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4 Life Hacks You’ll Get Along With Your BBA Degree

by David Nesmith
October 2, 2018
A photo of South University students at their commencement ceremony.

So, you’re thinking about pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. You probably already know this can be a firm foundation for a career in the Marketing, Finance, Manufacturing, Advertising, IT, and Banking industries. When you think about it, a BBA degree can help to set you up for success in pretty much any industry.

But did you know that the skills you’ll learn will also help to set you up for success in all aspects of your life? Even navigating disputes with your neighbors? Among all the other helpful things you’ll have the opportunity to learn when studying for a BBA, you'll pick up these skills you’ll rely on for the rest of your life:

Active listening

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation, nodding and saying "uh-huh" while the other person is talking, and all along you're focused on what you’re going to say next? Or watching a lecture but mentally picking out the flyest outfit possible for tonight's date? You might think you are "multi-tasking," but what you're really doing is depriving yourself of important knowledge and perspectives, while depriving people around you of the gift of actively listening to them.

The experiences you get from BBA coursework can turn active listening from a chore to something you don’t even notice you're doing. In addition to the introductory coursework in communications that most BBA candidates get, some coursework at South University depends on active listening and understanding of directions in order to pass.

"Think of it like making a cake or putting together a bookcase," Laura Baker, DBA, South University’s department chair for the College of Business Online Programs. "If you don't follow an individual instruction correctly, you'll end up with a flat cake or lopsided bookcase. It's the same with some of our coursework, which relies heavily on steps that build upon each other over time. If you don't actively listen enough to understand the instruction, and execute it as directed, you’re in danger of going down a wrong and lonely path."

For two days, try forcing yourself to be present and actively listen to everyone you engage with. You’ll definitely see a difference. People will respond to you more positively and they will even listen to you more intently.

Don't you want to make that second nature?

Critical thinking and decision-making

We all have friends who seem to make the wrong choice as often as they make the right, right? They always pick the wrong love interest, or car, or job even. These people may have a firm grasp on their emotions, but they lack or aren't using their critical thinking skills. They aren't "playing the tape through," predicting what their decision is probably going to turn out like in a few weeks or months.

That ability is also important on the job. If your job is procurement, there are a lot of factors, beyond the cost, to consider when picking a supplier.

  • Are they dependable?
  • Can they fill an order on short notice?
  • Do they always have inventory?
  • Where are they located?

Your job is to find the supplier that fits your company's purchasing style. Trust us, fewer headaches are often worth the extra fees.

"Those same courses at South that require a number of steps also force a student to think critically," adds Baker. "You can’t take your eye off the bigger picture. You have to ask yourself if this action will advance me to my goal. And you have to anticipate the land mines and roadblocks each decision might present. The act of examining all possibilities, weeding out the ones with the obviously wrong outcomes, making compromises when needed, and weighing each choice against the others will help you make decisions with confidence and authority."

Confidence and authority? That sounds like a recipe for success!

Conflict resolution

Pretend you and your neighbor are in a feud over your adorable puppy, Petals. Petals is so sweet and cute there's no way anyone could not love her. But when there’s a full moon, Petals likes to howl. Maybe your neighbor cares more about a good night of sleep than a dog’s instincts. People are weird, you know?

How would you solve this situation without bad feelings and resentments?

To people without conflict resolution skills, burning his house down or moving to a new neighborhood seem like the only options. But a person who looks at the situation from BOTH perspectives can often come up with a mutually beneficial solution. Your path to a BBA can teach you how to do just that.

"It's all about empathy," said Baker. "You can't resolve conflicts without understanding all of the parties involved. But empathy means more than that. It means being able to put yourself in their shoes. Many of our courses teach that."

"Take our Global Business Management class, for example. That course teaches students about other cultures and the importance of respecting their ways of doing things. If your goal is to seal a deal, you better know if, in your counterpart’s culture, shaking hands is like a slap in the face."

So, what's the solution to the Petal problem? What if you took the time to understand that your neighbor suffers from insomnia and can’t get back to sleep once awake? And because of that, he's too tired to do his job well or take his kid to soccer practice? What if you offered to keep outrageously gorgeous Petals indoors when there is a full moon? Seems like that is a worthy compromise to keep the peace. Who knows? Maybe he'll offer to watch Petals when you travel? Stranger things have happened.

Either way, you won’t have to find out if your neighbor’s bark is worse than his bite.

Bonus life hack: Leadership

Guess what? All of the above skills are essential traits in a good leader.

  • Active listening? Check
  • Critical thinking? Check
  • Decision making? Check
  • Conflict resolution? Check

Throughout the entire BBA process, you will have the opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate, negotiate and all the other qualities that make a good leader," Baker added. "You learn how to speak, understand and be empathetic towards others, and these are all of the key components to motivating and managing people. Leadership skills are involved in pretty much everything you learn in a BBA program."

So yes, a BBA can be the foundation for a good career. But better yet, it can be a strong foundation for a great life.

Want to know more? Talk to our admissions team about the BBA degree program at South University. Call us at 1.888.444.3404 or request information today.

by David Nesmith
October 2, 2018
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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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The Rising Value of a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing

by South University
August 7, 2017

Today, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that only slightly more than half of all Registered Nurses (RNs) have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Yet, major professional organizations, including the National Academy of Medicine, are pushing for that number to reach 80% by 2020.

Why Organizations Want RNs with a BSN

While 80% of RNs with a BSN is an ambitious goal, many organizations want to make it a reality. Why? They hope to increase the standard of care for their patients, and a growing body of research demonstrates improved clinical outcomes for nurses with higher education. These outcomes range from lower mortality rates to more accurate diagnoses.

Some hospitals may be further driven by a desire for the coveted Magnet Hospital designation, which requires that hospitals have a plan to ensure 80% of their RNs hold a BSN by 2020. The awarding committee also evaluates the current education of the nursing staff and expects all nurse managers to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

How a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Could Help You

While associate’s and diploma nursing programs focus primarily on the basics of clinical care, BSN programs offer a broader curriculum useful in diverse settings and cases. BSN programs can teach you communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills as well as prepare you to deliver more advanced patient care.

Employers recognize and value that difference, with the numbers clearly showing the value of a BSN to RNs on the job hunt. In 2016, the AACN found that nearly 98% of surveyed organizations strongly preferred hiring nurses with a bachelor's degree in nursing, while over 54% only hired RNs with a BSN. The US Army, Navy and Air Force, for example, require every active duty practicing RN to hold a BSN.

Having a bachelor's degree in nursing is also commonly a must-have for moving beyond basic clinical positions into administration, research, teaching, or other specialized nursing fields. This holds true in the Veteran's Administration (VA)—the single largest US employer for RNs—where nurses cannot be promoted out of entry-level positions without a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Earning a BSN can also lead to a jump in your salary. In 2017, Payscale.com reported that RNs with a BSN earned a median salary of $69,000, nearly $8,000 more than those without the degree. Beyond that, a bachelor’s degree in nursing can be a stepping stone to a master’s degree in nursing, which is required for advanced practice RNs.

Solutions for Working Nurses: RN to BSN Programs and Online Nursing Degrees

Without your RN status, earning a bachelor's degree in nursing would take, on average, four years. Luckily, RN to BSN programs can save RNs like you time and money. If you meet RN to BSN requirements, you could earn your BSN in under two years.

What's more, select schools allow you to earn nursing degrees online—giving you greater flexibility and control over your schedule. Your employer may even offer tuition reimbursement support for RN to BSN programs. Either way, investing in your education now could lead to more job and promotion opportunities and a higher salary in the future.

Author's Note: This article was originally published September 2016 and has been updated to reflect current research statistics and insights.

by South University
August 7, 2017
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3 Popular Career Paths for Family Nurse Practitioners

by South University
April 4, 2017

Among the thousands of family nurse practitioners practicing across the US, day-to-day work varies greatly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common place for family nurse practitioners, or FNPs, to work is a physician's office. Others work in hospitals, outpatient care centers, walk-in clinics, or community and school healthcare facilities. Some FNPs start their own practices, while others chose to travel and work across the country.

If you’re not sure what’s right for you, here’s a close look at three of these diverse paths.

Family Nurse Practitioners in a Physician’s Offices

Family nurse practitioners in a physician's office typically work regular, set hours, which can provide a nice work-life balance. Because it is less hectic than a hospital or walk-in clinic, working in a private office can give you more time to focus on treating and educating each patient. You’re likely to get repeat patients, helping you to build close, trusting relationships. Here, you can expect both healthy patients and routine problems or concerns, but you’re unlikely to encounter a great diversity or severity of healthcare needs.

Because you’ll probably be part of a small staff, your relationship with your colleagues can play a big part in how much you enjoy your work. However, you should have relatively easy access to a physician when you need additional support or a consultation.

Practices Owned by Family Nurse Practitioners

Opening a practice on your own or jointly with another family nurse practitioner can be rewarding and offer increased autonomy, but it’s not without challenges and is best for someone with experience under their belt. Because the laws around operating a practice as an FNP vary by state, you’ll want to start by researching your state laws to see what’s possible.

To open a practice, you’ll need business acumen as well as financial know-how and resources. Alternatively, you could partner or seek advice and mentorship from someone more familiar with the logistics of running a business. You’ll also need to look into third-party reimbursement rates for FNPs and requirements around collaborative agreements with physicians, hospital privileges, and malpractice insurance.

On the upside of owning your own practice, you can make it a priority to build relationships with your patients and provide a quality of education and care you’re proud of. You’ll also set your own schedule, and, while being in charge of staffing isn’t easy, you’ll have full control over who your colleagues are. If you focus on a medically underserved population, starting your own practice can be particularly fruitful.

Traveling Family Nurse Practitioners

For those looking for adventure, a traveling family nurse practitioner career could be a great fit. These FNPs travel from city to city, filling temporary open FNP positions, staying in some roles for a few weeks and others for a year or more. This can be a fantastic opportunity to find out what positions and settings might be the right long-term fit for you. In addition to your compensation, most employers will cover your expenses for housing, travel, and insurance, and may help with making sure you have the right credentials to work in the state you’re considering.

Of course, for this job, you must be incredibly flexible and enjoy change—because from your patients to your colleagues to your home residence, change will be a constant part of your life. Each position will vary slightly, with different expectations and patient care needs. It’s possible that the experience could be isolating if you don’t make friends quickly, but, alternatively, you could end up with friends in every state!

Want to know more about career options and becoming a family nurse practitioner?

Explore our nurse practitioner articles on the blog, or contact us to talk about our graduate degree programs that can prepare you for a career in this field.

Sources for this article include Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, The Pros of Being a Nurse in a Doctor's Office, Open Your Own Nurse Practitioner Practice, and How to Become a Travel Nurse.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2017 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is materialsreview@southuniversity.edu.


by South University
April 4, 2017
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