The Future is Now

It is no longer accurate to say, “Online education is the future of education.” With more than one third of all U.S. college students now taking at least one online course for credit, the future is now. 

According to the Sloan Consortium, chief academic officers strongly believe in the future growth of online education. 90% of academic leaders said that it is “Likely” or “Very Likely” that the majority of all higher education students will take at least one online course in five years’ time. 

It’s clear that the impact of online academics in higher education isn’t going anywhere soon. With each year of growth in online enrollment, trust in online degrees by employers have also grown. Overall, these studies show a promising future for students taking the more flexible and independent route of obtaining their degree.

Don’t miss out on this rising innovation in education. Browse our wide array of accredited and reputable online programs through the University of Nebraska: http://bit.ly/1qQQZpD

College and Career: Finding a Balance

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For many, the reason of choosing online education stems from the need to balance getting a degree while maintaining a career. This is no easy feat, but with patience and commitment, it’s definitely possible. Here are some tips to follow in order to add more ease into your busy schedules:

  • Be organized: When it comes to balancing college and a career, there’s no such thing as being too organized. You might be juggling exams, group projects, company meetings, and work deadlines all in one week, so it’s imperative to keep everything in order. This means using calendars, planners, to-do lists, and reminders. If you develop a habit of keeping all of your responsibilities in line, you never have to stress the chance of forgetting something important.
  • Communicate: Your schedule is likely to be irregular, so it’s important to clearly communicate that ahead of time to everyone involved. Give others access to your calendar so they can know when you’ll be unavailable. It’s also important to let your friends and family understand that you may not be as accessible, but that their support and patience is necessary and appreciated.
  • Manage Stress: Stress can be inevitable is situations like these, but it’s important to take steps to keep it under control. While your day may already seem full of countless task, make time for something that’s just for you, whether that’s yoga, art or exercise. This activity should be unrelated to your career and classes to give yourself a break. It’s also important to maintain perspective. A bad grade isn’t the end of the world, so don’t forget to enjoy life in the process.
  • Be Realistic: You may not be able to accomplish everything on your plate, and that’s okay. Just do the best you can, and make modifications as you go. Set intentions to lead you toward your end goal in order to stay motivated. By mapping out the rest of your college career, you can take the necessary steps to ensure you’ll graduate when you want to. 

Balancing your education and career may feel overwhelming, but it’s only temporary. Most importantly, remember to be proud of yourself for setting out to achieve your goals and bettering yourself. 

Growing your Personal Value

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There’s no denying that the job market is competitive. Sometimes a college degree isn’t enough to stand out amongst your peers when it comes time to apply for a job. There are certain steps you can take to grow your personal value throughout your college career. Use this summer as a time not only for soaking up the sun, but also as a time to become a more well-rounded individual. 

1. Related Experience: Whether it’s an internship or a part-time job in your field of study, related experience is one of the most valuable things to show to your future employer to prove you’re ready for more responsibility. Start by talking to your school’s career services to find opportunities that meet your needs.

2. Service: Service work is the most valuable way to give back to your community. While you may be helping others through volunteering, the return on your personal growth in the process is something that can’t be matched.

3. Skills: Fine-tuning a set of personal skills is a great way to sell a set of attributes that are unique to you. This could be mastering a specialty in your field, learning a new language, or developing a hobby. Not only could this land you a job, but it could also be beneficial in applying for scholarships.

4. Mentor: Find a mentor in your area of interest. Reaching out to professionals may be daunting, but the rewards are well worth it. A mentor can provide you with valuable insight, teach you necessary skills, and provide you with a diverse network of other professionals. Here are some tips to finding a mentor: abt.cm/1lYyfQm

The True Value of a Degree

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It has become very common to hear the skepticism in the current value of a college degree. Many focus on the fact that the number of college graduates are rising while job opportunities are declining. Meanwhile, most graduate with so much tuition debt that it seems inevitable to question the practicality of attending college. 

However, new data on income statistics from Economic Policy Institute says that it’s not even a close question- college education is absolutely still worth it. In fact, last year the pay gap between college graduates and everyone else reached an all time high. Americans with a four-year degree earned 98% more an hour on average than people without a degree. 

Even though that statistic sounds good, you’re probably still questioning the risk of graduating with debt. In the long run, though, your income will more than just break even with your college tuition. Your degree will end up being about negative $500,000, meaning not going to college will cost you half a million dollars.

Ultimately, college is the most financially responsible choice for Americans. To question the value of a college degree is to be left behind. 

Staying Sharp throughout Summer

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There is everything to love about the summer time, from the hot weather that calls for fun, outdoor activity to the smells of fireworks and campfires. However, something about the summer makes going back to school in the fall that much more difficult. Here are some tips to stay sharp this summer so your brain doesn’t suffer when it’s over.

1. Books: Reading is the best and most simple way to exercise your mind daily. It’s okay if you prefer the fun reads, but try to sprinkle in some smart reads, too, such as Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy or Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Do this, and you’ll return to school with new vocabulary, fresh insights, and critical thinking. 

2. News: Following current events is necessary to be an active an educated member of society. Whether it’s watching the news in the morning, skimming over the headlines in the newspaper, or checking out your news apps, find a way to know what’s going on in the world. 

3. Podcasts: Podcasts are typically free and easy to find from resources like iTunes. Just by pushing play while driving on a roadtrip or laying out by the pool this summer, you can learn everything from a new language to in-depth current event stories. This is a great opportunity to gain new perspectives by listening to someone else’s opinions for awhile. 

4. Exercise: While the summer is a tempting time to be lazy, studies show your minds will be much happier and healthier if you get in a bike ride or an hour of yoga during your day. Be even more efficient by loading one of the podcasts onto your iPod and learn while you exercise!

5. Write: Take advantage of the summer as a chance to write without any restrictions or criteria. Write a blog, a poem, a letter, or a list. Keep a notebook by your bed to jot down any late-night thoughts. As long as you’re writing, your brain is working and creating, which is the most important part. 

Whether you’re working or taking classes this summer, be sure to get in some time for fun and adventure, too. After all, one of the best ways to learn is through experiences.

Funding Your College Tuition

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Paying for college is one of the most difficult parts of earning your degree. Rest assured, you’re not struggling with this alone. College tuition is one of the biggest saving goals of America, leaving many to contemplate the struggle of how to pay for their degree. Make sure to explore every avenue and resource before taking out student loans. 

1. Financial Aid: Always apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) even if you don’t think you’ll qualify. You may be pleasantly surprised.

2. Apply for national grants: National grants include Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants and National SMART Grants. Talk to our financial aid services to find more.

3. Apply for scholarships: First, search locally for civic organizations and religious institutions offering scholarships. Even small scholarships can really make a difference. Then search more nationally for other options. You’d be surprised the amount of scholarships that get overlooked. 

4. Make a plan: Many students end up paying much more in tuition by prolonging their graduation date. This can occur from poor planning on taking the correct courses, switching majors and adding minors. Tuition rates and fees can rise each year, so it’s best to only take on classes that are necessary.

Although college is expensive for anyone, it’s important to remember the return on the value of your degree. The average income of an individual with a bachelor’s degree is $49,000, compared to $27,000 for someone with a high school diploma. 

Over a lifetime, that’s a difference of almost $1 million. 

3 Steps to Finding the Right Program

Traditional education offers its own course to finding the right education program. There are school visits, in-person orientations, and individual advising opportunities. However, finding the online program that meets your needs can feel like a shot in the dark with several websites claiming to have the best programs and new courses coming out frequently. 

Follow these steps to narrow down your search to the programs that best meet your needs.

1. Check verifiable information: When looking for information about a school, it’s best to go straight to the school’s website for valid information rather than websites that aggregate and rank online programs. Schools can pay to be featured on these platforms, so they’re not always trustworthy.

It’s also very important to check the school’s accreditation status, and also if the specific degree has programmatic accreditation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation is a good source to check.

2. Talk to professionals in your field: By talking to professionals in the field you’re going in to, you can better understand what hiring managers will be looking for when you’re on your job search. While accredited programs are important, it’s even better to have a school with a reputation that is going to be respected amongst your colleagues. 

3. Contact people at the school: Talking to students and faculty at the school you’re considering is an effective method to better understanding the student experience you will have. These sources are more personable than a website, able to answer more questions, and should be able to help you find if you would be a good fit for the program. 

How to be Successful in Summer Classes

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Summer classes are a great way to get ahead in credits and ensure that you graduate on time. They can also take a little stress off of your fall and spring semesters as it can lighten the load of how many credits you need to take then. However, due to the care-free nature of the season and the different style of summer classes, they can be more tricky to navigate. Here are four tips to have a successful summer class experience: 

1. Time Commitment: Don’t underestimate the time commitment of online summer classes. If you’re taking a 3 or 5 week session, understand that it is a semester’s workload crammed into that short amount of time. That means you’ll need to dedicate several hours a day to your summer class in order to stay on top of assignments. So while you may be tempted to spend the day at the beach or go out all night, make sure your class is accounted for first.

2. Plan Ahead: It’s understandable to have vacations planned throughout the summer, but that’s also an important factor to consider before registering for an online course. If you’ll be unable to tend to your class for a few days, check with your professor ahead of time. Summer classes can be very time sensitive, so it’s important to make sure they’ll be flexible with time away. 

3. Be Prepared: Even though you may feel tempted to take short cuts during the summer season, it’s important to treat your summer course just as you would a regular class. Even if you’re only going to use a textbook for three weeks, still buy it. If you know you’re planning a weekend trip, get work done ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re gone. 

4. Have Fun: Despite the importance of summer classes, it’s important to still make time to relax and have fun during this time. Summer is a necessary time to rejuvenate for the school year ahead, so be sure to schedule some you-time amidst your busy summer days.

Meeting the Needs for Students with Disabilities

Part of the ideality surrounding online education is the notion that any student has access to a degree no matter what obstacles their current situation may present. The University of Nebraska takes pride in our diverse student population, and we’re committed to providing all students with an equal opportunity to take full advantage of our programs and facilities.

Online education can be a promising alternative for students who may have physical and sensory disabilities, but certain measures must still be taken to fully prepare for the obstacles you may encounter throughout your classes.

Students seeking academic accommodations through the University of Nebraska must self-disclosure their need for these services to their home campus’ disability office. It’s important to be direct and open about what you need to succeed. Upon this request, our staff will work with you to ensure you have the support you need to successfully complete your education. 

You should also be proactive about articulating your needs to the course instructor before the class starts, rather than just starting the course and trying to adjust later on. By taking these steps, we’ll work with you to assure you get the most out of your online education.

Learn more about our disability services: bit.ly/1kpjI26 

Trust in Online Education

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There is a common concern in receiving a distance education that an online degree won’t hold the same value as a traditional degree with a future employer. However, recent studies show that trust in online education is significantly increasing as trust in the quality of online education has grown more than 20 percent in two years. 

According to a Gallup poll recently released, 37% of Americans agree that online colleges and universities offer high-quality education, compared to the 33% in 2012 and 30% in 2011. This trend signifies a tipping point in the near future for an online degree being commonly accepted as a quality education.

Even more promising, 59% of employers said they are at least somewhat likely to hire a graduate of an online program. These indications of growth are likely to significantly increase enrollment in online programs. 

By receiving an online education through the University of Nebraska, you’ll be at the forefront of this positive change in education. You’ll even have the advantage of receiving a degree and transcript without any indication of “online” on them, ensuring that you’re fully equipped for success upon your graduation.