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How to pick a degree program: Get started with these 5 questions

by South University
March 23, 2017

Deciding to earn a degree is a big decision. Especially if you’re earning your first undergraduate degree or you’ve been away from school for a while, choosing the right a degree program can get complicated quickly. Even knowing where to start can be tough. To help, we’re walking you through some of the biggest factors to consider—from how to find a degree program that aligns with your strengths and interests, to researching career growth potential and industry needs.

1. What are your strengths?

If you feel lost, start with what you’re good at. Make your own list, and then ask a few of the people who know you best what you’ve missed. Consider which traits your bosses and colleagues have praised and dig up your most recent job evaluation. Or think about when you’re asked for help. Maybe your manager keeps asking you to plan office lunches or outings. If so, perhaps you have a natural talent for organizational leadership and you should search for a Bachelor of Business Administration or other similar business degrees. Maybe your friends always want your insight on family and relationship problems because you have a knack for listening and providing guidance that could translate to a psychology or counseling career. For that, you’d want to start with earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Discovering your strengths and how they translate to appropriate careers can help narrow down programs that you can excel in.

2. What fields most interest you?

Don’t be afraid to look outside your current strengths. They’re an excellent place to start, but the whole point of going to school is to learn new skills, so it’s perfectly okay to try something you’ve never done. If you enjoy helping people and caring for others, it’s fine that you’ve never worked in a healthcare setting. Healthcare degrees are built to prepare you with the skills and knowledge needed for the field. Perhaps you enjoy working with numbers or computers – a degree in Accounting or Information Technology may be right up your alley.

3. Which careers have the best job outlook?

Once you’ve picked a few possible career fields based on your strengths and interests, find out which careers have a strong job outlook. The Occupational Outlook Handbook from US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a great place to start. You can easily find data on employment growth, salary, job responsibilities, and more for hundreds of occupations. You can also work in reverse and identify careers that have the best outlook in your area and see which seem interesting to you and align with what you are already good at doing.

4. What level degree program is the right fit?

This question has two parts. First, what are the best degrees for preparing for the career you’re considering? Some jobs require bachelor’s degrees, others prefer or require master’s degrees, and, in some cases, you can get started right away with an associate’s degree. Again, the BLS is a trusted source for this information. The second thing to consider is how long you are willing to spend in school. While some schools may offer accelerated or dual bachelor’s to master’s programs, anyone who knows they don’t want to devote the time required for bachelor’s or master’s degrees can easily cross certain careers off their list.

5. What is the right format for earning your degree?

You may be able to adjust your schedule some when you go back to school, but realistically you’ll still need to balance multiple priorities. As you narrow down your list of the best degrees for you and your top colleges offering those programs, find out what type of flexibility those schools offer and what learning format might work best for you. A typically campus experience may be right for you with many schools offer evening and weekend courses to appeal to working adults. Depending on the nature of the degree program, you may be able to earn your degree fully online or in a hybrid campus and online format. Base your choice on your schedule and learning preferences, but keep an open mind. While online learning can sound intimidating, the web-based classrooms for online degrees are typically built to facilitate and encourage high-levels of faculty and student interaction, support, and discussion.

Your Next Move: Contact Your Top Colleges and Programs

Before finalizing your choice, reach out to representatives at your top colleges. You’ll learn a lot by inquiring about their program outcomes, faculty, and alumni. If you’re interested in online learning, ask what it’s like to pursue one of their online degrees. To learn about any of South University’s associates, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees, you can request information anytime on our site or call us 1.888.444.3404.

by South University
March 23, 2017
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Easiest Ways to Do Your Taxes for Less

by South University
March 3, 2017

Want to find ways to save time and money during tax season? Here are some quick accounting and tax tips for making it fast, easy and affordable to complete your taxes and make sure you’re not leaving extra money on the table.

1. Shop Around to File Your Taxes Online

Still going to see an accountant in person every year? Don’t be afraid to shop around online and change it up. TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct are just a few of the companies offering online tax filing solutions. Free federal and state online filing options may be available to you depending on your total adjusted gross income, your military status, or your eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you need to go with a more robust, paid version, keep a close eye out for promotions and online discounts that can help bring the cost down.

2. Make Tax-Planning a Year-Round Habit

Keeping organized and complete records of receipts, invoices and other relevant documents can help save time when you are ready to file your taxes. If you haven’t done so in the past, now is the time to start saving those receipts and keeping better track of where your money goes for next year. Did you know that if you’re unemployed and looking for a new job, you may be able to deduct job-hunting expenses? Or, if you move for a job, those costs can be deductible too. In some cases, even your medical expenses can be tax-deductible.

Of course, don’t forget about that student loan interest either, and current students may also qualify for education-related tax credits or deductions. Luckily, the software mentioned above can walk you through claiming many of these credits and deductions as you file. The catch? You’ll need to make sure you have the paper trail to back up your claims.

3. Become a Tax Expert Yourself

This option won’t be right for everyone, but if you find yourself enjoying planning and filing your own taxes, why not consider pursuing a career in accounting? The BLS predicts an 11% job growth for accountants and auditors by 2024—a rate faster than average growth anticipated across occupations. On average, in 2015, accounting professionals had an annual wage of more than $67,000. The best part is you can skip paying someone else to file your taxes and even earn extra income during the tax season by offering your services to others.

At a minimum, accounting and auditing positions typically require a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Other employers prefer applicants with a master’s degree in accounting. To become a Certified Public Accountant, you’ll also need to pass a CPA exam as well as meet your state requirements. If you’re serious about preparing for a career in accounting, South University can help. Call 1.888.444.3404 or request information today to learn more about our online and campus-based Business Administration and Accounting programs—including a new, online BS to MS in Accounting dual-degree program.

by South University
March 3, 2017
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How to Give Constructive Feedback That Works

by South University, Online Programs
October 28, 2014

Are you currently a manager or working your way toward that much coveted office? A big part of being a leader and manager is providing feedback that helps those around you to grow and succeed. Yet offering constructive feedback that proves productive is a fine art—and one that takes practice. No one likes to feel attacked or criticized, and yet workplaces are environments that require constant feedback and evaluation. Whether you’re conducting performance reviews or general assessments, it's vital to practice positive delivery techniques that motivate rather than discourage.

thumbs up and thumbs down

Don't Negate Praise with the Word "But"

You might use the most reassuring compliments before this dangerous word, but the person will only hear the words following it. In order to make feedback more effective, separate praise from criticism. If someone is doing something well, state that wholeheartedly, not as a precursor to criticism. Doing so will allow for the complimentary words to carry more weight and will make the overall conversation feel more balanced.

Prepare Your Words

Solid preparation can prove the difference between a so-so conversation and one that inspires change and growth. Prior to vocalizing any concerns or suggestions, take the time to brainstorm a general outline of important points. Positive wording is the ideal way to avoid alienating an employee. "There's opportunity for you to grow as an excellent public speaker" is a far better statement than, "You need to work on your public speaking skills."

A surefire way to incite defensiveness from an employee is to use generalizations. Rather than saying someone is always late or never available, focus on specific incidents, and set encouraging goals to remedy problem behaviors. For instance, if an employee is routinely reporting back from lunch ten minutes late, focus on the dates of these incidents, ask for feedback from the employee on this issue and brainstorm ideas together that might help with time management.

Create a Conversation, Not a Lecture

Sometimes during evaluations or meetings, the conversation can become unintentionally one-sided. Allow the person(s) on the receiving end of the feedback to participate in the conversation as more than just an idle listener. Invite him or her to pose questions, clarify given examples and express any hesitations or barriers that might exist. Asking questions to the receiver also encourages a dialogue and makes the overall experience feel more equal.

Cater to Individual Motivational Styles

Each person is motivated in different ways. Some love praise, while others won't change unless they're given a form of competition. Instead of guessing what someone's individual preference is, ask him or her for feedback. Several assessments measure motivation style preference, and the results are often surprising. Understanding and utilizing motivational techniques is a highly constructive way of getting desired results.

When these guidelines are followed, feedback discussions and formal performance reviews can be a much smoother, productive process.

by South University, Online Programs
October 28, 2014
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Best Apps for Business Students

by South University, Online Programs
October 14, 2014

Students enrolled in business programs have unique needs for study and recreational apps. These days, it's no secret that your smart phone can be your best friend when it comes to note-taking, studying, staying on top of your finances and generally keeping you informed about the wider world of business. The following mobile apps are great tools for any business student.

Using appsEvernote

This app gives note-taking a modern touch. Capture websites, paragraphs, voice-recorded messages and more, and sort through them easily while studying. Evernote and LinkedIn are working together to replace the Card Munch application, allowing you to scan business cards and add new contacts to your LinkedIn profile.

BillMinder

Successful business students know that accounting and financial management are a huge part of their education. BillMinder offers an easy way to track your accounts. View your statements online, set reminders for payments and see all the data compiled in comprehensive charts. You can even sync your accounts with the rest of your household to keep everyone on track.

QFinance Dictionary

Need a little help to keep the financial jargon straight? QFinance Dictionary has compiled more than 9,000 international business, finance and commerce terms for quick reference and study.

Associated Press

The AP is always quick to report on new business, international, political and economic developments. Not only does the AP app make for good reading on the subway or on your lunch break, it will also help you keep in touch with the business world you'll be officially entering come internship or graduation.

Open Table

Whether you need a break from studying or you want to schedule lunch, brunch or dinners for networking purposes, Open Table has you covered. Choose the restaurant, make a reservation and off you go! Book ahead for the weekend or break up the weeklong tedium with a trip to your favorite sushi joint or steak house. Open Table offers the best way to make sure you can eat where and when you like, whether you're rubbing elbows with those in the industry or checking out of the business world for awhile.

Explore South University's College of Business programs today!

by South University, Online Programs
October 14, 2014
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South University Business Programs Receive ACBSP Accreditation

by South University
January 13, 2014

At South University, we strive for excellence. Our faculty and staff never stop searching for ways to improve our programs or the overall experience for our students, and those around us are taking notice of our hard work and commitment to providing the education our students deserve.

ACBSP logoToday, we’re excited to announce that South University received accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)* for the following programs available online:

Bachelor of Business Administration
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
Master of Business Administration
MBA in Healthcare Administration.

The ACBSP accreditation recognizes our rigorous academic standards, top-notch faculty and our focus on student outcomes. The accreditation also signals to current and prospective students that our curriculum is relevant and practical in today’s world and that our graduates will be prepared to make an impact in the field of business.

To earn this accreditation, South University was required to demonstrate that we meet specific standards related to strategic planning, leadership, stakeholder focus, and measurement of student learning. According to ACBSP Director of Accreditation Steve Parscale, “This accreditation is evidence that South University is committed to providing the highest quality business education for their students.”

Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only organization offering specialized business accreditation for all degree levels, from associate to baccalaureate to doctoral degree programs. Thus, ACBSP accreditation brings both increased prestige and visibility to South University’s business programs and the university as a whole. Furthermore, it gives our alumni as well as our current and future students access to a valuable global network of mentors, employers and professional peers.

For more information, read the complete press release here >>.

*The Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management, Master of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs ([ACBSP] 11520 West 119th Street; Overland Park, KS 66213; 913-339-9356; www.acbsp. org).

by South University
January 13, 2014
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