Mariel Moore

  • What Jobs Can I Get with a Criminal Justice Degree?


    What Jobs Can I Get with a Criminal Justice Degree?

    You’re thinking about majoring in Criminal Justice. Many students pursuing criminal justice degrees are already in the field. They could be public safety officers, police force staff, civilian employees with the government, or other similar fields.  Often, these students decide to get a criminal justice degree because they love their jobs but realize that they could get further with a degree in criminal justice.

    But, even if you aren’t already in the field, a degree in criminal justice or a similar sub-specialty is a great move. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many jobs in criminal justice fields are expected to grow in the next 10 years.

    What exactly are those jobs?

    The types of jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree primarily focus on areas of law or law enforcement and the justice system. Some areas of focus for criminal justice majors are:

    • Law enforcement

    • Corrections

    • Pre-law or court professional

    • Social work

    • Criminology

    • Criminal & forensic psychology

    • Police science

    Obviously, there are other paths towards the career areas listed above. It ultimately depends on your strengths and your opportunities if you want to pursue criminal justice or a similar major. Criminal justice can be a wonderful way to get a broad base of skills that could transfer into all sorts of areas like the ones listed above. So, it’s a great choice if you are not 100 percent sure where your career will take you. It’s also a great choice for law enforcement administration (and often required to advance in that career field).

    Let’s look at some of the job areas of expertise and their degree requirements in more detail.

    Law Enforcement Administration

    For many entry-level jobs in law enforcement, a high school education is all you need. However, law enforcement agencies prefer candidates with an associate degree or higher. And, to advance to the administrative level, a degree is often required. Many police or law enforcement organizations prefer candidates for their management or administrative functions to have a deeper and broader understanding of criminal justice. A criminal justice degree can prepare current law enforcement personnel with tools for leadership plus an understanding of how policework fits within the broader society and within the justice system.

    Corrections Officer

    Similar to those who serve in law enforcement, many entry-level corrections officers are hired with a high school education. However, a correctional officer wanting to advance in their career or work in a federal penitentiary will often need a college education. There are schools that provide a sub-specialty of criminal justice just for those looking to serve in correctional institutions.

    Pre-Law or Court Professional

    There are many majors that can be helpful for those planning to go on to law school, and surprisingly, many law schools don’t favor particular undergraduate majors. Majors specifically labeled as pre-law aren’t offered everywhere and while they are designed to provide a mix of subjects that could provide a solid foundation for future law school studies, they certainly aren’t the only way to go. According to U.S. News & World Report, “There are other concentrations that can provide a solid foundation for legal education.”

    Some other pre-law pathways may be more suitable depending on your end goal. For example, someone specializing in tax law may choose to do an undergraduate degree in finance and someone specializing in medical malpractice may take a more medical-friendly route towards their law degree. There is no one perfect path and there is flexibility in the end outcome for those who decide to pursue law or careers within the justice system.

    For those pursuing other aspects of the legal system (besides pre-law) there is a diverse set of careers available. From paralegals who help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings to pre-trial and trial services like interpreters and other support services.

    Social Work

    There are many kinds of social workers and so there are also a few degree options that work for social work. Criminal justice may be a good fit if one plans to go into social work within some aspect of the legal or justice system. Within criminal justice, future social workers will find lots of opportunities like working with victims (forensic social work), working with those within the justice system or incarcerated individuals, case management, home visits, life skills or coping strategies for individuals at elevated risk of committing crimes or offenses. Social workers within these and other systems often deal heavily with the court systems so a working knowledge of criminal justice can be an advantage in this area.


    Criminology takes a more sociological approach to criminal justice. Sometimes criminology degrees fall under sociology, but they can also often fall under criminal justice. According to The Balance Careers, “Even though it may not hold the same glamour and excitement of other jobs in criminal justice, a career as a criminologist is no less important. In fact, for those of an academic mind, it may present the best opportunity to contribute to the prevention and treatment of crime.”

    A criminologist takes a more holistic view of crime in much the same way that an epidemiologist takes a 1,000 view of disease. They look at things like demographics and trends that may be tied to increases in crime and they look for ways to reduce crime before it happens by improving access to things like afterschool care for troubled youth or drug treatment programs in areas where drug abuse leads to higher levels of crime. An important aspect of criminology is also the ability to collaborate with communities and law enforcement, so criminologists need to be able to take in and digest multiple (potentially opposing) viewpoints.

    Many criminologists pursue advanced degrees, most often a master’s degree or higher. Job roles for criminologists often include working for state, local or federal government entities to pursue their work.

    Criminal & Forensic Psychology

    Made popular by TV shows like Mindhunter and Criminal Minds, criminal psychology is a branch of psychology specifically devoted to studying the minds of criminals. Many criminal psychologists start out with an undergraduate degree in psychology or forensic psychology, but criminal justice can also be a gateway to this professional path.

    Criminal psychologists often pursue advanced degrees, and you must have a doctorate to be a licensed psychologist in many states. Similar to criminology, many criminal psychologists work for government-run institutions like prison systems or psychiatric hospitals. Another option for criminal psychology majors is to work in an academic setting as a researcher.

    Forensic psychology is closely related to criminal psychology but can include services for a wider array of groups, including victims of crime, witnesses, attorneys, and law enforcement.

    Police Science

    Police science is an umbrella term referring to any science related to the investigation of crimes or the prosecution of criminals. So, police science includes the previously discussed criminal psychology, forensic psychology, criminology, and it can include other sciences when performed in relation to police work.

    An Evolving Field

    While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it should give you a general idea of the wide array of careers available for criminal justice majors. Criminal justice is an ever-evolving field and there are new ways to utilize these skills all the time. For instance, criminology is a relatively new field that was only recently identified as a subspecialty dealing with both criminal justice and sociology. Criminal justice is a great choice if you know you want to work in the field but don’t have a set idea yet of where you want to go. It provides a good general education in many areas related to police work, the study of criminals and criminal behavior and the justice system. Plus, starting out in a broader target major is a great way to gain exposure and experience with all these areas, which should help you narrow down your focus as you go. Good luck!

    Did you know that Pearson Accelerated Pathways can help you down the path to a criminal justice degree? Find out how we can help you get started on your educational journey and learn more about our degree planning tools by speaking with our academic advising team.

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  • 6 Tips for Back-to-School Success from an Academic Success Coach


    6 Tips for Back-to-School Success from an Academic Success Coach

    Many students are experiencing burnout. It’s a common-enough situation in the best of times. But right now, students are struggling extra hard to stay focused on school and on their ultimate goals. If you’re looking for tips to help you stay focused and achieve back-to-school success, you’re in the right place.

    I sat down with our Success Coach Manager, Peter Marshall, to chat about trends he’s seeing with students. “I think we’re just starting to see the effects of Delta. There is this underlying fear with students right now,” explains Marshall.

    When so much is in flux, like it has been with the pandemic the past several years, it can be difficult to buckle down and do what needs to be done for your education. The good news is that Marshall has some excellent tips to help students get back on track (and stay on track) even through difficult times.

    1. Practice Good Time Management

    Marshall explains that protecting your study time is crucial to going back to school. This is particularly true for working students that may have many other competing priorities. “It all starts on Mondays,” says Marshall. “You’ll see this trick a lot with personal trainers too. If you want to really stick with something and make it a priority you should always make time for it early in the week.” The adage, “Never miss a Monday” applies to your schoolwork and not just your weight training sessions. Set aside some time early in the week to get started on your schoolwork. It will set the tone for the rest of your week.

    2. Make a Place for School

    A good study area is more helpful than you know. Just like having a dedicated fitness area (at a gym or at home) improves your likelihood of sticking to your exercise habit, having a dedicated spot in your home for studying improves your chances of getting study time in regularly and sets you up for success. A study space also gives you a place where you know you can focus on school and get into a routine – i.e., “When I sit down at this desk I study.” According to our partner school, Maryville University, “A study space can be a home office, attic nook, kitchen table, or – for those who have limited living space – an area in a bedroom or living room. Creating a dedicated space may be an ideal choice if you are easily distracted and have a hard time focusing amid other distractions, such as the television, smartphone notifications, and social media accounts." Marshall gives these tips for designing the right study space, “It is better to create a space that is not in a high traffic area where kids are running around, or your roommates are binging Netflix. It’s also good to keep all your materials you need in this space.”  You can think of this space as always ready for study time. You can store your books here when you are not in class, you can attend virtual classes here, and you can make sure you always have a pack of pencils here.

    3. Give Yourself a Quick Win

    Marshall often coaches older students who can be daunted by the thought of going back to school. “Giving these students a quick win to show them they can make progress can be a real game changer in the beginning,” says Marshall. Marshall recommends starting with a simple class. New students with Accelerated Pathways receive a complimentary StudySMART course that many students enjoy because it eases them back into school. StudySMART and an additional course called Student Success are available to students through Accelerated Pathways. Both provide valuable information for all students but especially those who may have been away from school for a while or students who need an extra boost to get going strong. Again, using the analogy of exercise, many personal trainers will start with a quick easy workout the first time. The point is not to burn 1,000 calories or lift enormous weights in your first session. The point is to show new exercisers that it can be done. That they can ease into a new way of life. The same goes for returning to school.

    4. Break It Down

    When confronted with a big, audacious goal, it must be broken down into easy actionable steps. Many top business leaders (and leaders in general) live by this philosophy. Taken even further, to achieve big things, start by thinking small. For example, if you want to go back to school, start with a goal of talking to an admissions counselor. Breaking down your big goals into small manageable chunks gives you a place to start. It also de-stresses the situation. Big goals tend to be paralyzing. It’s like you’re confronted with too many possibilities. By creating small actionable steps, you remove the paralyzing force and give yourself the push you need to move forward with more confidence.

    5. Take Breaks

    Research shows that taking purposeful breaks when doing schoolwork can improve your ability study. Marshall recommends the Pomodoro method to his students. “Every 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break,” he says. While the Pomodoro method calls for a very specific schedule of work to break time, you can find a rhythm that works for you. Maybe studying for an hour is more feasible for you. Great! You may want to consider increasing your break to 10 minutes to accommodate for that extra time. Many students find that having scheduled study breaks can keep them focused more reliably for their designated “study time.” Try it!

    6. Hit Your Milestones

    As you’re goal setting, don’t be afraid to really map out what both short- and long-term goals look like for your education. Give yourself some deadlines. Do you want to finish that bachelor’s degree you started in the next two years? Well, work backwards from that date and give yourself some milestones along the way. This can help you keep your sights not only on your short-term goals but on your long-term success too. Making your goals timebound is essential if you are a fan of the S.M.A.R.T. goals method, which helps people set very defined actionable goals and then gives themselves a deadline for achievement. We cover setting S.M.A.R.T. goals in this post on continuous learning. Setting milestones functions in much the same way.

    So, whether you are a high school student jumping straight to college courses or you are returning to school after quite some time away, these tips should help you hit the ground running. College isn’t easy and it does require a lot of self-discipline. But that’s where Accelerated Pathways comes in. Our coaches are trained to help students—no matter what stage of life they are currently in—stick to and achieve their goals. Reach out for more information on how Accelerated Pathways can help you overcome burnout and use these strategies and more to achieve your educational goals.

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  • College with a Disability or Chronic Condition


    College with a Disability or Chronic Condition

    Going to college when you deal with a chronic medical issue or other disability is stressful for many students. For students with underlying health issues, college during the COVID-19 pandemic is even more fraught.

    College Students with Disabilities are Common

    As many as 17% of young people may suffer from chronic conditions or other disabilities. When mixed with a viral outbreak (like COVID-19) those chronic health conditions become more serious. Those suffering from chronic conditions may be unable to be vaccinated or have suppressed immune systems that cause the vaccine to be less effective. The current CDC advice for immunocompromised patients is to remain vigilant (even when vaccinated) and take the same precautions as unvaccinated Americans against COVID-19. When trying to balance a health issue with higher education, it’s important to be kind to yourself. College is hard for healthy people and so it’s completely understandable to struggle if you’re balancing college with health issues.

    Look for Accommodations in Advance

    If this sounds like you, there are ways you can excel in college. If you choose an on-campus experience, be sure to investigate your healthcare options in advance. Find a healthcare provider you trust and get set up with them as a patient. Also, don’t be afraid to work with your school of choice to get the accommodations you need. If you have a documented illness that falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and you are attending a public or private school that receives federal funding, your school must “make their programs accessible to students with disabilities.” When you work with your school, ask if they may be able to offer you special housing, added time for tests or exams, priority registration, or other accommodations that fit your circumstances. To find out what accommodations your school can offer, contact their office for services for students with disabilities – most schools will have one.

    Online Programs Are a Good Option

    If you are struggling attending school on campus, then you could consider an online program to supplement or fulfill your degree requirements. Not only is online a good choice for many medical needs, but it also gives you more flexibility to complete your degree. And because many classes are self-paced, you won’t miss anything if you’re out sick or need to see a doctor.

    Accelerated Pathways offers online programs, and we work with students that may struggle to attend classes in person for a variety of reasons. Our programs offer cost savings for college courses that are guaranteed to transfer to thousands of degree programs nationwide. Our academic coaches work with you to discover how you can complete your classwork in a remote setting that fits your lifestyle.

    Peter Marshall, Academic Success Coach Manager for Accelerated Pathways, works with multiple students that have started online programs to get their college degree because of disabilities. He reports that many of them are happy with their remote learning options. “I recently coached a student with impaired vision that had trouble seeing the board in a traditional classroom setting,” says Marshall. “This student went from struggling to see the board to excelling in school through our online programs.”

    The Key is Self-Care

    Most importantly, take care of yourself. Don’t let all your self-care routines fall by the wayside when you get caught up in college life. Make time for wellness visits and doctors' appointments. Listen to your body and let your healthcare provider know early if you feel like you might be struggling physically or mentally in your new environment. According to Dr. Amy S. Paller in Teen Vogue, “Make sure you put your health care needs on the calendar. You’ll be incredibly busy, but don’t neglect your daily responsibilities related to health, and say ‘no’ if needed to make sure you get enough sleep.” Going to college either in person or online can be a rite of passage for many students. Whatever your pathway towards a degree, by managing your chronic condition, you can set yourself up for success.

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  • Taking a Covid Gap Year? Don't Fall Too Far Behind


    Taking a Covid Gap Year? Don't Fall Too Far Behind

    As many schools moved to fully-remote learning last year, students saw their dreams of the college experience disintegrate. According to CNBC’s College Voices series, “Many students could no longer afford to enroll. Others didn’t want a diminished college experience as coronavirus forced most universities online and internships, jobs, and study abroad opportunities were canceled. Others were simply burned out from the stress of the pandemic.”

    Thus, it’s no surprise that many students chose to step away from school last fall and take a gap year instead. Other students were forced to scrap the idea of college altogether. In fact, college and postsecondary enrollments dropped in 2020 and community colleges were hit especially hard as the most vulnerable college students were forced to make difficult family and life decisions. 

    Now, as we drive towards fall 2021, students are still struggling with decisions around college and to reconcile their “lost year” and its effects on their future.

    For some people, their gap year is ending, and they have decided to enroll or reenroll in school. They may be having a tough time deciding about college while there are still uncertainties. Still others have been hit so hard by the pandemic that maybe college doesn’t seem like a realistic choice for them anymore.

    If you’re struggling to make decisions about college, you have choices. Don’t just dismiss your college education outright. Read on to find out more about some of the options available based on your circumstances. Whether you are considering taking time off, pursuing a gap year or a leave of absence, or you are thinking about returning to school after some time away, you should keep the following in mind.

    Taking a Break for Mental Health Reasons

    Your mental health must be your priority. If you're contemplating some time away from school or you've already taken time away, don't feel discouraged. You certainly aren't alone. Psychologist Adam Grant recently described the doldrums that many have been feeling during the pandemic...it’s called “languishing.” And that’s not to minimize the mental health crisis that COVID has only exacerbated for others during the pandemic.

    According to Mental Health America, “...colleges understand that other things may come up for students, there are procedures that allow them time away when needed. In terms of Leaves related to mental health, schools have different policies and procedures depending on circumstances.” The important thing to note is that many students that take time off to deal with mental health related care report that the time was useful and helpful when looking at the long term.

    If possible, work with your school or university. It’s in their best interest for you to succeed and graduate so they have a personal stake in you. In addition to that, you have rights! Documented mental health issues can qualify you for “reasonable accommodations” related to your illness. These accommodations are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Talk to your college or university to learn more and to find out what accommodations your school provides. 

    Taking a Gap Year, a Leave of Absence, or Deferring Your Enrollment

    If you want to take some time to explore before (or even during) college, you aren’t alone. As many as 40% of students last year opted to take a gap year, a much higher number than normal due to COVID-19. If you aren't sure what you want to study or need a little time to explore your interests prior to jumping into higher education, taking a gap year might be a solution.  

    A gap year can yield positive results, if done right. On average, students that took a gap year had shorter times to graduate and higher grades than national averages. So, a gap year can help you set yourself up for success by allowing you to make important decisions about your future and helping you gain focus and perspective it’s hard to get just launching straight from high school into college.

    The caveat to all these benefits for gap year students is to be sure you set guidelines on your leave, so your gap year doesn’t turn into a gap decade! And keep in mind that taking time out of school can reduce your earning years, so make sure it’s the right decision for you.

    So, how to maximize your gap year benefits and minimize the downfalls? Keep these guidelines in mind as you plan your gap year: 

    Guideline 1: Have a Re-entry Plan

    Have you already been admitted to a college? Be sure to understand your college or university's policy around deferring or taking a leave of absence. While some schools have openly encouraged (see Harvard) students to defer their education, others have responded to the pandemic by tightening up their rules around deferments...so just be sure you know where YOUR school falls on that spectrum and have a plan to deal with it upon your return.

    Edgar Lopez, a PhD candidate in Urban Education quoted in CNBC.com explains, “Research has shown for Latinx students in particular, the longer they take gap years, the less likely they are going to return back to campus.” So, having a plan to come back and setting some boundaries on the front-side of a leave of absence is essential. 

    Guideline 2: Set Some Boundaries

    Don’t just spend your gap year huddled up watching reruns of Real Housewives in your parents’ basement. Get a plan in place to maximize your time away from school and have a goal of when you want to return. This doesn’t mean every second of your year/semester/whatever has to be planned out, but it helps to have a few things lined up. Line up a volunteer gig or an internship to focus your time and energy while you are away. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to see the Pacific Ocean. Now’s your chance to plan that epic road trip. Now is a chance to mark off a bucket list item or do some soul searching. 

    Guideline 3: Uncover Your Passions

    This is what a gap year is all about. It’s a chance to explore what you are passionate about and maybe gain some real-world experience at the same time. While your high school (and much of your college) education is theoretical knowledge, a gap year is a chance to gain some real-world experience. And the best way to maximize your investment (because a gap year IS an investment of time and a deferment of your income-earning years) is to discover whether what you think you might be a good fit for is going to be a good fit in the real world. For example, have you ever heard of a student that spends time and money on pre-law and then law school only to discover they hate being a lawyer? If they’d taken some time to intern at a law firm prior or interviewed lawyers in their field of interest prior to earning that expensive degree, maybe they'd have realized it wasn't a good fit after all.

    So, when used wisely, a gap year can actually save you time and money discovering what might or might not be a good career for your future self. It’s like a little glimpse into your proposed future. 

    If you’re considering taking some time off from your education, you can use tools like Pearson Accelerated Pathways to continue your progress. Our advisors are available and can walk students through a plan to get online college credit during their gap year (even if it’s just one course at a time). When you speak with our experts, they can build you a plan that includes college credit that can be earned from anywhere and is guaranteed to transfer into your current degree program. Find out if you are a good fit so you can continue to make progress towards your degree while you’re away from school. 

    Leaving School

    Has the pandemic (or other financial or life stressors) forced you to drop out? Maybe your gap year has (either intentionally or unintentionally) morphed into an extended leave of absence or an exodus from higher education. If you ended up taking an extended amount of time off from school, you can get back into the swing of things.

    Programs like Accelerated Pathways allow students with full-time jobs or those who are taking time off to travel a way to pursue higher education at their own pace. Our advisors speak to students like you to develop individual plans that allow you to pick a path towards education that fits your life and your goals. And our advisors can map degree plans to thousands of colleges and areas of study in the United States.

    So, if you are struggling to get back into school after taking a COVID-related (or any!) leave of absence, it might be worth a look at programs like Pearson Accelerated Pathways where you can gradually ease your way back into school and you don’t have to give up your job, your family, your travels, or your life. 

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  • How to Adopt a Mindset of Continuous Learning


    How to Adopt a Mindset of Continuous Learning

    According to Inside Higher Ed, “’State of the art’ is changing month by month in many fields. Not only are technologies changing, but applications are proliferating, industries are emerging, new consumer markets are sprouting and the road map for the future is clear only for the near term.” 

    That’s why upskilling, continuing education, and other forms of lifelong learning are so important. With the way technology is advancing, you can’t graduate high school or college and expect to stay current on everything you need to know for your future career.

    Pierre Vandergheynst and Isabelle Voneche in an article for Aeon (and republished by Fast Company) posit the idea that universities and other institutions should invest in the new realities of lifelong learning by subsidizing or at least aiding the workforce with reskilling, upskilling or continuing education. “Universities must realize that learning in your 20s won’t be enough. If technological diffusion and implementation develop faster, workers will have to constantly refresh their skills,” Vandergheynst and Voneche argue.

    In my role in marketing, I am constantly pursuing new avenues to do my job better. From watching informational videos on social media strategy to earning a certification from Google, I am often exploring new things for my job. So, how do you learn to embrace a way of life where learning happens continuously through school, your career, and beyond. There are several strategies to embrace a continuous learning mindset. Here are my top 5:

    1. Don’t be afraid of a challenge. This is probably THE most important tip I can give. Nothing encourages you to learn a new skill like tackling a new challenge or taking on a project with skills you don’t already have in your toolbelt. So many of us shy away from projects involving new skills but if you keep an open mind and you have a supportive team, then you can accomplish new things! If you work in an industry that’s stagnant and you want a reason to adopt new skills, consider volunteering or taking a freelance gig that will introduce you to learning opportunities. Or use your continuing education mindset to learn a new skill or hobby.  Part of the reason this works so well is that it forces you to commit to a new skill to accomplish your goals. Just be sure to choose skills that align with your current knowledge level. For example, it may not be wise to don’t to learning a programming language if you haven’t yet mastered replying to email. Otherwise, you might be setting yourself up for failure. 

    2. Stay focused. According to John Boitnott for Inc.com, “The human brain possesses amazing computing abilities, but, like all processors, it can only do so much. To maximize learning time, prioritize what goals you have in learning and knock those out first before moving on to others. I have found this to be true in my own life. When learning a new skill, it helps to maintain an extended focus on that skill as much as possible. It gives your brain the time and energy to adopt that skill more fully so your better able to incorporate it into future projects. In other words, you’ll have a long-term skill you retain rather than just a skill you perform for the project at hand and then forget it for the future.

    3. Make a SMART Plan. You have probably heard various theories around goal setting and achievement. There’s so much information floating around because it’s universally important no matter where you are or where you want to go in life. Achieving goals around your education are no different. To make it a priority, it’s best to establish it as a goal and make a concreate plan to Get. It. Done. When dealing with larger, more unwieldy or ambiguous goals like “continue my education” it can be helpful to use SMART goal setting techniques to quantify and map out your goals. Here’s how it works:

      1. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound. It’s a well-established system for goal setting in a clear and actionable way. First, you need to make your educational goal Specific. According to Kat Boogaard for software company, Atlassian’s blog. “A specific goal answers questions like: What objective needs to be accomplished?” When thinking through your specific goal, it’s best to work through the details so you can be specific enough to really get a handle on your goal.

      2. Next, make sure your goal is Measurable. That means it must be something that can be quantified. If you’re going for a certification, that’s easy. Earning the certification is a way to measure whether you’ve achieved your goal. If your goal is something around learning management skills it could be a little more difficult to quantify. But, maybe there is a management course you could take or a certain number of management books you could read. Think of a way you can make your goal measurable so you can easily chart your progress towards completion.

      3. Achievable. “This is the point in the process when you give yourself a serious reality check,” says Boogaard. “Is the goal you’ve outlined attainable?” Don’t give yourself an impossible task or set yourself up for failure.

      4. Relevant. Be sure the goal you choose has real world implications. It’s best if you pick something that you can use or that helps you in your work or in your personal life. Those are the goals you’re most likely to stick with and achieve in the long run.

      5. Time bound. Give yourself a deadline. This works best if it’s an external deadline (which, of course, you’re more likely to stick to). But, if there really is no external deadline you can create, then create a self-imposed limit. It helps you to map out your time and give yourself some parameters to work within.  

    4. Regard it as an investment. An investment in continuing your education is an investment in yourself. Whether it’s a certificate, learning a new skill or getting a degree online, taking time to further your education is a wonderful way to gain confidence, learn new skills, further your career and just maybe make more money. So, regard education as the investment it is!  Are you looking to invest in college courses? Then Accelerated Pathways can help! Learn more about how we supply personal degree pathways and student advising for online college.

    5. Reward Yourself. Taking the time to learn something new, while rewarding in its own right, still requires a level of dedication that isn’t always present in our day-to-day life. So, celebrate little milestones and small wins along the way. Go for pizza, take an afternoon at the pool, or do something else to reward yourself for a job well done. Try to program time to reward yourself for that 5-hour study session. Or take a day off family or work obligations after a certification course. You deserve to celebrate the big wins and the little wins too! 

    A mindset of continuous learning is growing essential to staying ahead in many industries. By adopting these practices, you can learn new skills, keep your brain sharp, and set yourself up for future success.

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  • 5 Ways to Get Ahead While Waitlisted for College


    5 Ways to Get Ahead While Waitlisted for College

    We recently reported on the waitlist dilemma this year with waitlists growing for some colleges and universities while other schools struggle to get enrollments. You can read more about the waitlist dilemma colleges are facing in part 1 of this blog series.

    Now, in part 2, we’re going to pivot to address students that have found themselves in the middle of their own waitlist dilemma.

    Have you been waitlisted?  

    Maybe you were on a waitlist, but you decided to forego college in the fall and try again later or you decided ultimately to attend another school. If that describes your situation, some of these tips may help you while you wait or at least reframe your situation.

    It’s understandable to be confused or even depressed when you’ve been waitlisted for a school you really hoped to attend. College is supposed to be the best time of your life and you may have had a certain vision for how you thought you’d start your college career. It can be crushing to have it start off with such an uncertain outcome for admissions. Don’t despair! Waitlisted doesn’t mean denied. And, you have a lot of options if you are waitlisted. Don’t let it derail you from achieving great things. You may just have to reframe your outlook slightly.

    In the meantime, review these tips below for ideas on how to get ahead in school, finances, and elsewhere while you’re waiting. 

    5 Tips for Waitlisted Students 

    1. Take a realistic look at your budget – If you haven’t already, think about how you’re going to pay for school. If you are accepted into your school of choice, is attending a real possibility for you and your budget? Unfortunately, for many schools, waitlisted students fall at the bottom of the pecking order for financial aid packages so you may find yourself scrambling to make ends meet. If budget is a concern, read more about affording college on a budget.

    2. Save, save, save – It can be frustrating to be in limbo, and you may just feel like letting off steam, but don’t forget to use this time to sock away money for college too. If you’ve decided to take time off to travel, consider taking a job that will travel with you, like an au pair, or language teacher. Saving money on college isn’t just about putting money into a savings account, though. It can be about planning out your major and courses to save time and money on your degree path in the long run. Think about the total economics of a college degree and avoid wasting money on unnecessary credits by making sure you know what major you want and what classes you need to get there. Did you know that Pearson Accelerated Pathways provides students with a personalized college plan for their school of choice? This plan maps out every course needed to transfer into the school of your dreams and potentially graduate faster and for less money. Want to hear more about how it works? Talk to our team today!

    3. Let your school of choice know you’re serious – Many students apply to multiple schools and sit on multiple lists, waiting for their best offer. Let your school of choice know how serious you are by claiming your spot on the waitlist (if you haven’t already) and you can even email your admissions counselor to let them know how invested you are. “In the industry, this is known as “demonstrating interest,” explains Joanna Nesbit for Money.com. “Send an email to the admissions counselor in charge of your region expressing interest in attending if accepted and include any notable updates you didn’t already submit.” Ideally, you want to try to keep your school of choice updated with everything you have done and continue to do to stand out of the pack. You want them to remember you. According to Princeton Review, “Request an interview, even if you interviewed with the school already. Face time can make a difference. Use this opportunity to showcase your most recent accomplishments and to reiterate your commitment to attend the school if chosen.”

    4. Get ahead with online courses – Consider taking some courses online while you’re waiting for your dream school. Not only will you be earning college credits (that are less expensive) you also have the potential to do well in your classes and be able to provide that news back to your admissions counselor (see above tip). Pearson Accelerated Pathways would be an ideal choice to earn credits towards your dream school because we can build a college plan that includes credits that are guaranteed to transfer into your college and major of choice. Plus, online courses provide the flexibility you need to work or play during your gap year or while you’re waitlisted.  

    5. Stay positive – Remember, even being waitlisted for your dream school is an accomplishment. Odds are that many applicants didn’t make it this far. And, if you don’t end up going to your dream school now, you can always start somewhere else. Try to see the positives about attending a different school or taking those online courses mentioned above. Maybe you can save some money and try again as a transfer student. You could even get to your alternate school and fall in love with it. Life is so crazy and unexpected that way. So, if you’re waitlisted keep your chin up and think positively!  

    Maybe it’s a blessing...not a curse 

    Hopefully these tips will help you see your situation in a new light. In time, you just might come to find that being on a waitlist allowed you to see things in a new way, to be more dynamic and flexible. I speak from experience when I say, having a dynamic and flexible outlook on life is probably going to benefit you in the long run...so learning how to pivot and evolve earlier rather than later in your life is a blessing. 

    If you do decide to pursue some college credit, take a look at Pearson Accelerated Pathways with easy-to-transfer credit options for your school of choice. Find out if we can work to get you the courses you need to get started on your degree today

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  • The Waitlist Dilemma: Part 1


    The Waitlist Dilemma: Part 1

    This is the first in a two-part series on waitlisted students. Be sure to check out our part 2 post with actionable steps for students that have been waitlisted for college.

    Earlier this year, Art & Science Group, a college admissions consulting firm, found that 20% of students surveyed were on a waiting list for college. If that number seems high, you’re not wrong. But why, amongst all these reports of the declining rates of college enrollments are we seeing an increase in waitlisted students? There are several reasons: 

    Increased Applications for Some Schools 

    Many top colleges and universities have recently announced they are going “test optional” for their admissions process (that is, not requiring ACT or SAT scores as a part of their applications). In fact, all Ivy League schools - Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Barnard, Dartmouth, UPenn and Cornell - report they will be test optional for Fall 2022 admissions.

    The reasons behind this movement towards test-optional admissions are varied and complex. Some schools are seeking a more diverse student body, and many academic institutions cite grades as the primary indicator of future academic success. According to analysis of NACAC’s survey of college admissions officers by IvyWise, “the most important factor in admission decision is grades – colleges know that how a student performs day-in and day-out in the classroom is much more important than how they do on one day on one three-hour test.”

    This movement away from test scores has encouraged many candidates to submit applications to prestigious schools where they are more likely to end up waitlisted. According to the Art & Science Group report, “...it seems possible that substantial interest in enrolling at a waitlisting institution is at least in part a ‘reach’ effect. In other words, as more students apply to schools they would normally consider out of reach, more are likely to find themselves on waitlists at their dream schools and consequently more than usually inclined to be willing to make a change if they have the chance.”

    So, while established and prestigious schools may have an excess of hopeful candidates sitting on their waitlists, community colleges and other schools already hard hit by the pandemic are dealing with ever dwindling enrollments.

    A Huge Disparity 

    “While the top universities appear to have significant demand going into the home stretch for fall 2021, institutions in tiers immediately below may face greater uncertainty in the face of a pandemic that remains unpredictable in its impact on college campuses...If schools higher in the pecking order admit substantial numbers of students from their waitlists, schools further down could be more adversely affected” (Art & Science Group). 

    So top schools, with more enrollments than ever, are maintaining large waitlists and more students are willing to sit around on the waitlist in the hopes that they can make it into their coveted dream school. Many students see only the possibility of attending a dream school even if their test scores previously wouldn’t allow it. And, in these strange times, we’re all perhaps a little more likely to go out on a limb to achieve our dreams. We’ve already been through so much turmoil, sitting on a college waitlist probably seems a minor inconvenience for most college hopefuls these days. 

    According to Joanna Nesbit for Money.com, “This year’s admission season was wilder than most. While less competitive private colleges and regional public universities are still struggling to attract enough students, many brand-name colleges saw soaring application numbers, driven in part by a near universal shift to test-optional policies and a surge from international students who sat out last year. Colgate University, for example, saw applications more than double, from 8,000 to 17,000, while the University of California Berkeley fielded 112,821 applications — a 28% increase — for 6,000 spots.”

    Are you waitlisted? You might think about getting a job or living rent free at home while you’re waiting on a college decision. Maybe you decided to take a gap year and go for a dream school next year. Whatever you’ve decided, if you’re waitlisted or waiting a year, we’ve got some tips to help you navigate your time wisely.

    If you want to read more about being waitlisted for college, check out our next post in this series with steps you can take to get ahead if you've been waitlisted.

    Want to learn more about Accelerated Pathways? We can help students get a head start on college with easy online courses that transfer into the college and degree of your choice. Learn more about how we're changing the college experience today.

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  • When and How to Declare Your Major


    When and How to Declare Your Major

    Moving from high school to college can be intimidating, even if you’ve built up your college credit through dual enrollment or AP courses, deciding to declare your major can still invoke anxiety in many college students. The good news is that most students entering college or early in their college careers have time to figure out a major.

    When you'll declare your major

    Generally, college students do not need to pick a major until they have completed quite a bit of general education (to make your bachelor’s degree more well-rounded) credits. Usually these more low-level general credits make up around 60 of the ninety credits in a bachelor’s degree. However, if you end up choosing to declare a very specific major (like pre-med or a more technical field) you may need more specialized credits than say an English major.

    If you want to see the types of general education courses that fit into many different majors, be sure to check out this previous post from our team on the credit breakdown of a bachelor’s degree.  And, if you get to the end of your general education courses and you still don’t have an idea of what you want to do, then, there are some general majors that lend themselves to lots of different career paths. It might be a good idea to pick one of those. Many (maybe even most!) students do just that.

    Take a logical approach to declare your major

    According to Cairn University, “Many freshmen enter college undeclared and even those who think they know what they want to study end up changing their minds.”  The experts at Cairn advise students to think about general areas they may want to pursue after college and try to choose an area of study that fits with those goals. For example, if you think you might want to do some sort of social work or have an interest in the human mind or human behavior, psychology might be a good general degree to pursue. And, if you really have no idea and you want some flexibility in your class choices, than a liberal arts/interdisciplinary studies degree could be your ticket to ride. 

    Accelerated Pathways is a great choice for those who are undecided. We offer personalized degree pathways that are guaranteed to transfer into your school and degree of choice and we have one-on-one academic advisors to help you understand your options. Learn about the most popular majors and take a step towards your degree by speaking with our student counselors.

    If you’re looking for the most popular majors across the United States that are a good general bet, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, they include things like: 

    • Business

    • Health professions

    • Social sciences/history

    • Psychology

    Finally, if you are still unsure, it’s always a good idea to look at what worked for you in high school. What subjects made you the most excited? What subjects came to you more easily? Those may lead you down a path towards an area where you can really make a difference in your life and perhaps the lives of others.

    To learn more about Pearson Accelerated Pathways or to book some time to speak with our higher education experts, reach out to us today

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  • Online College is More Important than Ever


    Online College is More Important than Ever

    College enrollment numbers fell in both fall 2020 and spring 2021. Community college numbers took the largest dip, down 11% spring 2021 according to recent data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

     It’s sobering news just as we’re contemplating our lives looking more normal. And, it has larger implications for long term success for marginalized communities. According to Mamie Voight, interim president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, “These drastic shifts in enrollment are the latest example of how the pandemic has derailed higher education plans for students across the country, and exposed and deepened inequities along racial and socioeconomic lines. The drop in community college enrollment in particular will largely be felt for generations.”

    Our own internal research shows a similar story. According to the 2020 Pearson Global Learners Survey, 74% of respondents feel that “fewer people will be able to afford a university education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Evidence suggests that the effects of COVID-19 on higher education could be lasting. with more than 80% of learners in the United States saying they think colleges and universities will be fundamentally different post pandemic.   According to Karin Cantrell, Research and Insights Lead within Pearson Online Learning Services (POLS) “There’s a lot to be on the lookout for as we monitor the seismic activity in the higher ed landscape. Low enrollment in community college is going to have a long-lasting impact on the level of skills and credentials in the workforce. While elite institutions will still appeal to a certain segment, others will be looking for different ways to become employable.”

    Opportunity for Learners through Online Programs

    It’s not all doom and gloom. Online learning has been picking up some of the slack in higher education and it appears to be here to stay. According to NACADA, “Online education is an integral part of higher education...and online enrollments have continued to grow at rates far in excess of the total higher education student population.”  This points to a future where online learning is even more prevalent with the vast majority of those surveyed (87%) saying that online learning at the university level not going anywhere.  Globally, 78% of those surveyed believe online learning will give people more access to a quality education. However, some experts caution that while providing low-cost opportunities for higher education, online learning can lead to inequalities amongst at-risk students for retention and overall performance.

    Looking for an online program that can help you succeed? Pearson Accelerated Pathways provides pathways to online education coupled with personalized degree planning and academic advising. It’s a combination of online courses and resources meant to reduce college costs and lead to success in online education. Learn more about our programs today! 

    While online learning isn’t going anywhere, we shouldn’t just embrace it without question. Online education requires a student to be driven and organized with their time. In order to help online students feel more connected and have a good experience, Drexel University’s Master of Science in Higher Education experimented with programs to personalize the online experience of their courses. Among their findings? “The role of an academic advisor is essential in creating a sense of community and connecting online students to the institution.”  

    If you’re looking for online programs for college, look for established online programs that provide well-rounded resources for students to excel in online environments. Drexel University’s research indicates that online students want programs that are personalized and where they can interact in ways that work for their schedule. “Technology allows academic advisors to reach out...and bring the campus to online students,” reports NACADA. 

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways was designed specifically for that purpose. Our online programs offer a unique blend of custom degree pathways designed specifically for each student’s goals and needs coupled with academic advising to ensure students are set up for success in online learning. To learn more about our programs, sign up for a free advising session today.

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  • What is college accreditation?


    What is college accreditation?

    If you’ve been doing any research into college, you may have heard how important it is to get a degree from an accredited academic institution. And, if you haven’t heard it, you need to hear it! Going to an accredited college is super important!

    Why? Accreditation is a mark that your degree is legitimate and has been awarded by a quality academic institution and not some fly-by-night diploma mill. So, if you want to be taken seriously by employers (and by your extended family), you should plan to get a degree from an accredited source.

    So, now that we’ve established it’s important. What is accreditation?

    In short, accreditation is a “seal of approval” from a third party, assuring a school offers an academically sound program. 

    While each school can be unique in requirements and teaching methods, accreditation strives to maintain a level of consistency in educational quality from school to school. In order to attain accreditation, schools must undergo a review process and meet a set of academic standards. 

    This is where I point out that Pearson Accelerated Pathways partners with more than 2,000 regionally accredited colleges and universities, so whatever path you choose, when you get a degree through Pearson Accelerated Pathways and our partner institutions, it'll be accredited.

    Why is Accreditation Important?

    We spoke with our Director, Central Registrar’s Office, Jared Brandau, to get the full story on why accreditation matters when you’re thinking about college. 

    “Every online student needs to know about accreditation. It can be a factor used to gauge the quality of the education you’ll receive from an institution. It’s also an important indicator of that institution’s overall health and longevity,” says Brandau.   There are three levels of accreditation: national, regional, and specialized and the most rigorous of the three is regional accreditation. 

    “Regional accreditation is the gold standard in that it takes the longest and involves the largest financial stake for a school to gain that accreditation,” says Brandau. “It doesn’t mean that nationally-accredited schools or programs aren’t academically rigorous necessarily. It just means they haven’t invested the time or resources into getting that regional accreditation.”

    Take time to Check Accreditation Standing Too

    Before making a college decision, don’t forget to investigate a school or program’s accreditation standing too. “Each school is required to publish their standing within their accrediting body and if they have been found noncompliant in any area,” explains Brandau. “Just because they are accredited doesn’t mean they are doing well or are in good standing.”

    The accreditation published reports delve into topics around an institution’s financial standing and their ability to keep accurate records. This can be important for smaller schools to remain financially solvent by proving they are able to balance their books. “By investigating before you commit to a school, you’ll be able to make sure your dream school isn’t in financial trouble,” adds Brandau.  All this might sound a little overdramatic, but it has real-world implications. In the early 2000s, ITT Tech was famous for their slick commercials and aggressive sales tactics. It was nationally accredited but it’s accreditation was revoked, and the for-profit school ultimately shut down. Some former ITT Tech employees have since spoken out about ITT Tech’s emphasis on profits over quality education. Checking a school’s standing with the accrediting body is a good way to make sure they aren’t on the verge of closing their doors or they aren’t engaged in any nefarious recruiting or other practices. In the end, it’s better to waste a little time doing your research than investing your time and money into a school on the brink of closure.

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways works mostly with regionally accredited schools because those are the most reliable, however, we can map to programs that are nationally accredited or even those that hold specialized accreditations, if that is a student’s wish. We’re all about tailoring an educational path that is going to be the best aligned to each students' goals.  Want to learn more about accreditation? Try these resources:

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  • Trends in Education: Fast Forward with Dual Enrollment


    Trends in Education: Fast Forward with Dual Enrollment

    It is no secret that Louisiana has long lagged in rankings of public education. Louisiana schools ranked 48 out of all 50 states by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. Still, the state has made strides in recent years to improve standings in some academic areas. According to Will Sentell in The Advocate, in 2018, the state reported an all-time peak in high school graduation rates (81%) and students pursuing dual enrollment (i.e., working towards college credit while in high school) more than doubled during the same period.

    Recent school performance gains have come from focused efforts to improve the basics, but now it seems the state is willing to add more innovative approaches to achieve success in education.

    Overcoming the Senior Slump

    Louisiana recently announced a new program aimed to help students take full advantage of their high school years, specifically that oft-ignored senior year.

    Many students - and I count myself in that number - spend their senior year doing the absolute bare minimum. Louisiana has a plan to reenergize seniors out of their "senior slump" by offering them the chance to earn their associate degree while still in high school.

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways allows high school students to get a head start on college courses at any time during high school. For students that are thinking about earning high school and college credit simultaneously, we could be a good fit.

    According to Louisiana Superintendent Cade Brumley, "We know that the entry point of work now is seldom the high school degree. The entry point of work also requires a credential, an apprenticeship, an associate degree or a professional degree."

    A Smart Solution

    According to The Advocate, "Louisiana has long had small numbers of students who take classes for both high school and college credit - dual enrollment."

    Louisiana school systems are smartly taking high school students that may be about to zone out on their educational journey and refocusing their attention on attainable dual enrollment. This gives students options to spend their final year of high school pursuing a simultaneous technical associate degree, an associate degree (which would allow them to start a 4-year college as a junior), or an apprenticeship to train directly for a career after school. With these types of programs, Louisiana has the potential to create a more able and trained workforce right out of high school.

    It's a bold plan, and one that could revolutionize education in Louisiana. But, this concept is not entirely new.

    Accelerated Pathways to Education

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways has been providing high schoolers with options to get a head start on higher education for more than 15 years. Accelerated Pathways student Alyssa wrote this post about what it's like pursuing a degree while in high school. Our program is backed by the most trusted name in education - Pearson - and we aim to accelerate education by giving students countless options to earn their degree. Find out more about how our program works and see if you might be a good fit.

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  • The Most Versatile Degrees for Students Who Want Freedom


    The Most Versatile Degrees for Students Who Want Freedom

    High school students often experience an array of conflicting emotions during their senior year. They're excited to graduate but nervous about writing college essays, taking standardized tests, and choosing the right college. Another factor that can be a source of both excitement and stress for prospective college students is choosing a major.

    If you're beginning to think about attending college but aren't sure what to major in, don't worry. You're not alone when it comes to being undecided about a major. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, one-third of college students change majors at least once, and one in 10 college students change their majors more than once.

    Students may think that the purpose of choosing a college major is to establish a strong foundation for a future career. While this is true, a variety of multi-faceted degrees can prepare college students for many types of careers. Students who pursue an online college education through a program such as Pearson Accelerated Pathways have the opportunity to choose from some of the most versatile degrees.

    Versatile Degree Options

    Committing to a major can be a stressful experience for many students. If you aren't entirely sure what you want to study in college because you aren't sure what career you'd like to eventually pursue, learning more about some of the most versatile degrees can offer some clarity. Earning a degree in one of the following fields gives students a solid academic foundation as well as the freedom to explore a variety of careers.


    Even if you don't necessarily want to start your own company or work in a business setting, earning a business degree can still be a wise decision. Business majors develop many skills that can be applied to a wide range of careers. Through courses and projects, students enhance their leadership competencies and learn the importance of collaboration. They discover how to apply critical thinking and analytical decision-making to everyday assignments. Strategically planning for the short term as well as the long term helps students gain a broader perspective of the world while also paying attention to small details.

    With a degree in business, students can pursue more traditional business roles, and with additional training, become accountants, management consultants, financial analysts, business teachers, healthcare administrators, and more. Other potential career paths for business majors include social media manager, business reporter, and corporate attorney.

    Criminal Justice

    You may have an idea in your head, based on your favorite TV crime dramas, of what a criminal justice career would be like. However, the criminal justice system is large and includes detecting crimes as well as prosecuting and sentencing criminals. Individuals who study criminal justice and criminology learn about the environments in which crimes occur. They study criminal psychology and seek to understand the benefits and drawbacks of broad issues, such as how the criminal justice system enforces laws and addresses inequities.

    If working in the criminal justice system interests you, consider becoming a police officer, loss prevention specialist, private investigator, forensic science technician, insurance fraud investigator, corrections officer, forensic psychologist, or jury consultant, among the many available options.

    Health and Life Sciences

    Health and life science programs offer some of the most versatile degrees for college students who are interested in the study of behavioral science as well as natural science.

    In a health science program, students take courses and complete laboratories to help them understand how health, nutrition, and exercise impact population health and public health. Potential careers include working as a community health worker, health educator, physical therapist, behavior analyst, diagnostic medical sonographer, mental health counselor, occupational therapist, or registered dietician.

    Examples of life science includes the study of biology, medicine, chemistry, agriculture, ecology, and microbiology. Like a health science degree, life science degree programs include both traditional courses and laboratories. With a degree in life science, students can pursue careers as biologists, chemists, biochemists, clinical research associates, biomedical scientists, biotechnologists, industrial pharmacists, or computational biologists.

    Social Sciences

    If you're less interested in studying the natural world and prefer learning about societies and the social interactions of human beings, you may want to consider a degree in a social science.

    Pursuing an education in this field allows students to gain a broader understanding of the world, history, economics, and politics. They also gain hands-on experience researching the cultures, languages, and behaviors of different peoples. Graduates with an online degree in social sciences may go on to become archaeologists, librarians, bank officers, urban planners, psychologists, lobbyists, and case workers.

    Information Technology and Information Systems

    As technology continues to rapidly advance and evolve, information technology and information systems degrees are clearly some of the most versatile degrees for professionals want to work in the field. The degrees themselves can even contain a variety of specialties.

    Information technology revolves around developing applications and databases, studying data security, designing video games and websites, and planning for data networking. Graduates often work as database analysts, application designers, software programmers, database administrators, video game designers, web developers, and database architects.

    Working in information systems can be similar to working in information technology. Information systems experts focus more on bridging the gap between people and technology, while information technology professionals design, create, navigate, and protect those systems. Many information systems graduates work in careers that help manage an organization's information, system, database, and network.

    Earning a Versatile Degree Might Be the Right Choice for You

    Whether you know exactly what you want to do professionally or are still undecided, enrolling in an online program might be the right choice for you. In a fully online program, students can choose from a wide variety of majors. They may develop a foundation in business practices or learn about cutting-edge scientific discoveries. Whether you choose to major in criminal justice, information technology, or any other area of study, an online degree can help you develop the foundational skills needed to succeed in your future career.

    Learn more about the most versatile degrees offered by Pearson Accelerated Pathways and how they can prepare for a rewarding career, whatever it may be.

    Like this post? Learn more with these additional topics:

    1. How to Find Online Classes While Social Distancing

    2. Is College The Best Way to Get an Education?

    3. What Every College Dropout Should Know

    Additional Source Material:

    Balance Careers, "Best Jobs for Graduates with a Business Degree" Balance Careers, "Social Science Careers" Balance Careers, "What Can You Do with a Criminology Degree?" Barron's, "The 10 Most Versatile College Majors in America for People Who Haven't Picked a Career" Biospace, "Why a Life Sciences Career Can Be Life-Changing" Consumer Reports, "A Surprising Way to Limit Your Student Debt"

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  • Online Degree vs. Traditional Degree: Which is Right For You?


    Online Degree vs. Traditional Degree: Which is Right For You?

    Attending college can be difficult when you’re juggling multiple commitments. Maybe you’re trying to earn your degree while supporting yourself financially. Perhaps you are homeschooling your children and only have time to take classes at night. Let’s be honest—submitting quizzes, exams, and essays on a tight deadline, while working full-time or even part-time, can be stress-inducing and aggravating. If you want to commit to earning your degree despite the uncertainties of this difficult time, here are some reasons why earning an online degree may be the right choice for you.

    Online Degree vs. Traditional Degree: What are the Differences?

    Maybe you are looking into an online degree program, or maybe you are weighing the long-term options of earning an online degree vs. traditional degree. While a traditional, on-campus degree can have its perks, an online degree can offer unique benefits for your short-term and long-term academic journey.

    Working at Your Own Pace

    When you attend a traditional college, you will either be on a quarter system or semester system. You have to take a certain number of courses within a specific time frame to graduate on time. However, when you decide to earn your degree fully online, you don’t have to be confined to the typical on-campus timelines.

    Pursuing an online degree through Pearson Accelerated Pathways allows you to set your own pace and work as quickly or as slowly as you want. If you have a slow week at work and want to focus entirely on studying, you can learn the content, take your quizzes, and complete your assignments. Earning an online degree in less time that it would take to earn a degree at a conventional four-year college can be appealing for many reasons. For instance, you may enjoy college, but want to start gaining professional experience in your career field of choice sooner than later. On the other hand, individuals who are already working full-time can take as long as they need to finish their online courses. They can enjoy the process of learning at their own pace, rather than rushing through courses while they are busy.

    Saving Money on Tuition

    Everyone knows that one of the biggest challenges of earning a college degree is the debt that comes with paying for tuition. Student loan debt in the U.S. has skyrocketed to $1.6 trillion in 2020, according to Forbes. Forty-five million college students have borrowed money and have to carry the burden of debt with them throughout their post-graduation adult lives. But there are options for students who want to earn a degree and avoid going into debt. You can save up to 36% of the cost of college by enrolling in an online degree program. Rather than paying tuition each semester and spending significant money on incidental university costs, you can just pay for each online course you take—whether you take one class or five. While the cost of one credit at a private university can be about $1,194, and a credit at an out-of-state university can cost about $796, one online credit can cost as little as $225. According to U.S. News and World Report, the average cost of yearly tuition at a typical private university is $35,087, while the average at a public out-of-state state college is about $21,184. Students can save even more money on tuition by earning a degree online. For full-time students pursuing a degree online through Accelerated Pathways, the yearly tuition is $6,750. Students can also choose the unlimited option, which allows them to take as many courses as they can in a year for $7,500.

    Online Learning Trends

    Some may think the benefits of an online degree compared to a traditional degree may be almost too good to be true. Let’s take a look at some trends and statistics about online learning. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals “In fall 2018, there were 6,932,074 students enrolled in any distance education courses at degree-granting postsecondary institutions.” As of 2018, 35.3% of all college students were participating in some form of distance learning, whether taking one online class or a few hybrid classes (classes that combine virtual and in-person teaching). In fact, 16% of all college students were taking classes fully online, with the amount of college students projected to increase by 2% between 2019 and 2029, according to the NCES. Seventy-eight percent of students believe their online education was worth the overall cost. This is according to a 2020 report by Aslanian Market Research and Wiley Education Services. The same study found “Thirty-eight percent of current students plan to take future online classes at their schools.” Trends and research data in both academia and society at large have shown online learning is not only growing, but thriving.

    Are you looking for an online degree program tailored to your unique needs? Pearson Accelerated Pathways might be the right choice for you. With degree programs and tailored coaching to get you the degree of your choice from the school of your dreams, Accelerated Pathways is an online program with benefits not found anywhere else.

    Dispelling Common Myths about Online Degrees

    Even though you may be considering making the choice between an online degree vs traditional degree, you may have a few concerns. Let’s take a look at some common myths about online degrees.

    Interacting with Professors and Peers

    Often, people may think there will be little social interaction with professors and peers when pursuing an online degree. However, higher education experts in an online degree program will be actively involved in your courses. While online learning can be a somewhat hands-off process, and you don’t need to adhere to the same schedule or attend lectures at a set time, facilitated courses help cultivate effective relationships between students and professors. Course facilitators are available for feedback through email, video calls, and other mediums. Their role is to offer any help you may need while undergoing your self-paced courses. If you prefer more structure and interaction with peers and instructors, you always have the option to enroll in term-based courses that begin on a monthly or quarterly basis. In these courses, you can study with a cohort of peers and have more personalized support from your professor. These types of courses may work best for you, or you may decide to have a balance of some self-paced courses and some more interactive term-based courses. The takeaway is this: When you are working toward earning your degree online, you can choose the level of interaction you have with your professors and peers.

    Preparing for a Career

    One of the main reasons you may be pursuing a college degree in the first place is to prepare for your future career. You may be concerned that a future employer won’t value an online degree as much as a “traditional” degree. However, most of the time, employers are more concerned with whether you have a degree at all, and not where you earned it. In many cases, unless you offer information about where you earned your degree, an employer won’t even ask. Employers are more interested in whether you have taken courses, earned an education, gained experience, and have prepared to do an effective job in the workplace. Even if your future employer wants to know if you earned an online degree vs. traditional degree, studies have shown that employers do, in fact, value online degrees. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “More than one-third of organizations (34%) reported that job candidates who have obtained their degrees online were viewed as favorably as job applicants with traditional degrees.” SHRM also found “79% of organizations indicated that they had hired a job applicant with an online degree in the last 12 months.” As long as you are enrolled in an accredited online program, your online degree is just as valuable as a traditional degree would be.

    Making the Right Choice for Your Education

    If you’ve already had to deal with the challenges of traditional classes—such as juggling your academics with busy work and life schedules—why not move fully online? Online degree programs are structured to accommodate a flexible schedule in which you can learn and study from anywhere, while working. You don’t have to compromise your work schedule, attend in-person classes, or stress about the due dates of quizzes and essays. If you’re interested in finding a flexible, practical option for your real-life degree needs, Accelerated Pathways offers a less expensive alternative to traditional college. Our advisors can help you create an academic plan that works best for you, your work schedule, and your career goals. Learn more here about how Accelerated Pathways can help you.

    Want more posts like this? How to Find Online Classes While Social Distancing How to Make Friends as an Online College Student 14 Reasons to Avoid Student Loans for College

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  • How to Afford College


    How to Afford College

    How to Afford College: Tips for Getting a Degree on a Budget

    Getting a college degree is expensive. How expensive, you ask? Well, Discover estimates that as of late 2018, the average cost for full-time tuition increased by approximately 143 percent since 1963.

    Also notable is the fact that student loan debt is on the rise. U.S. News and World Report notes that a survey of the class of 2019 found that graduates borrowed, on average, more than $30,000 to cover four years worth of tuition and fees. In contrast, the average student loan debt for graduates of the class of 1989 was less than $2,000.

    Let that sit for a minute - because, no, it's not a typo.

    If you're among the many who aspire to go to college but are worried about how you'll pay for it, the good news is that earning a degree on a budget is possible. Below are just a few of the ways you can study (and save) at the same time.

    Set a Budget

    Learning how to set (and stick to) a budget is a skill that can help you throughout your life, and it's a lot simpler than you think.

    To start, you'll want to calculate your net income (i.e., your monthly income after taxes) and determine your expenses. In addition to understanding what your fixed expenses are, such as your rent, cell, phone, and car insurance payment, you'll want to understand your variable expenses. Variable expenses include things like utility bills, clothing and entertainment expenses, and groceries. This is important, because when you set your budget, you'll want to account for monthly variations.

    Pro tip: If you're concerned about wide swings in your gas and electric bill, ask your utility provider if they offer a fixed-rate program. With a fixed-rate program, the utility company takes the average billing from your address for the last 12 months and divides it into 12 equal monthly payments. Although you might owe slightly more at the end of the billing quarter, if you reduce your energy use, you may wind up with a credit.

    Setting a budget can also help you keep track of (and be mindful of) your spending. For example, if you budget $40 each week for incidentals (such as eating out), you'll quickly learn whether you're spending that money on meals, or overspending on frozen mocha lattes. Understanding where your money is going can help you figure out which expenses are necessary, such as gas, groceries, and haircuts, and which expenses can be trimmed...like the $100 a month you realized you've spent on avocado toast.

    Setting a budget will also help you understand how much money you can afford to allocate to college costs. Circling back to our original point, the more you can contribute out of pocket for college, the less you'll need to borrow.

    Set Money Aside

    If you're pondering how to afford college, you'll want to start setting money aside. Think of your savings account like a snowball that's sitting at the top of a very large snow-covered hill. It may be small now, but once it starts rolling and gains momentum, that snowball will start to grow.

    Saving money for college doesn't mean finding hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars to sock into your savings account today. Savings can be as simple as emptying the spare change out of your wallet (or purse) at the end of each day and stashing it in a coin jar. In addition, some banks offer "round up" programs on debit card purchases, where your purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the amount rounded up is deposited into your savings account.

    Whether you have $5, $50, or $200 a week to save for college, every bit counts.

    Other Tips for How to Afford College on a Budget

    Savings and spending wisely aren't the only ways to afford college on a budget. Other tuition hacks include researching employers that offer tuition reimbursement programs, and filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn if you're eligible for a Federal Pell Grant.

    If you're working and concerned about losing income if you need to take time off to attend in-person classes, you'll want to research online college options.

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways is one of those online options, learn more about getting your degree online and find out how you can get started today.

    Not only will online college save you an enormous pile of money on room and board fees, distance learning can save you time (driving to and from campus), save you gas money (see previous point), and allow you to learn on your own schedule. Regardless of whether you want to study during your lunch break, read textbooks after dinner, or listen to lectures during your commute, online learning offers students lots of flexibility.

    Are you interested in learning more about how Pearson Accelerated Pathways can help you develop strategies for affording college - including how to graduate debt free? Learn more.

    Like this post? Try these other resources: Student Loan Debt: The Realities, the Consequences, and How It Will Affect You 14 Reasons Not to Take Out Student Loans for College How Does Financial Aid Work?

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  • Start, or Restart Your Education in 2021


    Start, or Restart Your Education in 2021

    With a new year comes new opportunity for reinvention.  

    Last year was hard. In 2020 we saw students all over the country struggle to balance life, work, money and academics. According to National Student Clearing House, higher education enrollment rates are down across the board. However, with a new year, comes new opportunity for change. 

    We believe college shouldn’t cost a fortune or strap you with lifelong debt. We provide access to dozens of online courses without the burden of extra costs.

    How it works

    1. Talk to an advisor - When you are ready, you'll talk to an advisor about your college options. Unsure about what degree or school you want? No problem. Your advisor will be able to recommend college and major choices tailored to your specific needs.

    2. Choose your courses - Your advisor will also help you build a degree plan designed to save you time and money while reaching your goals. This plan will show you which courses to complete, when to complete them and allow you to register and start studying all from one place.

    3. Study on your schedule - All the courses you will take through our program are highly flexible. Take as many or as few courses as you want. There is no need to wait for a new semester to enroll and you can study at your own pace.

    4. Transfer into your college - Once you've completed all your online coursework through our program we will help you transfer your hard-earned credit into your chosen college. There you will finish the remainder of your classes and graduate. No hassle or wasted time.

    Student Debt is a Serious Problem

    We've already written about the consequences of student debt. Most students (and/or their families) fall in the awkward financial spot where they don't earn enough to pay for college out of pocket (typically more than $200,000), but conversely, earn too much to qualify for financial aid (typically those making less than $50,000). So, choices when it comes to financing college can be slim for many.

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways is the solution. We offer a way to go to college debt free. This just might be the chance you've been waiting to start your education on your own terms.

    Reach out today to see if you're a fit and to speak with our team of advisors that can help you create a plan to match your life goals and your academic needs.

    *Source: National Student Clearing House Research Center

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  • Exploring College Options: Tips & Resources for Choosing Your College Experience


    Exploring College Options: Tips & Resources for Choosing Your College Experience

    Deciding to go to college is about more than choosing a degree program. You’ll also need to decide which type of college experience is right for you.

    For some, that means living at home, working part time, and taking general education coursework at a nearby community college. For others, it involves enrolling full time in an on-campus program, settling into dorm life, and figuring out how to make the most out of their meal plan dollars. Are you working full time and raising a family? If so, maybe neither of those options is viable, and you’ve decided that online coursework is your golden ticket toward educational advancement.

    The bottom line is this: when it comes to going to college, there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” learning experience. What works for you might not work for your sibling, your best friend, or the co-worker who sits at the desk behind you.

    But how do you choose the best college experience for you?

    Choosing Your Degree Program

    If you’re exploring college options and you already know your career goals (e.g., you want to become a teacher, biologist, or engineer), then you’ll want to research which colleges have the best degree program for that particular study track. This isn’t about finding the “best school”; it’s about finding the school that’s best for you.

    Creating a college plan requires matching your interests and career goals with an educational program. But again, choosing your degree is just part of the equation. You also need to decide how (and where) you want to complete your courses.

    What to Know about Starting Your Degree at a Community College

    If you want to save money on your degree, you may be able to complete your general education coursework at a community college. But if you go that route, make sure those credit hours will transfer.

    One of the main reasons people choose to start at a community college relates to cost, which makes sense at first glance. For example, in the 2018-2019 academic year, the average cost to attend a public two-year school was $3,660 per year, compared with $9,697 per year for an in-state public four-year school.

    Therefore, completing general education credits at community college might cost $7,320, compared with $19,394 at a four-year school. But if only half of your credits transfer, you’ll need to retake some courses, and that means paying for an extra year of tuition. Instead of paying an average of $26,714 for your degree, you’ll likely pay closer to $36,411. It’s all about dollars and cents—or, in this case, dollars and sense.

    The takeaway? Going to college is expensive, so if you want to start at a two-year school to save money, make sure you choose your coursework wisely.

    In-Person Learning vs. Online Degree Programs

    When it comes to deciding between on-campus learning and an online degree program, the college option you choose will likely be based on your career goals, ideal lifestyle, and personal preferences.

    For example, people who want a fully immersive college experience that has a strong social component may decide that living on campus works best for them. On the other hand, people who prefer to learn at their own pace and from the comfort of their living room, the local coffee shop, or a beach cabana in Cabo San Lucas may feel that online learning better aligns with their lifestyle.

    Both options have pros and cons.

    If you’re currently weighing the two options, take some time to list out your priorities. Do you prefer in-person lectures, or would you rather to study at your own pace? Do you have the ability to carve out time to drive to (or live on) campus and attend classes, or do you need the additional flexibility that comes with being able to stream lectures (and complete assignments) on your own schedule?

    Flexibility in Learning: Benefits of an Online Degree Program 

    Online degree programs were growing increasingly popular long before the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, a 2020 report by Aslanian Market Research and Wiley Education Services found that 78% of students who had taken in-person and online courses felt their online experience was as good as if not better than in-person learning. Seventy-nine percent of students who had earned a degree online agreed or strongly agreed that the cost was worth it. In addition to having access to multimedia content, video lectures, and/or podcasts, online students have the flexibility to learn when, where, and how they want.

    Learning While You Work

    If you’re taking courses to advance your career, an online degree program allows you to apply what you’re learning as you’re learning it. Plus, when you take online courses, you won’t need to worry about attending early-morning or midday lectures. You can study at lunch, stream lecture material during your commute, and complete your coursework on your own schedule. (Fact: studies have shown that the majority of full-time college students work between 15 and 35 hours per week.)

    Learning While You Travel

    Do you want to further your education without being confined to a classroom? If so, online college might be right for you. Why? Online degree programs allow students to study from anywhere they have access to a Wi-Fi connection. You can learn from the porch of your family’s vacation home, complete assignments in an airport lounge, or stream lectures from a rooftop café in France.

    Learning While You Launch a Business

    If you have an idea for a product or service and want to launch your enterprise now, enrolling in an online degree program has its benefits. You can apply what you’re learning to your day-to-day operations, and you’ll have the opportunity to grow your personal and professional network. There’s an old saying about success in business: “It’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know.” Completing an online degree while launching a business can help you feed both birds with one seed: it can help you expand your knowledge and your business contacts at the same time.

    Designing a College Experience That’s Right for You

    Like we said earlier, when it comes exploring college options, it’s not about picking the best college. It’s about picking the best college for you.

    Are you ready to start learning on your own terms? Learn how Pearson Accelerated Pathways gives students the flexibility to choose their college experience.

    Like this post? Try out these other recommended readings: How Does Financial Aid Work? Student Loan Debt: The Realities, The Consequences, and How It Will Affect You How to Make Friends as an Online College Student

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