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Instructor Blog: Tips for Succeeding in English Courses

Some students may feel as if they need to just simply survive English courses. As an instructor who teaches four different English courses at Bryant & Stratton, I wanted to share some tips for not just passing, but thriving in courses essential to your life-long learning and professional development.   Most assignments in your English courses are focused on research and writing. This means that, to succeed, you will need to communicate an idea clearly and support it with research.  Thinking about how you can improve in those areas will help you in each English course.

One common error I see is students not proofreading carefully.  Almost all assignments in your English courses include a category in the rubric for grammar, including discussion. Taking the time to not only run spell-check (even in discussion) but proofread can be the difference between an “A” and a “B.” Creating even short assignments such as the initial posts for discussion and reflections in Word can ensure that you meet the word count requirement and have the opportunity to proofread carefully. Read More…

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Staff Spotlight: Lauren Watt, Associate Admissions Representative

Giving is a key word for Lauren Watt. One of Bryant & Stratton College Online’s most outgoing and friendly Admissions Representatives, Lauren also finds time outside of work to give back to others.

Lauren graduated from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY with a major in adolescent education in mathematics. She is also certified to teach math in grades 5-12. In addition to being a self-proclaimed mathlete, Lauren is also an avid dancer and many outdoor activities.

Even though Buffalo is best known for snow, Lauren takes full advantage of the countless summer activities in Western New York. She has her boating and motorcycle license and can be found at nearly any concert you name during Buffalo’s wonderful summer months. When there’s snow on the ground Lauren is on the slopes honing her skills as a snowboarder.

However, dance is Lauren’s true passion. She teaches classes to this day and has been dancing herself since she was four. Lauren says acrobatics is her true passion (she can walk on her hands) and she’s earned four separate scholarships for tap as well.

The team here can always count on Lauren to brighten their spirits on a weekly basis and her personality glows outside of the workplace as well. In addition to the dance classes she teaches, Lauren teaches a special education dance class at a local school along with doing additional volunteer work for both children and adults with developmental disabilities. Read More…

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Five Ideas for Making Your Second Try at College a Success

There are 37 million Americans who started college but dropped out before they earned a degree. Since a college degree is still important to increasing earning potential and job security some of these people may be considering filling out an application for college and going back to school.

For those who return to school, it’s a big step forward. But, it’s not without challenges. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that only 28 percent of adult students (those who are 25 years or older) complete college. So what’s holding these people back from reaching their goal?

There are a lot of factors and everyone is different. A Pew Research Center study found among those surveyed who did not have a four-year college degree and who were not currently enrolled in college, two-thirds attributed the lack of a degree to needing to support their family instead. Other research from organizations like Apollo Research Institute uncovered reasons such as anxiety about not spending time with friends/loved ones, worrying about intellectual ability to complete coursework, and experiencing stress because class interferes with normal routine, as challenges people face in earning a degree. Read More…

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How to Find a Study Buddy as an Online Student

Enrolling in an online school can have a lot of benefits. Flexible classes allow you to balance all the responsibilities you have in your life, like your job and family obligations, while still earning a degree. Online discussion boards and regularly communicating with your instructor can help you stay on top of assignments and make sure you’re learning key skills but having one classmate to count on can help make studying easier.

A study buddy is someone who can help you stay focused, share notes with, prepare for tests with or help you understand difficult concepts. Finding a study buddy when you’re taking classes online might not seem possible, but it is! Taking advantage of available technology like email, instant messaging or video chatting can help you make a connection with your classmates. So, what makes a good study buddy? There are several things to consider. Read More…

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Advice from a Paralegal

There are a lot of factors to consider when pursuing a career as a paralegal.  In this role you will be the right-hand assistant to lawyers and other legal professionals. The job requires certain skills and personality traits, paired with the right training and credentials. Ann Atkinson, advanced certified paralegal and president of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), offered the following advice to aspiring paralegal professionals.

Hone Your Administrative Skills

Depending on the area of law in which you are employed (eg. litigation law, family law, etc.), your duties as a paralegal may vary. However, Atkinson said the position generally requires strong writing and administrative skills. “Being organized is key,” she added.

You will likely be responsible for drafting cover letters, legal documents, and other important writing projects. You also will be responsible for working with clients, and in many cases, you may be the first person a client interacts with when they contact the firm. Accordingly, being personable is a must.

Get Your Associates Degree

There are no education requirements for paralegals, but that doesn’t mean training and certifications are unnecessary. According to Atkinson, every business has its own set of standards for employees, and having higher credentials may set you apart from other candidates when applying for a job. If you are already employed, consider asking about tuition reimbursement programs for a traditional program or online school. Earning an associate’s degree in paralegal studies can help to set you apart from other job seekers down the road. Read More…

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Instructor Blog: Keys for Studying at Home

I’ve been teaching online since before my three-year-old was born. So when students share how difficult it is to complete assignments with young children at home, I understand! While everyone enjoys working from home, there are some disadvantages. I wanted to share some strategies for studying amidst the distractions at home.

One disadvantage to attending class online is that there is no set time to spend time on schoolwork. There is always something that seems more pressing like housework, or more enticing like the internet. I encourage all students to log in on Sundays to look at the discussion topic and the assignments for the week. Writing down all of the tasks for the week (four days in discussion, reading, activities) can ensure you allow time for everything. If it helps, you can write specific assignments into your calendar. For example, “Monday, 10 p.m., write initial post for discussion and read textbook reading.” Writing deadlines on the family calendar will help your family remember your commitment. Setting boundaries that you can live with- such as staying off social media during your study time, or waiting to answer a text- can provide some accountability.

The most challenging distraction is, of course, children. While children naturally want your attention, there is a benefit to them seeing you study. Treat studying with the seriousness of going to a job, and you model healthy habits to even young children.  Explain why you are studying and what the benefits will be for completing your degree. For older children, connect your homework to the importance of theirs. Your study time can be time for them to play on their own, or, depending on their age, “lesson time” for them to color while you study and complete assignments.

There may also be times when it is necessary to arrange for childcare. I tell my daughter she will have more fun playing with friends than playing by herself while I am working. Paying for childcare (or swapping with friends, if possible) also helps me be the most productive.  It can be hard to invest in childcare, but, remember, your degree is the ticket to a new career. Devoting time to understanding the course content and producing your best work is an investment in your future. I’m also able to enjoy my time with daughter knowing the work I completed.

In the short term, it can be hard to plug in the headphones, turn off social media and open a textbook.   But the rest of the world will be waiting, and you will be proud of yourself for each well-completed assignment!

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Back to College, But Do You Need Back to School Supplies?

Store aisles are overflowing with school supplies and back to school sales. You may be checking off long lists of must-haves for your children in elementary and high school classes. Even preschools are sending home hefty requirements of paint brushes, playdough Ziplock baggies.

But when you head back to class, online, do you need to have a stack of freshly pressed notebooks and red pens at your side?

No. Your only must have is your computer and an internet connection.

Brook Urban, Bryant & Stratton Academic Advisor, said students do 100 percent of their work online.

“Their papers are submitted online, the quizzes are completed online, even the portfolio they create will be completed online,” she said.

Which means your number one school supply is your computer and an internet connection.

Students in the public speaking class will need to make sure their computer contains a camera since they will need to record themselves giving a speech.

All students are given a list of hardware and software requirements when they submit their application, but in case you missed it, here it is again: Read More…

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Instructor Blog: The Importance of Instructions

Imagine if you will for a moment, how easy it is to make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich.  Simple, right?  I bet you could even show someone how to do it in under a minute.  Now, write it down, step-by-step as though someone had never seen bread, a jar of peanut butter, or jelly before in their life.  Trust me; it just got a lot harder.

Following directions and especially complicated directions can be a very important tool that serves you well throughout your life.  What does this have to do with going to college?  College instruction is full of following directions.  One of the most common mistakes that most students make is not fully reading and comprehending instructions.  Often students skip over the steps of the instruction with the understanding that they know what tasks need to be done.  And before long, they grow frustrated because the tasks they performed did not give them the result they wanted. Read More…

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Be Prepared Before Applying to School

Enrolling in classes at Bryant & Stratton College Online is a straightforward process that requires a few short steps to be completed. The required steps are communicated to our students by their Admissions Representative once they’ve completed their initial admissions interview. There are additional steps that a student can take to ensure their enrollment goes as quickly as possible.

The support offered by our admissions staff is second to none. From your first interview all the way until your first day of class, your personal Admissions Representative is there to guide you through the process of getting enrolled. They will require that you complete certain steps and submit required documents throughout this process. While many of the steps cannot be completed ahead of time, there are a few things that can be done to help speed up your enrollment: Read More…

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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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