Online Learning vs. Traditional Education: What’s Right for You?

Trident University LogoTrident University International (Trident), recognizing both the changing needs of its students and the employers that hire its graduates, is introducing its first new programs since 2011. Students can choose a path of either Bachelor’s or Master’s of Science in Leadership degree starting in this year’s summer session beginning on July 7th. Registration is open now.

These programs utilize the most current leadership theories and are taught using tried and true pedagogical methods. Students will have the opportunity to build on their current managerial skillset, as well as learn new theories and practical approaches. With a focus on the development of critical thinking skills, the tools provided to students in these degree programs will give them a professional edge, whether they are working their way up the corporate ladder or strengthening their resume as an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“People ask “Are leaders born or made”? I’ve never met a “born” organizational leader who hasn’t gone through the life experience, studies, and work with others that it takes to make a leader.” Dr. Stefan Hanson, Program Director, B.S. in Leadership, Trident University

Roles requiring managerial leadership skills, which are currently in high demand, have grown at 4.5% over the past decade and are expected to generate an additional 410,000 jobs by 2020. Despite this, there are few options to meet that demand in the private online space. Several industry segments have the need for professionals who have mastered these skills, including management of companies and enterprises, professional scientific and technical services, computer systems design, and state and local governments at the national level.

The Bachelor’s or Master’s of Science in Leadership programs resulted from years of research, managed by Dr. Simcha Pollard, Dean, College of Business Administration and College of Information Systems. Approval from accrediting bodies, such as Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC), depended on many factors, including the employability of future graduates from these programs. Both programs received approval from WASC, the body that reaffirmed Trident’s accreditation in April 2013 for 7 years.

As Trident’s demographic diversifies, the university remains committed to student success through the development of degree programs that appeal to a diverse population while preparing these students for careers in the modern world. With the B.S. and M.S. in Leadership, current and future managers can hope to gain the skills necessary to handle growth, increase productivity, and manage conflicts in an ethical way in the modern professional environment. The B.S. in Leadership offers concentrations in Management, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Criminal Justice Administration.

About Trident University

Founded in 1998, Trident University International (Trident) is a leading online post-secondary university serving adult learners. Trident developed the Trident Learning Model, which employs case-based learning in an online setting to teach real-world relevant critical thinking skills to enhance student’s lives and careers. Trident offers high-quality bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, led by a qualified faculty team, over 90% of whom have doctoral degrees. Visit www.trident.edu, Trident’s Facebook page, or call at (800) 579-3197 to learn more about Trident’s wide range of program offerings.

These two blogs were originally posted to Trident University’s website.  Andy Vaughn, CEO & President of Trident University was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on May 24th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Everything You Wanted to Know about an MBA Degree, But Were Too Afraid to Ask!

MBA TextIn 2002, when I applied to business school, I knew that “getting in” to a top MBA Program was no easy task.  There were so many parts to the process, including:

1) Understanding why I wanted to get an MBA in the first place.

2) Learning about the different types of MBA Programs and various Business Schools.

3) Researching financing options.

4) Approaching recommenders that could detail my strengths.

5) Completing applications and essays.

Once I took care of these parts, I realized there was so much more to do.  From interviews and on-campus visits to actually choosing the right school for me and preparing for academic and networking success, it seemed like a never-ending journey.  But it was one made a bit more manageable due to the influence of a few mentors, including some truly wonderful faculty members at UCLA and at the University of Michigan.

I was fortunate.  Not everyone may have mentors at the schools to which they apply.  As such, it is important for prospective applicants to do their own due diligence.  There is no substitute for research.  Furthermore, the importance of visiting schools and establishing connections with students, alumni, faculty, and staff cannot be overstated.  After all, the culture of the school is largely shaped by its community of scholars, and this culture is something that cannot be researched.  It must be experienced.

The value of an MBA from a top school is immense.  Graduates of the top schools earn salaries that are, on average, double or more of what graduates from other schools make.  Increased salaries are not the end of the story.  Greater career choice, increased job security, faster job promotions, more interesting work, higher status, and numerous other benefits also result from a top MBA, so it is no wonder that so many people want to get into the best school they can manage. Join me on College Smart Radio as we discuss all this and more…it will cover everything you have always wanted to know about an MBA degree, but were too afraid to ask!  If you have any specific questions not addressed on the show, I am happy to address them off-the-air.  You can reach me at npmehta@umich.edu.

This post was provided by Nirav Mehta, Associate Director at the University of Michigan, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on May 17th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: OpenSource.com

An Affordable Option for Low-Income Students to Obtain a High-Quality Degree

Berea College LogoThere is a college in the US unlike any other.

  • A college that offers full tuition scholarships to all admitted students and admits only students who lack the means to contribute at all to tuition.
  • A college that offers a high-quality liberal arts program as well as majors with vocational/professional character including nursing, education, business, agriculture, sustainability and agriculture.
  • A residential college with an attractive campus, well-equipped facilities, a faculty active in research and scholarship, a staff that contributes to the educational enterprise through supervision of students in the work program, international programs, and vibrant extra-curriculars including inter-collegiate athletics, lectures by distinguished visitors, many events in the performing arts and community celebrations of our distinctive character.
  • A college that not only admits students, but hires each and every one into work positions that help support efficient campus operations and provide valuable work experience.
  • A college that was founded before the Civil War and was the first interracial and coeducational school in the South; still with a diverse and interesting student body, faculty and staff, including substantial numbers of international students and a broad mixture of domestic students.
  • A college that accentuates the celebration of its regional association. It is located in the city of Berea in the state of Kentucky, near Lexington, and does its utmost to provide an educational opportunity to students living in Appalachia as well as other services to distressed communities in that part of the country.
  • A college that through that commitment offers opportunities to all its students to learn through the offering of service to those in need.
  • A college that has put a high emphasis on sustainability of its operations—we operate the first LEED certified hotel in Kentucky, have built one of the only platinum-level LEED certified residence halls in the country, and are renovating all of our buildings to reduce substantially reduce our carbon footprint—and also offers living and learning experiences in Sustainability and Environmental Studies.
  • A college, that because of its compelling mission and model, is supported by an array of friends, foundations and alumni so that its unique financial model remains robust and sustainable, and so that it enjoys a triple-A bond rating.
  • A college that leads the way in many areas of national recognition including Kiplingers, the Washington Monthly, and other rating services. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center’s report that shows Berea has the lowest tuition and fees in the nation. The national average for private, four-year not-for-profit colleges for tuition and fees is $22,786. Berea’s is $910.

This college has many successful graduates in nearly every profession and career imaginable, including entrepreneurs in business, public servants in politics, professors and academic leaders, preachers, teachers, nurses, farmers and foresters. A short list of distinguished graduates might include:

In conclusion, one might rightly ask why there is not a Berea College in every region of the country? That seems to us a very good question.

This post was provided by Lyle Roelofs, President of Berea College, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on May 10th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Looking For Great College Bargains

Sale Stickers

Excuse me if this sounds ridiculously elementary, but here goes:

One way to cut your college costs is to look for schools with lower sticker prices.

My nephew Matt attends Westminster College in Fulton Mo, a liberal arts college, where the tuition and room/board is $30,490. Ninety eight percent of the students at Westminster don’t pay full price. The average merit scholarship is $11,500 and the average need-based award is nearly $16,000.

Matt, who is a sophomore, is thriving at Westminster where he has made friends, enjoys small classes and benefits from attentive professors.

My son Ben, a senior, is having an equally great experience at Beloit College, where the price tag is higher.

Comparing Prices

The tuition and room/board at Beloit College is $48,506. The average merit award is $17,600 and the average need-based award is $25,000.

The total price for someone, who qualified for a merit scholarships from Westminster, would be $18,990 versus $30,914 for a Beloit student who snagged a scholarship.

Is Beloit worth the extra $11,924?

And what about the schools, particularly on the coasts that cost an additional $10,000 to $15,000 more than Beloit?

In our family, the price was not a deal breaker because my husband and I could afford to pay for Ben’s No. 1 school. But I would suggest that the education students receive at Westminister is going to be quite comparable to Beloit’s.US news books

I’d argue that a big reason for the price differential is the college rankings. Beloit is ranked as the 59th best liberal arts college and Westminster is ranked as No. 146th.

Families looking for bargains are more likely to find them if they search lower in the rankings. And, just as importantly, look outside cities and especially those on the coasts where schools can charge a premium.

Sorting Schools by Price

Today I want to share with you a new helpful tool that The Chronicle of Higher Education has rolled out that will allow you to sort through 3,000 schools by price, as well as by price for schools in each state. Play around with this tool and should find some more affordable hidden gems. (You won’t be able to access the tool without a subscription, but here is a PDF of the latest prices for schools broken down by state.)

To demonstrate what you can find, I checked prices in Ohio which has a large number of private institutions that are competing for students in a state with declining high school students.

I created a list of private schools based on price and here is a screenshot of the most expensive private schools in Ohio:

ohio 1

When I looked more closely at the list, I was surprised to discover that price and rankings were highly correlated!

Liberal Arts Colleges

First, let’s take a look at the Ohio schools on the list that are in the National Liberal Arts College category. Their rank by cost correlates exactly with their U.S. News ranking:

  1. Oberlin College  25 (U.S. News ranking)
  2. Kenyon College 32
  3. Denison University 50
  4. College of Wooster 65
  5. Ohio Wesleyan U. 100
  6. Wittenburg U. 123
  7. Hiram College 156

National Universities

This trend also held for the two Ohio schools on the screenshot that are ranked in U.S. News’ National University category:

  1. Case Western Reserve University 37
  2. University of Dayton 112

Regional Universities – Midwest

The trend doesn’t hold for the schools in the Midwestern regional category, but I suspect that could be because people pay less attention to the rankings in this category. The two premiere categories for U.S. News are the national university and liberal arts categories.

  • John Carroll University 7
  • Xavier University 4
  • Capital University 35
  • Marietta College 4
  • Otterbein University 17

Looking for Good Buys

I’m not going to get into a discussion of rankings here, but I’ve discussed in my book and my college blog why U.S. News’ college rankings are horribly flawed and even destructive. And yet my little exercise would suggest that we are often paying for schools based on these rankings!

There are wonderful education opportunities at many schools regardless of what U.S. News might think of a school. Here are just two examples:

Marietta College has an impressive program for petroleum engineers – the only liberal arts college that offers this – that enjoys an awesome placement rate. Baldwin Wallace University, an Ohio school that didn’t make my screenshot (its tuition is just $27,840 before aid or scholarships) enjoys 100% placement for its highly regarded music therapy programs.

There are many hidden gems out there and if you want to cut the price of college, I’d start looking for them.

(Note: I have discovered that if you don’t have a Chronicle of Higher Education subscription, you can’t access the tool that I discuss in this post. I did receive permission from The Chronicle this afternoon to share this PDF of the prices of individual colleges that are broken down by price.  Lynn O.)

This post was originally featured on the website of Lynn O’Shaughnessy, College Expert, Author & Consultant, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on March 29th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

What Good Is a Liberal Arts Degree?

Lightbulb over person's face.The colleges that I work with tell me that new students are flocking to get business degrees or specialized undergraduate degrees in nursing, education, engineering, or other majors that “guarantee” a job after graduation. Yet many students enter college without a clear idea of what they want to accomplish in their career, and stress over choosing the right major. As a result, half of all students change their major at least once during their college career, according to Dr. Fritz Grupe of MyMajors.com.

Parents are worried about their children’s choices, too. “What kind of job can you to get with an English Lit major?” is a common reaction.

The fact is that a liberal arts degree remains an excellent path to success, according to statistics published by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2010 and 2011, graduates with degrees in the humanities or social science actually had average salaries that were higher than those for science and math graduates. It is true that those with engineering and professional or pre-professional degrees made more right out of college, but this margin does not appear to hold up over time.

According to the Census Bureau numbers, by age 56 to 60 the humanities and social science graduates made about $2,000 more a year than the professional and pre-professional graduates.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what the average salary is if you can’t find a job. So what is the story for liberal arts majors? It turns out that even in the middle of this awful economy and job market, recent liberal arts graduates had an unemployment rate of just 5.2%, far below the national average for workers overall. This means that almost 19 out of every 20 graduates were able to find work. And this advantage appears to extend later in your career. In the same period, workers 41 to 50 years old with liberal arts degrees had an unemployment rate of just 3.5 percent, which is only slightly higher than those with professional or pre-professional degrees.

The fact is that our nation’s businesses – large and small – depend on a steady crop of young workers who are needed not for the facts that they learned in college, but rather the skills. Companies need employees with a strong work ethic, the ability to conduct research and analysis of information, problem solving ability, leadership and teamwork skills, and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively both verbally and in writing. These are the very skills that a liberal arts degree is design to teach.

Alfred Poor, Ph.D. is a speaker and a writer, and is the author of “7 Success Secrets That Every College Student Needs to Know!” He speaks to high school, college, and corporate audiences about the importance of career skills for young employees’ success at work.

He is dedicated to delivering practical information that you can put to use right away. You can contact him on Twitter at @AlfredPoor, on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/alfredpoor, on Google+ at google.com/+AlfredPoor, or through his website at www.alfredpoorspeaker.com.

This post was provided by Alfred Poor, Professional Speaker and writer, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on March 1st, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Airik Lopez

Find Your Fit 2 Flourish in Life

LEAPNEWParents left paying off their children’s’ college debt while the student is a basement dweller in their childhood home.  Empty nesters left with empty retirement accounts after paying for college. Credit card debt extended to its limit.  Why? These families focused on the 4 years instead of the 40.

The Four (or Five or Six) Years

Most families go about college selection focused on just that – college.  By the junior year, the student is constantly pelted with the question, “Where are you going to college?” Finally in the spring of the senior year, they are able to answer that first question which is immediately followed by the next, “What’s your major?”

The grand experiment of trying on different majors for size in the first year or two of college is an expensive one. The result is often extending college to a 5th or even 6th year as only 36% of students who start college finish in 4 years.  Colleges love this additional revenue stream; parents’ savings does not. Keep in mind the average student graduates with approximately $25,000 in school loans.

Experimenting can also be problematic if a student settles into a major that can be difficult to transfer into.  Among these majors are engineering, architecture, nursing and some business schools.  If you can’t get into your desired major, your options are now to settle or try to transfer to a different university. Neither are options that leave the student feeling happy.

How Did We Get Here

Why do parents make such a great financial sacrifice to their own peril? How do parents allow their kids to get into such a jam?

I’m a parent of three, and if you ask most parents what they want for their children, they just want them to be HAPPY.  I’ll call it FLOURISH. Parents are willing to sacrifice to the point of pain for themselves to attempt to provide happiness to their children.  It’s innate.

Focus on the Forty+ Years

LEAP’s Fit 2 Flourish Coaching turns college selection on its head. Instead of answering that initial question first, we look out to the 40+ years the student will work and aim to find potential best-fit careers based on their wiring as scientifically measured by the Birkman Personality Assessment.

By starting out at the best-fit career options, students then identify the single or often times multiple majors that feed to this career then they can ultimately back into colleges which are reputable for these majors.  Bingo! They’ve now selected their college but with much improved methodology.

By focusing first on WHO you are, a student ultimately has a better FIT so they can FLOURISH and parents have HAPPY children, empty basements and full retirement accounts.

To find more tips and techniques for college bound students, check out Mader’s blog.

This post was provided by Lisa Mader, the president of LEAP (Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program), who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on September 14th, 2013.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Framework for the Birkman Tool

Scientifically Dial Into Your Best-Fit Future Major and Career

Scientifically Dial Into Your Best-Fit Future Major and Career

We are often asked “Why use the Birkman?”. The answer is simple and complicated all in one. There are many available tools that measure aspects of human behavior. In our research to help determine what tool is the best one for helping people not only understand information about themselves, but to be able to do something with that information to improve their lives, we kept coming back to the Birkman.

The basic answer to “Why use the Birkman” is because of what and how it measures about human behavior. There is only one other tool with higher validity and reliability rankings across the measurement industry, and it measures 4 components of behavior. The Birkman measures 77.

Here is what Birkman says is so unique to this method and what is core to its strategic use in helping people grow, find the right careers, and get their hidden needs met.

“The three perspectives (Usual, Needs and Stress) for each Component substantially influence individual behavior and interactions with others.

USUAL behavior is just that — the behavior we usually use. This is the positive behavior we have learned to use as a means of achieving success, our own personal socialized behavior in our everyday world. Usual behavior is the behavior you have learned that works for you, what others see as your strengths.

Our NEEDS are a vital part of who we are, perhaps the most important element of each person’s personality. Our NEEDS describe how we honestly want to be treated, supported and motivated. When we describe our NEEDS, we are actually describing the truest part of who we are — the non-negotiable part of what we must have. Our needs must be met in order to exhibit our USUAL behavior.

The NEEDS provide us a sense of our “inner self” through which we see the whole world. The vision provided by this set of “inner eyes” is a way of translating our own understanding of the world into a set of expectations that, although seldom seen, impact every relationship in our lives. Roger Birkman’s concept of NEEDS and its importance to each one of us is what sets The Birkman Method® apart from all other assessment instruments.

Our STRESS behavior describes behavior that may occur when we feel frustrated, when things aren’t going well — basically, when our NEEDS are not being met. Although it is completely natural for STRESS behavior to occur, it is seen by others as negative, ineffective and often quite costly in human terms.

Getting our NEEDS met on a consistent basis provides us with stamina and flexibility that allow us to interact with our positive USUAL behavior. When our NEEDS are consistently not met, STRESS behavior is the likely result. It is easy to see how important the role of NEEDS plays in our lives — a barometer that affects the kind of behavior we exhibit: USUAL or STRESS.

Our NEEDS provide us with a “secondary radar” in dealing with the world around us. This means that our own understanding of others and their needs is always impacted by our own NEEDS score. In this capacity, NEEDS can be viewed as an internal strength that the USUAL behavior does not forget.

The capability unique to The Birkman Method® is that it measures and accurately describes our perceptions of others and our perceptions of ourselves. It is also unique in being able to measure how these dual perceptions interrelate and impact our behavior.”

This post was provided by Lisa Mader of LEAP 2Success, who was a guest on College Smart Radio on September 14th, 2012.  The show was re-broadcast on June 22nd, 2013.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: LEAP 2Success