Time-Saving Solutions to Finish Your College Degree

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – It’s a goal of many recent post-high school students — go to a great university and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years. But why is that easier said than done, and what can be done to stay on schedule?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, fewer than 60 percent of first-time students who sought a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent while enrolled at a four-year institution full time completed the degree at that institution within six years.
Degree completion remains at the forefront of the national agenda as experts predict that, in just 10 years, more than 60 percent of all new jobs will require a college education. Organizations such as the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) are increasing efforts to raise graduation rates by presenting alternative ways to earn a degree quickly.
“Time was the biggest obstacle to getting my degree,” says 54-year-old Briana Taravella.
As time advances, the likelihood of degree completion becomes even more remote. But with alternative methods, such as Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), offered by some colleges and universities and services such as LearningCounts.org, completing credits is more convenient for students — especially adult learners.
“I had to work hard every day, but I was able to earn credit that would have taken longer going through classes,” says LearningCounts.org student Taravella as she references her effort to convert her work experiences to college credit through PLA.
As demonstrated by students like Taravella, PLA saves a lot of time toward degree completion. Hundreds of colleges and universities have used this system to award credit for learning gained outside the classroom — such as work experience, civic activity, corporate training and independent studies. In addition to PLA, here is a list of other ways students are earning college credit while saving time:
* Portfolio-based Assessments
* CLEP Exams
* American Council on Education (ACE) Guides
* Evaluation of Local Training
* Challenge Exams
To learn more, go to www.learningcounts.org.

Balancing Act: Tips for Adult Learners Juggling the Responsibilities of Work and School

(NewsUSA) – Balancing work and the commitment of earning an advanced degree can be daunting. But it is a reality many adult learners face as they continue their education while juggling personal, family and financial responsibilities.The good news is that there are many tips and resources available to help ease stress and make balancing work and school manageable. 1. Capitalize on flexible class scheduling. An increasing number of colleges and universities are tailoring education to suit working students’ schedules. DeVry University, for example, offers flexible scheduling in a "mix and match" format that allows students to enroll in a combination of onsite or online courses during the day or evening, based on convenience. 2. Make a schedule and stay organized. A calendar that outlines upcoming work and school projects, meetings and deadlines takes little time to create and can make a busy schedule feel under control. "Time management is an essential quality and core competency for most professionals, and this will be a good test of one’s mettle," explained Jeffrey Greenberg, director of career services for DeVry University. "This skill gets easier over time and will ensure that your work does not pile up, preventing you from meeting deadlines." 3. Address your stress. The weight of multiple obligations can be overwhelming. It’s important to take breaks to obtain a fresh perspective. Exercise and social interaction provide the perfect opportunity to relieve stress and refocus your thoughts, allowing you to return to coursework with a clear mind and renewed sense of energy. 4. Take advantage of your school’s resources. The network of classmates and professors your school offers can provide support and advice for balancing work and school. The economic recession has led many schools to launch career services departments or strengthen existing ones. 5. Create a support network. Harness the support of friends and family, and see if they can help you accomplish your goals. This support could be something as simple as meeting with a roommate to plan household chores or meals for the month.It is important to remember that the hard work and sacrifice required to balance work and school often lead to career success.

Earn College Credit for What You Already Know

Despite signs that the national economy is getting back on its feet, Americans who lost their jobs to the recession are having a harder time getting back on theirs. Jobs have changed—a lot—and along with them the skills and knowledge required to enter and advance in the workforce.

In the new economy, more jobs require the skills and knowledge obtained in postsecondary education. But for adults lacking degrees, the traditional structure and organization of higher education often pose significant roadblocks to success.

Is Going Back to School an Option?

School is never easy, but responsibilities like bills or a family can make the prospect of adding to the mix seem overwhelming. Despite these challenges, people from all different backgrounds are choosing to go back to school, seeing continued education as a way to improve their current job prospects or create future job security.

Many choose to go back to school to complete degree programs they never finished or to enter a new career. Some find that an advanced degree is needed in order to get to that “next” position. However, in a lot of cases, these individuals worry it may be too late to go back to school.