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Instructor Blog: Why does writing well matter?

For some students, English courses can seem unrelated to the knowledge they need to be successful in their field. However, strong writing skills demonstrate that you are educated, professional, and pay attention to detail. Before I was in the education field, I was part of a team that was evaluating candidates for a position. There was one resume from a candidate that had great experience, but it also included a typo.  The individual was not offered the job. Imagine sending your resume to a potential employer with the employer’s name spelled incorrectly. What first impression would you be making?

These are certainly minor errors and it may seem unfair to disqualify someone from an interview because of them. However, these are the details that can leave a negative impression before someone even has the change to meet you in person. Error-free communication, especially when applying for a job, is crucial.

With that in mind, let’s address common errors in writing: Read More…

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Staff Spotlight: Bernadette O’Connor, Admissions Representative

A former elementary school teacher, Bernadette has been guiding students through the admissions process for the past 18 months. Her time teaching fourth grade at an all-boys school instilled a positive attitude that she has carried into her position at Bryant & Stratton as she notes the excitement she often shares with each new student she enrolls.

Bernadette’s background in education (she has an English degree from Hilbert College) extends beyond her time in the classroom and the numerous Bryant & Stratton students and alumni she’s worked with. While none have been published, Bernadette has written several children’s books with her son as the main character.

“[The books] chronicle each stage of my son’s life as he was growing up and all the adventures he had,” she explained. “Now that he is grown and starts having children of his own, he can share his own stories with them.”

Among her many other talents, Bernadette also boasts a strong skillset in Kan Jam and horseshoes. Although perhaps her greatest gift is connecting and helping the many students she works with each semester.

Read More…

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Key Points for Students Considering Employer Reimbursement

Going back to school as an adult brings up many questions, but perhaps the biggest one is “how am I going to pay for my degree?” Luckily student financial aid comes in many forms. Scholarships, grants, loans are all options but there is another way. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement programs that help employees pay for college.

Tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance programs vary from company to company but they typically focus on giving their employees the opportunity to develop or improve skills that will help them excel in their careers. The programs are beneficial to employees and employers alike. Employers are able to invest in employees so they have the types of skills that will help keep the company profitable. But, employees are the real winners. Tuition assistance programs help employees earn an education while having the cost partially or completely covered. Since going back to school also helps them learn new skills employees are able to become better at their jobs or prepare for career advancement.

But, tuition reimbursement programs aren’t free money. Companies design the programs to have some stipulations. Sometimes there are limits to how much a company will pay for the type of degree that’s being earned, designating different amounts for associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, graduate-level education and professional certificates. There may also be rules around what types of courses or degrees a program will cover. Many employers will only cover classes that are related to an employee’s current responsibilities while others may extend the offer to cover responsibilities of that are designed to position an employee for a promotion.

If you are thinking about going back to school, check in with your employer about tuition reimbursement options. If you aren’t sure where to start, below are a few questions that will help you figure out what is available and how it may benefit you. Read More…

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Finding time to make a change

Realizing it’s time for a change doesn’t need to come from a major life change. In fact, many people decide that it’s time to pursue a new direction even when they’re in a great situation.

That was exactly the situation Yen Klikna found herself in when she decided to enroll in the Medical Reimbursement and Coding associates degree program at Bryant & Stratton College Online.

Klikna was working full time as a manager at a dispatch authority, making a quality living for her family. However, the job required that she needed to be on call most days. Combined with the commute to and from the job, her time was limited at home with her family. So she decided to start doing research on a career change that could give her more time at home.

“My priorities changed,” Klikna said. “I have a 3 year old daughter and I wanted to spend more time with her. I was tired of being stuck in traffic every day.” Read More…

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Instructor Blog: Study Tips for New Students

Picture this. You have spent hundreds of dollars on new textbooks for your classes and you are eagerly waiting for them to be delivered. You come home from work and slice open the box to find three brand new, brightly colored textbooks that are shrink-wrapped and just begging you to open them!

You flip open your laptop and check your course homepage to make sure you have the correct books and you hit the jackpot – all 3 books are what you need so you rip off the protective covering and spend the evening snuggled up in your reading chair, sipping your favorite drink while enjoying your new books.

While reading your texts, you carefully highlight everything that is important – at least half of each page — and then re-read each chapter 2 more times. A couple days later, confidently you open your quiz and then all of a sudden your heart stops beating – you cannot remember anything that you read, even though you spent hours combing through your book, and you end up failing the first quiz! You are now panic stricken and don’t know what to do.

Read More…

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Healthy Habits Make Academic Success

School, work, home – it doesn’t take long to get spread thinly between the major responsibilities of you life. Healthy habits are crucial to support that school-work-home flow that fosters academic, professional and personal success.

“The most important aspect is to ensure an appropriate balance between work, school and life — that is so, so important,” said Brandy McDonough, associate dean of instruction for Bryant & Stratton College – Online. “Being able to balance those things creates a much more well-rounded person.”

To do that, you’ve got to make the most of the time you have for each of those major life components. McDonough recommends meticulous, honest time management to keep on top of school, work and life in general. She syncs personal and professional calendars between computer and phone. She even carries a – gasp – paper version to keep herself on track.

“With that, it helps me to remain focused,” she said. “It really takes finding the time sit down and plan out each week. You really have to go day by day by day and say, ‘This is what I hope to accomplish’ and not getting down on yourself when you don’t meet that (goal).”

Another good habit: being realistic about your course load and how you work your way through it.

“The course itself is a determining factor,” she said. “If you have to take a course in an upcoming semester, it’s very important if that’s going to be a difficult course, then you might want to take only one or two courses. If you’re taking courses that all build upon your areas of strength, you could probably take a full course load.”

Be honest with yourself about your work habits. Do you need frequent breaks, or do you prefer to buckle down and complete a task without looking up? When your mind starts to wander or you’re not absorbing the material, that’s a signal that it’s time to step away from your studies.

“When you read something and you get absolutely nothing and you’re re-reading the same passage or sentence over and over again, or you get frustrated, that’s the time to walk away,” McDonough said. “Get a glass or water, take a short walk – stepping away for about 10 minutes and coming back to it from a different angle often is extremely helpful.”

McDonough recommends you start your study by tackling reading materials first.

“That will give you that theoretical foundation to build upon,” she said. “Before you complete a project, (or write a) paper, it’s really important to get that theoretical foundation first so you have that understanding utilizing a lot of resources.”

Understanding your full range of resources is another key to scholarly success, McDonough said. Beyond the digital world at your fingertips, remember family, fellow students, professors and the entire academic support staff at Bryant & Stratton.

“There’s nothing wrong with talking to peers, family members who’ve been through their education, working professionals as well,” she said. “Leveraging conversations with coworkers and peers those can be very valuable.”

Look to people who want to see you succeed to bolster your optimism and academic stamina.

“You have to have a very positive attitude and be surrounded by people who have that positivity,” McDonough said. “Have people you can reach out to on hard days – that’s healthy from a different perspective.”

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Want to Study Management? Choose Your Adventure

Are you considering a degree in general management? Turns out a career in this field is not all that “general.”

Bryant & Stratton College Online offers areas of specialization in the general management degree program. Each of the four disciplines can lead students down a very different career path. Take a look at these descriptions of each career field and what students who graduate from these programs can expect in their future.

Project Management: The opportunities available to students who study project management are phenomenal, said Leslie Bishop, program coordinator.

Project managers do exactly what the title says, they lead projects. That may mean working in an office, on a construction site, or on virtually any project, anywhere on the planet. The crux of this job is to be the point person who can walk into any department, in any organization, look at how the work is processed and figure out how to fix it and make the process flow better.

Students who earn a degree will graduate and be able to immediately take the exam to earn their project management certification. Once employed, project managers gain valuable on the job experience to work toward earning more certifications. Bishop said the accolades earned by project managers are recognized globally.

Marketing: In case you hadn’t noticed, social media is huge. And the marketing industry is firmly focused on moving advertising dollars from billboards and newspapers to Facebook, Twitter and other online formats. Bishop said companies are hiring graduates who are fluent in the language of technology.

“Organizations are looking for people who can come out and set up Facebook and Twitter and post responds to clients and customers,” Bishop said. “And that can pay very well.”

There still are traditional marketing careers where graduates work as well, to include sales manager, account manager, sales representative and director of marketing. Whatever career path marketing graduates choose, Bishop said they should strive to sit for a voluntary exam with the American Marketing Association. This accolade is a symbol of marketing excellence and boosts an individual’s marketability during a job search.

Ecommerce: Again, as technology has changed the marketplace, Bryant & Stratton’s degree programs have kept pace, allowing students to learn the ins and outs of the online marketplace. Bishop said students will study topics such as supply chain management, internet marketing, online transaction processing, inventory management systems, data collection systems virtual storefronts and online catalogs.

She added that Ecommerce graduates will not set up websites or work as accounts but rather will focus on careers that allow them to be part of the mechanism of a business as it works with other companies.

“If you are looking to break into an internet-based company, this is a good place to start,” she said.

Human Resources: Professionals in the human resources field take care of employees. And within that niche, there are several avenues of concentration.

Bishop said Bryant & Stratton graduates who earn an HR specialty will probably begin their career as an HR assistant in an entry level job. There they will be exposed to payroll, collection and verification of timesheets, human resources, compensation and benefits and recruiting. And it is here where they can find their passion and begin to move their career forward.

“There are so many aspects to HR,” Bishop said. “HR at the strategic level impacts the entire system of an organization. HR is limitless.”

Bishop said HR employees can sit for certifications as they earn more experience in the field. Those certifications are recognized globally as well and can give candidates an advantage in their job search.

No matter what path students choose with the general management bachelor’s degree, there are boundless opportunities to grow, learn and advance.

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Instructor Blog: Practicing Professional Communication

As instructors, we are here to help, and are happy to answer your questions and address your concerns. Many of my best students are the ones who email the most. They are quick to ask for clarification before an assignment is submitted, or for clarification on a graded assignment. Reaching out to instructors shows that you are taking responsibility for your learning.

While it can seem intimidating, think of your relationship with your instructor as practice for a relationship with a supervisor in your field. If you had a question about how to complete a project, would you email for clarification, or take a guess, submit the project and hope it is correct?

A professional tone is critical when contacting a supervisor. Maintaining a professional tone when emailing instructors will give you valuable practice. Here are some guidelines:

  • Avoid focusing on emotions. While phrases such as “I am frustrated” may be appropriate, stating much beyond that will detract from the issue.
  • Clearly state your question on concern. For example, saying “I am unclear about my grade on the week 3 activity” allows the instructor to address your concern more quickly.
  • Avoid making assumptions and focus on your question or concern.
  • Can the answer be found elsewhere? At Bryant & Stratton, you don’t need to contact your instructor to find out your grade. Similarly, there may be information in a work environment that could be found in a policy handbook.  Being proactive and finding what you can on your own will better prepare you in your course as well as your career.
  • When emailing, take advantage of the option to review your email. Ask yourself: Was I courteous and clear? Did I present myself in the most professional way possible?  Would I be embarrassed if anyone other than the instructor saw this?

Each of these guidelines will help you in a professional environment. In a work environment, an email may be forwarded without your knowledge. If you are professional and courteous, you will have nothing to worry about!

Another great option is to hop on Skype. Many instructors, myself included, have office hours on Skype, or similar platforms. This is a great way to create a more personal connection. Also, it is great practice in getting used to technology you might need for a job interview.

At Bryant & Stratton College Online, we pride ourselves on preparing students for their work environment. Learning how to reach out to an instructor, even if it feels uncomfortable, provides you valuable experience in professional communication. A proactive, professional attitude will help you stand out against the rest!

 

 

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Illustrating the Financial Aid process

Applying for and completing financial aid is an important part of the admissions process at Bryant & Stratton College Online. There are a number of steps that need to be completed and using the guidance offered by our financial aid staff can ensure that these steps are completed in a timely manner.

Since every individual’s financial situation is different, the process of completing financial aid is different as well. The graphic attached to this post should serve as an illustration of each step that needs to be taken as you go through financial aid. Some students will be required to submit more information than others (specifically at step four) but with the assistance of a financial aid advisor you can have that information submitted and processed quickly.

As you prepare to submit a FAFSA for the upcoming semester be sure to stay in constant contact with the financial aid department. This will ensure that the steps that you need to complete before receiving your award package are completed quickly and on time so you can receive a schedule well ahead of the first day of classes.

Note: If you right click and select “view image” you will be able to see the full size graphic.

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Bryant & Stratton College Online announces new RN to BSN degree

Bryant & Stratton College Online has announced the implementation of a new bachelor’s degree program in Nursing. The official name of the degree is RN to BSN and is designed to provide nurses the opportunity to continue their education in the pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

The program will have a number of precise stipulations that will need to be met by applicants to ensure their eligibility to pursue the degree. Students who have completed an associate’s degree or diploma program in nursing are permitted to apply. However, applicants are required to have an RN license and have passed their RN-NCLEX. If a student hasn’t completed one of those two requirements, they will not be admitted into the Online program.

Upon completing an interview with an admissions representative and applying, a student will then submit their license and transcripts from their previous education for evaluation. Additionally, a student will need to provide current CPR certification and current immunizations to ensure they’re capable of completing preceptor hours in the community. An applicant will also interview with the Program Director to review the program coursework as the specifics will be tailored for each student. All of this is done while simultaneously completing the required financial aid steps to ensure that a student is ready to be registered once all of the necessary steps have been wrapped up.

Once enrolled, students will navigate through a program that not only builds on their previous nursing education but prepares them to take on new roles in the future. Bachelor’s educated nurses will be more exposed to geriatrics, take on a greater emphasis of being a community service oriented nurse and they will be prepared to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate treatment. Bryant & Stratton’s goal is to ensure that nursing graduates are prepared to meets the changing needs of the nursing field.

With continued, nationwide growth in the medical field, the demand for trained nurses continues to increase. In fact, the Institute of Medicine has recommended that 80% of all nurses in hospital settings earn an education in the bachelor’s or master’s level by 2020. Nurses, specifically in hospital settings will need to have more preparation to administer proper patient care. A BSN educated nurse will have the preparation to treat the entire patient, not just the ailment.

The RN to BSN program emphasizes classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences that prepares student for both the world of work and for lifelong learning. It also prepares nurses to take on a professional role by incorporating coursework in nursing research and leadership. The curriculum is designed to educated nurses and provide opportunities for career advancement and management positions within the field.

 

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