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What to Expect as an Online Student at South University

by South University
August 7, 2018
a photo of an online student working at a computer.

As an online student at South University, you’ll receive both the online tools and the individualized support you need to help you realize your academic, personal, and professional goals. Learn more below about what you can expect as a member of our online student community.

1. The Campus Common will serve as your go-to resource.

When you take our online classes, much of what you’ll need will be found inside the Campus Common. The Campus Common is an easy-to-use online portal, packed full of resources that can support your academic and professional success and help you get connected to your fellow students. From here, you can

  • Log into your classes
  • Find your key contacts, including technical support
  • Catch up on school news and updates
  • Access academic and student support services
  • Join Connections to participate in online student groups
  • And so much more!

2. You’ll have a network of people to help you succeed.

From your first day at South University, we’re here to support you. Your Admissions Representative, Student Finance Counselor, and Academic Counselor will share valuable knowledge and guidance to help you with things like completing your online orientation, getting ready for your first class, selecting financial options that work for you, determining your course schedule, and creating a plan for time management.

In addition to asking your instructors questions in class, you’ll be able to engage our online tutors anytime for writing feedback or help understanding any challenging course material. You can also schedule in-person or phone consultations with certified counselors to work through any personal issues you may be experiencing.

3. You’ll interact frequently with your faculty and peers.

Our interactive online classroom and mobile app let you learn when and where you want and feature anytime access to your course content as well as lively discussion boards. In your classes, your instructors will provide personalized responses to your assignments and be available to answer questions via instant messaging, email, and phone.

You’ll also have access to Connections, an exclusive online social network for our students and faculty. Here, you can join student chapters of professional organizations as well as groups organized by other students or the Student Affairs team.

4. Our comprehensive academic resources will help you learn.

Even when you’re not logged into our online classroom, you’ll have a variety resources to help you grow. Within our Online Library, you’ll find 60+ databases and 50,000+ ebooks, video clips, images, and full-text dissertations. We also offer on-demand tutoring, subject-specific research guides, Virtual Library Workshops, and a number of online events to expand on your classroom learning.

5. We can help get you ready for the workplace.

We’re committed to preparing for what’s next after earning your degree. Within the Campus Common, you’ll discover a variety of career resources available at no extra charge, including career advice and tools for interview prep, finding job openings, and more. As you approach graduation, our career services professionals can also provide personalized guidance throughout your job search and application process—from cover letter and resume writing workshops through to helping you expand your professional network.

Ready to get started? Talk to an Admissions Representative at 1.888.444.3404 or request information today and we’ll be in touch soon.

by South University
August 7, 2018
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Going Back to School as an Adult - Overcoming Your Fears

by South University
April 9, 2018

Earning a degree is no doubt different for adult learners than for those fresh out of high school, but being an adult learner has it positives. At a younger age, maybe you were less confident about what you wanted or had to delay degree completion for personal reasons. Now, you’re at a different time in your life with more defined career goals, life skills and experience—all things that will come in handy in as you pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree.

If you are looking start or finish your degree but have fears about going back to school, know that it is possible to achieve your academic goals. Below, we compare four common concerns of potential students to the realities of going back to school as an adult learner.

Myth #1: You Don’t Have Room in Your Schedule

Balancing a job, family, friends, and school won't be easy, but many before you have a found a way. With the right amount of planning, you can too. When talking with school representatives, ask how many hours you can expect to spend in class and doing class work. Then, create a plan for how to divide your time each day. Simply knowing you have a plan can go a long way.

Beyond this plan, you'll need support from those around you. Before you start classes, let your family know that they'll have to pitch in a little more while you’re in school. Then, talk with your friends about why you’re continuing your education and how much this means to you, so that they can offer emotional support and will understand if you miss the occasional get-together.

If earning your undergraduate or graduate degree could enhance your current career, share your plans with your boss. Hopefully, they’ll offer encouragement and maybe flexibility in your work schedule. (Plus, there's always the possibility of tuition assistance.) During classes, one way to save time is by relating your schoolwork to your job where possible. For example, for a class assignment, you might choose to create a business proposal that could be reused for your job.

Myth #2: You've Been Out of School Too Long

In reality, your life and work experience will likely benefit you as a student. Instructors appreciate adult learners who ask informed questions and bring real-world examples to class discussions. Besides that, if you've participated in continuing education courses, learned new software, or had to prepare for presentations at work, then you’ve already been using many of the same skills you’ll need in school.

Today, nontraditional students are becoming the norm and schools often design undergraduate and graduate degree programs with adult learners in mind. As you research schools, ask how many adult learners are currently enrolled. See if they offer an orientation class to ease you into the swing of things or provide support staff who will be readily available to answer your questions. Once you’re in school, get to know other adult learners; you can swap study and scheduling tips, and make valuable contacts for after you graduate.

Myth #3: You’re Not Skilled Enough with Computers or New Technology

Orientation classes can help you get up to speed on the software you’ll need, and schools commonly offer software tutorials, tutoring, and webinars for those who want extra training. Even in online programs, these days, online classrooms are designed with ease of use as a key goal for everyone, regardless of technological expertise. So many careers require computer skills today anyway, so, while it might sound stressful, brushing up on your tech knowledge will be good for you.

Myth #4: You Won’t be Able to Manage the Cost of Your Education

An important aspect of returning to school is knowing what return on investment to expect from your program. Tools like the government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook can offer helpful details about the value of education in specific fields. Beyond this, try finding programmatic alumni stories and talking to your manager and others in the field to understand how a degree might help you.

If you’re worried about the cost of degree completion, make sure you explore all options—including federal financial aid, employer tuition assistance, military benefits, and scholarships from private and public organizations. By transferring credit from past college experience, you may be able to save time and money. As you narrow in on your top schools, take the time to talk to their finance counselors about transferring credit and other options for making a degree program more affordable.

Moving Forward with Confidence

Remember, age can play in your favor when going back to school. Life and work experience often teach lessons and skills that young students rarely possess, things like time management and not being afraid to seek help when it’s needed. As an adult, you’re likely more organized, responsible, and motivated to get your degree.

Along with offering a full array of academic resources and dedicated support staff for every student, South University's campus and online programs are designed to accommodate the schedules of busy, working adults. To learn more about how we support adult learners across all undergraduate and graduate degree programs, contact us today.

Note: This blog was originally published October 6, 2016 and updated April 9, 2018.

by South University
April 9, 2018
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Quick Tips for Transferring College Credit to a New School

by Jared Newnam
November 10, 2016

Quick Tips for Transferring College Credit to a New School

When it comes to college, not everyone finds the right fit the first time. Maybe your degree program no longer excites you or your current school isn’t as supportive or flexible as you’d hoped. Perhaps you took a break from college, and you’ve decided to finish what you started. Whatever the case, transferring college credits to a new school is sometimes the best choice for completing your degree.

The following tips can help you create a plan for transferring your credits and finishing your degree.

  1. Set aside time to research programs and contact your target schools.
    Once you pick what type of program you want, you’ll need to see what schools offer the program near you on campus or online. If you’re switching schools but want to stay in a similar program, be aware that program names may differ slightly across institutions. You’ll need to dig into the program details or ask an admissions representative to ensure you understand the program outcomes.

    While you’ll likely find programmatic information online, everyone’s academic history is unique, so you’ll need to speak to the admissions team about your eligibility for transferring credits. Your easiest and fastest option will be talking on the phone or in-person to avoid a long, complex email chain. Make sure to come prepared for these conversations by gathering documentation, including transcripts, to make sure you can prove you’ve completed courses or training.

  2. Ask schools about their transfer policies.
    Transfer of credit policies and procedures will vary by school and often involve minimum grade requirements. Schools typically require that courses you transfer for credit have similar descriptions and outcomes to the courses they offer. In addition, some schools may be able to take your diploma, certificate or associates degree and apply those credits towards a bachelor’s or even master’s level degree program.

    Sometimes two schools may have an articulation agreement--a document that describes what courses students may transfer from one school to the other in specific programs. While an articulation agreement between two schools can make transferring credit easier, you’ll still want to review the document carefully and contact a school representative for specific questions. Most community colleges will have articulation agreements in place with traditional, 4-year institutions.

  3. Don’t overlook non-traditional sources of transfer credit.
    Having prior college experience isn’t the only way to earn transfer credit. If you’ve been in the military, you may qualify for military experience transfer credit, as most military training courses have been evaluated for academic credit by the American Council on Education (ACE).

    Other non-traditional sources include exams that assess whether what you’ve learned from the military or other professional experiences may be deemed equivalent to college credit. These exams include the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) exams.

    Let the schools you’re considering know if you have military experience or are researching the CLEP or DSST exams, so that they can advise you on how to move forward.

  4. Transfer credit policies should not be the only factors driving your decisions.
    It’s easy to get caught up in the focus on transferring credit, but picking a school should be a fully thought out decision. Treat the process the same as if you were looking for a new school from scratch. Be sure to ask about accreditation, financial aid, academic support resources, faculty credentialing and access, alumni success, career services, class scheduling and anything else that might be important to you in a new school. Was there something you didn’t like about your last school? If so, avoid running into that same problem again.

  5. Considering transferring to South University? Let’s arrange a time to talk.
    If you’re thinking about transferring colleges, consider South University. Backed by a tradition of over 100 years, South University allows you to earn your degree online or on campus, with classes led by qualified and supportive faculty who are always ready to lend a hand. We are driven to help you succeed, so our transfer of credit policies are designed to make the most of the effort you’ve already put into your education. Request information online to learn more today.

Transfer credit is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. South University offers no guarantee that credit earned at another institution will be accepted into a program of study offered by South University.

by Jared Newnam
November 10, 2016
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10 Facts about Tutoring for students at South University, Online Programs

by South University Online Programs
June 9, 2015

Having a little trouble with a certain class or a specific assignment? South University, Online Programs offers tutoring services to each of our students, so take advantage of this opportunity to get a little extra help. If you’re not already familiar with our tutoring services, read the 10 facts below to learn more.

1. Live, On-Demand Tutoring is Available 24/7

That’s right, you can get help with your coursework anytime of the day or night! Basic math skills, algebra, liberal arts, math, geometry, trigonometry, calculus and statistics tutoring is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round.

Plus, a wide-variety of tutoring hours are also available throughout the week for countless other subjects, such as bilingual math, introductory accounting, economics, Spanish, organic chemistry, advanced statistics and nursing and allied health topics.

2. Tutors Won’t Do Your Homework for You

If you were hoping to submit a few tough homework questions and have your tutor complete them, you’ll be disappointed to learn that it doesn’t work that way. Instead, expect to get assistance from tutors using the Socratic method of inquiry. Your tutor will ask you questions to guide you to the answer and may walk you through solving a similar problem so that you can use to tackle the assignment in question. Taking the easy way out may work in the short-term, but it won’t help you learn.

3. Expedited Essay Service is Available

Are you facing a time crunch? Don’t sweat it! The staff at the Writing Center understand that you have a busy schedule, which is why they offer an Expedited Essay Service to review your work. This service costs $19.95 for a four-hour turnaround and $9.95 for an eight-hour response.

4. You’re Updated Immediately When a Tutor Replies to an Inquiry

We know you don’t have time to keep checking to see if responses to your essay or offline question have been returned. When an instructor has commented on your inquiry, you’ll receive an email to the address listed in eCollege or you can opt to get a text message.

5. We Want to Know if a Session Wasn’t Helpful

It’s frustrating to seek help from a tutor and still get the problem or discussion question wrong. If you find yourself in this situation, we want to know about it. Send your name, the session ID of the session in question and the instructor’s comments to your Academic Counselor who it will pass it along to be reviewed.

6. You Have a Grace Period to Log In if You’re a Few Minutes Late

Running a little behind? You’re not considered a no-show until 10 minutes have past, so hurry up and log in!

7. You Can Help Your Tutor Prepare for Scheduled Sessions

Type your question, comment or concern into a whiteboard prior to your tutoring session to help your tutor provide the best possible assistance.

8. Your Tutor Know Their Stuff

This service include 2,500 tutors who are college/university faculty, graduate students and retired educators with an average of nine years of experience. More than 90% of them have advanced degrees in the subjects they tutor.

9. Response Times are Very Reasonable

Expect to receive a response for offline questions and papers in approximately 24 hours. Drop-in tutoring typically has a 30 second to 3 minute wait time.

10. Tutoring is Essentially Unlimited for South University Students

As a South University student, you’re given 6,000 minutes — or 100 hours — of free tutoring. Take advantage of this opportunity to get the most from your learning experience.

Want to know more about online learning at South University? Explore our programs online or request information today!

by South University Online Programs
June 9, 2015
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Stay-at-Home Moms Turn to Online Learning

by Jared Newnam
August 12, 2010

Many moms who choose to stay at home with young children know that someday, they want to return to the workforce. To help make themselves more marketable when that time comes, more stay-at-home moms than ever are turning to online education.

Taking courses while the kids nap or are on play dates allows moms to pursue higher learning without interfering with family time. It’s proving to be a win-win situation for moms and universities alike.

“Online classes can be such an effective option for moms,” asserts Dr. Lina Liken-Paske, associate professor of General Education at South University Online Programs. 

She adds that online learning provides moms with the flexibility to attend classes, work on assignments, and still take an active role in their children’s lives.

Mom Care Not Daycare

This means they don’t have to make a choice between class and their child’s soccer game. Liken-Paske notes that many moms see this as the main benefit of online learning.

“With the online asynchronous process, instructors and students are not obligated to be in the virtual classroom at the same time,” Liken-Paske says. 

This allows students to decide when it’s most convenient for them to attend class and check in with instructors. Like any collegiate work, there are assignments that must be submitted in a timely manner, but students are given deadlines in advance so that they can work them into their busy schedules.

The flexibility allows me to be with my kids when they’re awake and after school.

Liken-Paske also mentions that online learning breaks down geographical barriers, opening up a world of degree options. If a mom in Cleveland wants to take an online course offered through a university in Chicago, she can easily do so, building her knowledge base and résumé.

“A degree can increase marketability,” Liken-Paske adds. “The value of having accomplished the degree itself speaks to being able to set and meet goals, while living in real life. The power of having completed a degree encompasses much more than acquiring pertinent professional information. It attests to character.”

Mom bloggers agree that the value of an education can only make a mom more productive. A recent string of postings on the website Diaper Swappers started with a blogger asking about other moms’ experiences with online learning. Responses included comments such as “It worked out great for me because I was able to still work, and not have to worry about [child care for my daughter].” Another blogger mentions that “Flexible scheduling, especially with a newborn/toddler was priceless. So was writing papers in comfy jammies.”

Office Hours

Alicia Wilkes, a stay-at-home mom who teaches online courses, has a unique perspective on maintaining the balance between family life and the pursuit of education. As an associate faculty member at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, she’s seen an increase in the number of moms turning to online education. Like other online moms, she touts the flexibility of learning on a personalized schedule.

“You can do the work at various times during the day. In addition, it allows you to complete your work and to interact with your classmates from your home, which is extremely helpful for moms,” she says.

Wilkes often teaches classes during her children’s naptimes or at night after the kids have gone to sleep.

“The flexibility allows me to be with my kids when they’re awake and after school,” she says.

Wilkes adds that the moms she instructs know they’re expected to log in daily and keep up with assignments — like all other students. Most online courses require students to log in and post comments on assignments at least twice a week, helping moms to build communication skills and broaden interaction with the outside world.

Back to School

While the concept of online learning is not new, many moms are only now willing to give it a try. Wilkes notes that the perception of online learning is changing — people are now viewing it as a positive and valuable educational resource.

“Stay-at-home moms can educate themselves in their career of choice easily through online courses, keeping their skills fresh and relevant,” Wilkes states.

In addition to the obvious benefits of earning a degree, online learning for moms offers marketability, knowledge, and a sense of accomplishment. South University’s Liken-Paske believes that there is one more unexpected benefit to moms getting online degrees — a new level of respect from their kids.

“One interesting point that has come up repeatedly about moms who have school-aged children is that the children love doing homework with mom,” Liken-Paske says. “Not only does this build respect for moms as learners, but also respect for the need for an education.”

by Jared Newnam
August 12, 2010
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