expensive than the average price of college courses, we allow students to meet Gen Ed requirements and save money on their degree. Want to learn more? Reach out to Accelerated Pathways and see if we can help you meet your degree requirements for less.
What courses are considered “Gen Ed” classes?
While university standards vary dramatically, here are several categories of classes you will likely find on your Gen Ed requirements. (All credit estimates assume a semester-hour system. Required credits would be different for universities operating under a quarter-hour system.) Note: The degree you choose can affect your General Education requirements. For example, although General Education requires math credits across the board, an engineering major would need Calculus 1 and 2, while a music major could take any math available.
English: The skill of composing coherent sentences is sometimes overlooked, but it is one of the most foundational aspects of cultural communication. Nearly every school requires 6 credits of English such as:
Math: Whether running an organization, working in a business, or managing a home, adult life goes much more smoothly with at least basic number skills. Most degrees require 3-6 math credits, although math-intensive degrees will require more. Courses that fit into this category include:
Algebra - (Other titles could include College Algebra, Intro to Algebra, or Foundations of Algebra)
Natural Science: Science is much more than rock collecting or the domain of geeks. As the study of the natural world, it gives us a framework for safely and creatively interacting with the matter that surrounds us. Colleges typically require 3 to 8 credits of natural science, including subjects like:
Anatomy and physiology
Social Sciences: Social sciences give us insight into who humans are and how we interact with one another. As the study of human groups, social sciences encompass:
Humanities: Culture is a huge part of civilization, so every well-educated person needs a little insight into how people express themselves in a culture. With such a broad range of subjects, colleges vary widely on what constitutes “humanities,” but often include courses on:
Diversity: A newcomer to Gen Ed requirements, diversity courses teach students to value other cultures and beliefs. Depending on the school, diversity courses may include:
World religions (also a humanities subject)
General Education Electives: This Gen Ed category can include your choice of subjects from the English, Math, Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Science categories. Often, your college will give you a list of options and tell you how many courses to choose. For example, “choose any 3 courses from Social Sciences, Humanities, and/or Natural Sciences.”
Special thanks to Jared Brandau and the Accelerated Pathways Academic Advising Department for lending their expertise to this post. Every year, this team builds hundreds of customized degree plans to help students with transfer credit or specific goals find the best route to a degree.
Every year, we get a lot of questions from students and their families about more affordable and flexible college options.
Here are some of our favorite alternatives to traditional college that can help you finish sooner, save more money, and have a flexible college schedule.
1. Take online courses
A 2019 survey found that 60% of students enrolled in online courses say their school has taught them soft skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and writing skills, that employers desire. The survey also found that 84% of students agree or strongly agree that their online education was worth the cost.
So why not take some of these flexible courses? Depending on transfer policies, it’s possible for you to take online courses from any number of schools and transfer those credits to the school you want to graduate from.
2. Work for a company with tuition reimbursement
Many companies offer college tuition reimbursement for employees who are going to school. From Amazon and Apple to Starbucks and Siemens, these educational benefits are a great way to make college more affordable. Often, the degree major you choose doesn’t even have to be related to your job at the company. To get you started, here are 10 companies that offer tuition reimbursement.
3. Use competency-based courses
Competency-based college alternative programs are rapidly growing, signaling a radical change in higher education. Competency-based education measures a student's knowledge and skills instead of simply how much time they spend in a classroom.
Programs such as the University of Wisconsin’s Flexible Option or Prior Learning Assessments from Thomas Edison State University are making it easier for students to get college credit for the knowledge and skills they’ve learned outside the classroom.
4. Use adaptive learning
Innovations like ALEKS harness artificial intelligence to customize learning anywhere in the world. Better yet, for only $20 per month, they offer college credit for subjects such as statistics, algebra, and math for a fraction of the cost of traditional classes. For many students, this means you can take your transcript from ALEKS directly to your university
5. Focus on skills-based training
College isn’t the only way to build your skills. To make your resume even more impressive, you can spend the time and money you save on your lower-cost degree on targeted self-study of the latest, industry-specific skills. Sites such as LinkedIn Learning and Duolingo offer low-cost or free online courses on everything from Excel and coding to foreign languages and graphic design.
Upon completion, you can receive certificates to demonstrate your proficiency to a future employer. Several massive open online course (MOOC) providers such as Coursera and Udemy are also in on the certificate trend.
6. Create a portfolio
Many fields such as graphic design, computer programming, journalism, music, and film are heavily favored toward students who have demonstrated experience. Most employers in these kinds of fields want to see a portfolio of work that you’ve completed, not a mere degree. And you don’t need college to start building a winning portfolio, particularly if you can find great mentors in your field.
7. Get credit by exam
By utilizing CLEP, DSST, and other exams for credit, you can complete general education topics at your own pace. You can buy study books to help you prepare, use a test prep tool to practice, and then drop in to your local college testing center for the 90- to 120-minute exam.
If you know all of the material, why should you pay full price to sit through an entire semester of it?
8. Find industry-specific training
In fast-changing technological fields, colleges aren’t always nimble in responding to current employer needs. That’s where training boot camps come in. A growing number of technology careers do not require a degree, but rather they prefer certifications from sites like Codecademy or skills that can be learned through mentors and real work experience. There’s no college involved here, yet this training can still lead to very good jobs.
9. Find internships
People may assume that internships are only available to college students, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Adult internship opportunities are available to people of all ages and educational backgrounds—if you know where to look.
If you want to land an internship, start by searching within your network. Do you have friends, neighbors, or family members who could help you get a training opportunity? You can also search for internships on LinkedIn, and by joining a professional association for the field you’d like to work in.
Remember that adult intern candidates have two key advantages. First, they tend to demonstrate higher levels of professionalism than their younger counterparts. And second, adult interns often have fewer scheduling restrictions than college students.
10. Start a business
Do you have an idea for a unique product or service that solves a problem and makes people’s lives easier? If so, you might be able to turn your idea into a full-blown career. For example, the Home Edit was founded in 2015 by two women who wanted to start a home organizing business. Today, the company has more than 3.9 million Instagram followers and a recently released Netflix series.
Airbnb was founded by three roommates who were struggling to pay the rent for their San Francisco apartment. A large conference was scheduled to take place in the city, and since the city’s hotels were fully booked, the men decided to rent out air beds on their living room floor. If you have an idea that you think is marketable, you might be able to turn your idea into a career.
There you have it: 10 alternatives to college that can help you make an efficient and flexible transition to a fulfilling career.
My cursor maintained its steady rhythm while I sat and stared at the blank document on my computer.
And in that moment, I finally admitted what I had been denying for weeks.
The warning signs had appeared—inability to focus, lack of excitement, feeling like a failure, my normal Pollyanna attitude turned to dark cynicism—but I had pushed through, telling myself it would be different this time.
But I couldn’t deny it any longer.
I was burned out. Again.
I felt like a failure. I had allowed myself to get burned out for probably the 10th time in 4 years.
You see, I’m a burnout junkie.
I push myself hard and attempt to do ALL THE THINGS. I succeed for a while. But after a few weeks or months, the tell-tale signs of burnout show up.
But rather than fix the problem, I ignore the warning signals and press on, thinking this time will be different.
You’ve probably heard that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
That about sums me up. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Burnout is real and is very common for college students who have a lot on their plate. It can be tempting to just muscle your way through it, especially when you feel like you have no other option.
But speaking from more experience than I’d like to have, that’s not the best way to go about it.
So, for both you and myself, I put together this Burnout Guide of how to avoid burnout, the warning signs, and how to recover.
How to avoid burnout
The best way to recover from burnout is obviously to not get burned out in the first place. Novel thought, right? What are the best ways to do that?
I know. Relaxing is a lot easier said than done. There’s a never-ending list of things to do, people to be with, problems to solve, and things to accomplish. But scheduling time to relax is just as important as scheduling time to study, go to work, or anything else in your busy life.
And “relaxing” doesn’t necessarily mean “veg in front of the TV” (in fact, that may not relax you at all). Take the time to think about what actually relaxes you—reading, painting, a bubble bath, playing a game, talking with a friend, going on a walk—and do that.
And don’t feel guilty about it! It’s okay to take time to recharge your batteries. You weren’t created to be “on” and producing all day, every day.
We all know we should eat well, but usually we think of it in terms of “I don’t want to get fat,” and not “I want to do what’s best for my brain, hormones, and emotions.” And while the old adage “you are what you eat” isn’t entirely true (I can already hear all the dad jokes about turning into a chicken when you eat a chicken), what you eat does impact more than your waistline.
Take your vitamins, eat your veggies, and slow down on the pizza. You’ll thank yourself later.
You know how you always feel better about a problem after sleeping on it? You just don’t think clearly when you’re tired. That’s why sleep is vitally important to preventing burnout.
And if you’re too busy to sleep, that’s a huge warning sign that you’re probably doing too much. Cut out some things and take care of yourself! Your body was created to need sleep.
Know what energizes you.
Not only do you need to know what relaxes you, you also need to know what energizes you. Make a list to consult when you need it. Otherwise you’ll spend hours letting Netflix autoplay do its thing and not actually feel better afterwards.
Do you feel like you can do anything after you go on a hike? Write that down! Does talking to your best friend/coach/accountability partner keep you going? Add it to the list. Are you inspired and excited about life when you have a canvas and paint at your fingertips? Put it on there.
Don’t get stuck in an “I don’t know what to do” rut. Have a go-to list that makes decision-making easier.
Tell-tale signs of burnout
Avoiding burnout is obviously the best. But if you’re a burnout junkie like me, you blew right past preventative because preventative is for wussies (or wise people, buuuuutt, we won’t let ourselves admit that) and you’re already in a burnout spiral. Burnout comes in many different ways, but here are some of the signs:
Lack of concentration
Lack of productivity
Loss of appetite
Loss of enjoyment
While I experience many of these in varying degrees, the biggest ones for me are forgetfulness, lack of concentration, pessimism, and lack of productivity. Those lead to feelings of failure and the need to try harder which causes me to circle further down in the burnout spiral. I know I’m not alone...
How to recover from burnout
“I’m definitely burned out. What I need to know is how to fix it. Like, yesterday!”
I hear ya.
I wish I could tell you to sleep 10 hours each night over the weekend, eat 4oz of brussel sprouts, go on a hike, and you’ll be well Monday morning. But unfortunately, it’s not a one-size-fits-all fix. And it’s not an overnight (or over-weekend) process.
But with some intentionality, you can get back to normal. (And once you do, refer to the above section about how to prevent it the next time. Don’t get caught in the insanity loop!) Here are some tips to get you started.
Look at your life. What is on your plate? What is stressing you out? Write it down. Just writing it out takes half the stress away simply because it’s not swirling in your head anymore and feels more manageable. Plus then you can take a good look at it (see next step).
Reduce stress. Look at your list. What can be eliminated? And before you say, “nothing! That’s why I’m sooooo stressssssed!!” actually take some time to consider what you can realistically change. Be honest with yourself. Get creative, delegate tasks, lower your standards for yourself a little bit, and purge your schedule.
Say no. This is hard to do. But it’s a necessary skill to learn and essential when it comes to recovering from burnout. Instead of instantly saying “yes” to every request that comes your way, get in the habit of saying “no.” A good rule of thumb: if it’s not a definite “yes,” it’s a definite “no.”
Give yourself a break. Literally. If you’re constantly rushing from one thing to the next, you’re booking yourself a little too tight. (If more than half of your meals have been skipped, eaten in the car, or consumed standing up, I’m talking to you.) Schedule time to take it slow, relax, or just stop and reflect.
Unplug. Close your laptop, shut off your phone, and power down your tablet. Take a break from all the things fighting for your attention and focus on one thing instead, even if it’s just for a 15 minutes. Your brain will thank you.
Socialize. Get out. Stop being so focused on productivity and just go out and have some fun for the sake of having fun. Spend time with friends and enjoy life.
Set start and stop times. Whether it’s school or a job, have set times that you work on those things and then stop. Don’t take work home with you or let your college classes creep into every aspect of your life. Set boundaries with your time (and location, if applicable) and then stick to them.
Accountability. Sometimes you just need those friends who will come alongside you and help. The ones who will ask you the hard questions about what you’re doing and if you’re taking care of yourself. I have four close friends who are awesome at calling me out and making sure I’m doing what I should. They’re invaluable to me.
Burnout doesn’t have to be a constant cycle. With some intentionality and awareness, you can prevent it and thrive in school, work, and life.
Have you ever been burned out? How did you recover?
Earning a college degree is a great way to improve your job prospects. In fact, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that an advanced level of education can lead to higher wages and lowered unemployment rates. Depending on your career aspirations, you can choose from six different college degrees.
(Usually 60 credit units)
These degrees usually contain a lot of general education classes, like college math, English, and economics. This is the basic degree that’s most commonly offered at community colleges and that historically takes two years to complete.
(Usually 120 credit units)
These degrees are considered the standard college degree and usually take four years to complete at the rate of 15 credits per semester. The first half of the degree usually overlaps with common associate degree courses, called general education electives. Bachelor’s degrees also include more major-related classes and 6 to 27 hours of free electives.
Under the main bachelor’s degree category, you have several two-letter codes (sometimes followed by a specialization) that tell you the degree’s specialty. Here are a few common ones:
BA — Bachelor of Arts
BS — Bachelor of Science
BSBA — Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (or BBA, Bachelor of Business Administration)
BE — Bachelor of Engineering
(Usually 30–50 credit units)
Also called a graduate degree, this degree is the next step after a bachelor’s degree. Since a master’s degree is usually more specialized, you can’t get a master’s degree unless you first have a bachelor’s degree. Thus if you have a bachelor’s degree in business, your master’s degree would be in a more detailed topic, like accounting, taxation, or business administration.
The original idea was that people would earn more and more honors as they got more focused and specialized in one area of study. All master’s degrees conveniently start with M. The most common are MBA, MA, MS, and MFA.
(Usually 60 credit units)
PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy. Almost all schools require a completed master’s degree before you can start a PhD. A PhD. means you have conducted significant original research on a certain topic and have written something academic on it (called a dissertation or thesis).
Before a doctoral degree is awarded, there is usually a review by a group of doctoral peers. In many fields, the PhD is considered a “terminal degree.” That means it’s the end of the academic line, and you can’t get any more training in that field beyond a PhD. A few fields have lower terminal degrees; in law, a Juris Doctor is a terminal degree, and there usually is no PhD.
(Usually 60–120 credit units)
A professional degree is designed to prepare bachelor’s degree holders for work in a specific field. Professional degrees are offered for various industries, such as architecture, landscape architecture, chiropractic, dentistry, engineering, law, pharmacy, medicine, veterinary medicine, and education. Upon completion of the program, graduates are often eligible to pursue accreditations or sit for licensing exams in their fields. Examples of professional degree licenses include medical licenses, law licenses, and pilot’s licenses.
(Usually 120 or more credit units)
Joint degree programs (sometimes referred to as a double major) are designed for students interested in graduating with two college diplomas. Coursework for both majors is taken simultaneously, which allows graduates to complete both degrees at the same time, as opposed to one after the other. Students who choose a joint degree often take 40 general education credits, 40 credits for their first major, and 40 credits for their second major; however, each institution has its own credit hour requirements. If you’re considering a joint degree, be sure to ask your college adviser about the specific requirements for your school.
Choose a Degree That Fits Your Career Path
Each college has subtle differences, particularly with bachelor’s degrees and their requirements. Colleges also have different accreditation policies, depending on what system a school uses. Higher education has also changed a lot in the past few years, so take some time to learn how recent college changes impact your education.