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  • 10 Reasons Your College Degree Makes Your Life Better

    Pursuing a college education and deciding on a degree is an important and challenging decision: financially, academically, personally, socially, intellectually, and physically. Most students question why they are trying to get a college degree at some point during their college experience, especially after their first semester or two when the focus requires a narrowing to a specific interest or field. This list is designed to show you the reasons to finish, stay on track, and complete a goal you set out to pursue.

    You'll make more money. Figures range from several hundred thousand to a million dollars or more over your lifetime when compared to only having a high school diploma.

    You'll have more opportunities in your career. A degree can mean more job openings, more chances at promotions, and more flexibility with which jobs you can enjoy.

    You'll have more control and knowledge in your own life. You'll be better educated about the things that have an impact on your day-to-day life: knowing how to read a contract from law classes, balancing a checkbook or understanding how loans work from accounting classes. You can better understand retirement plans and savings from finance classes. A college education can empower you in all kinds of ways to be more in control of your life's decisions and allow you to make more informed and smarter choices.

    You can handle more challenges and adversity. From having more savings available for emergencies to having marketable skills and an education during an economic downturn, having a degree can come in handy when life has its ups and downs.

    You'll always be valuable. Having a college degree today is what having a high school diploma was considered a few decades ago: the base education. Consequently, having a degree now will open doors for the future, which can lead to an employer funding your future education. Corporate training and education sponsorship will continue to grow your skills and marketable education.

    Intangible Reasons to Get a College Degree

    You'll understand your choices more and examine decisions critically. The critical thinking and reasoning skills you learn in college will stay with you for a lifetime. These are important problem solving skills that develop in the advanced classes at college. These allow you to be proactive in your life and decisions.

    You can be a valuable resource/inspiration to others. Many social service positions, from doctor and lawyer to teacher and scientist, require a college degree at minimum. Being able to help others with your academic skills is a great reward and can be especially important for younger generations who will learn an education is important early on in their life.

    You'll have more access to resources. In addition to the financial resources you'll have access to through your higher income, you'll also have access to the network of friends and peers you connect with in college. Your roommate from freshman year who is now a lawyer can assist in legal advice, your friend from chemistry class who is now a doctor can prescribe health advice, and the professors you connect with may bridge you to a job are the kinds of benefits and resources that are hard to plan for -- but that can make all the difference in the world.

    You'll have a strong foundation to build your future education upon. As you continue and advance in your career, you may find the desire or need to obtain a higher level degree such as a masters or PHD. Having an undergraduate degree already under your belt will better allow you to pursue your aspirations when they further develop later in your career.

    You'll build confidence, self-worth, and self-respect. You may be the first person in your family to graduate from college or you may come from a long line of graduates. Either way, knowing you earned your degree will show you completed a long-term goal you set out to do. You’ll carry your success onto the next stages of life and build upon them to grow further in your professional and academic endeavors.

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  • Making the Transition from LPN/VN to RN


    Written by Roger Ruiz, RN, BSN, MBA

    The nursing shortage has created opportunities for LPNs to advance their education to become RNs… and maybe their only option for thriving in a diminishing LPN market. With a growing and aging population throughout the United States, patients are becoming increasingly complex to care for.  In the increasingly competitive healthcare market, hospitals favor hiring and retaining RNs over LPNs for many reasons.  Better nursing staff education will result in better patient outcomes. RNs have been trained to make decisions and perform patient care interventions that require critical thinking and decision making abilities…an area that LPNs lack not because they do not have the talent to do so.  Without the required formal nursing education to pass the state board examination and earn the designation of RN, many LPNs often become frustrated because they realize their shortcomings….not because they are not capable.  The “nursing law of the land” dictates that LPNs are limited in scope and practice.  Employers translate that into lower wages for LPNs as opposed to higher salaries for RNs.      


    In their journey to attain and retain Magnet status, many large hospital systems have removed LPNs from the acute care inpatient settings and re-assigned to outpatient care areas.  In reality and the broader scope of this matter, LPNs will likely be phased out the outpatient settings by attrition (taking early retirement, frozen wages, etc.).  LPNs may be retained only if they are enrolled and will complete an RN program within the next 5 years.  The message is clear, if the highly experience LPN wants to remain competitive in the health care industry….get your RN degree!  For fulltime working LPNs, an excellent choice to make the transition from LPN to RN is through a self paced distance learning program such as Excelsior College of New York.  Start your journey from LPN to RN by preparing to test out successfully and complete college credit through examination. 

    The time and money you use to finance your RN degree program are an investment in your family and most importantly….you!

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  • Excelsior College Distance Education Nursing Program

    Most nurses out there know one thing about continuing their education: it takes FOREVER! First you have to decide what college to attend, and then get accepted, register for your general education course requirements, and then your name will be placed on a waiting list for all the nursing course requirements.  Sometimes the waiting list is only a semester however there are colleges with waiting lists of two years or more.  In a society where we can watch the news instantly on our smart phones this seems outrageous.  Who wants to wait 2 years just to start their education? Fortunately for LVNs/LPNs, paramedics and Respiratory Therapists there are options. Today I will outline Excelsior College's Associate Degree in Nursing a great option for distance education.

    Here’s how it works:  

    1. You TEST OUT of all your courses (Yep, it’s that simple).
    2. You start with the general education courses (you don’t even have to be enrolled with Excelsior) and test out and pass all of the required general education courses.
    3. Then you enroll with Excelsior and test out and pass all of the nursing courses.
    4. Once that is complete you schedule your CPNE (Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination).   This is a testing clinical held on a weekend at sites throughout the US.
    5. Once you pass the CPNE all that is left is sitting for your NCLEX exam.
    6. Pass your NCLEX and you are a Registered Nurse!

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  • Testing Out Success: CLEP, DSST and ECE Exams

    Carswell AFB was recognized as a superior performer because of their use of Rosetta Stone and iStudySmart.com’scourses. Carswell AFB went from 5 graduates of the Community College of the Air Force to 77 graduates in one year and iStudySmart.com contributed to that success.
    Chief Master Sgt. Wanda M. Dillon at Carswell Air Force Base in Ft. Worth, Texas

    Thank you so much for your help! I have passed all my requirements for graduation with my BA in Music. Your company has helped me to gain 24 general education credits!
    Maggie Bristol

    Just passed today with an unexpected A! This has been the most difficult course for me, but with iStudySmart materials, I passed on my first try with an A!
    Christine C.

    iStudySmart helped me to complete 3 upper level required course requirements and achieve 'A's on my examinations. The assignments and exams helped me to focus on the information that would be expected of me. iStudySmart saved me time and money.

    Yes! I passed with a score of 72 - the highest of my group of dsst test takers! I answered all the questions (797) in the study guide, and kept reviewing the answers over and over for about three weeks. I took the practice exam twice, and then focused on the ones I got wrong both times. After that, took the practice exam again. Each time I received a better score. I went into the exam confident I would do well, and came out quite excited and fulfilled in my accomplishment. I am glad I purchased the i Study Smart guide. Thanks!
    Confident Test Taker




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  • 7 Study Tips on “Testing Out”

    Taking a test in grade school, although scary at the time, seems like a distance but pleasant memory to most, so how did we make it this far? As kids we took multiple tests through grade school, middle school and high school yet we graduated. But as working adults we cringe at the very thought of test taking.  Will we look back on tests we take now and wonder what the big deal was? I think not. Most kids have one responsibility SCHOOL, now we juggle work, family, social obligations and continuing our education. Testing out of college courses using DSST, CLEP and ECE exams saves money and time, but for some seems daunting. So let me give you a few helpful hints.

    1. Study: I know it may seem obvious but reading + writing = retention.
    2. Sleep: Before taking the exam get a good night’s sleep don’t cram!
    3. Prolong knowledge: Instead of cramming, study a little each day
    4. Eat Well: Stay healthy and feel good, your brain is a vital organ feed it well.
    5. Use good resources: Textbooks, study guides and internet resources. You can buy really cheap textbooks at amazon.com, study guides at iStudySmart.com and two good internet resources are getcollegecredit.com or collegeboard.org.
    6. Eat a good meal before the test: a grumbling stomach can be a distraction that causes you to think of nothing other than that MacDonald’s sign out the testing center’s window.
    7. Don’t Stress: You are PREPARED!

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  • Get Closer to Your Goal with National Education Alliance!

    The National Education Alliance and iStudySmart.com have teamed up and are offering you a FREE membership with absolutely no cost or obligation. That’s a $95 value! Just for being an iStudySmart.com customer you will automatically be enrolled in this complimentary membership with the National Education Alliance.


    So what is the National Education Alliance how can it benefit me?

    The National Education Alliance understands the time and money constraint most Americans face with the task of furthering their education.  So the Alliance is reducing the financial burden that adult learners face by returning to college every day.  They recommend the use of credit by examination to lower that cost. Over 3,800 colleges and universities allow you to earn 25-50% of your degree by “testing out” with credit by examination. Passing CLEP, DSST (formerly DANTES), or ECE exams can help you to achieve your education goals.

    The Alliance has also teamed up with providers to offer you the highest quality products and services. To meet your needs, these providers all deliver multiple layers of academic support and work tirelessly to resolve the issues that have stopped individuals from achieving their dream of completing a college degree.

    You definitely do not want to miss out on the great opportunities that come with this membership!
    Here are a few:

    • Tuition discounts in schools such as Western Governors University and Kaplan
    • Grant and scholarship opportunities sent directly to you
    • Access to innovative educational programs such as Critical Portfolio
    • $100 OFF the National Education Alliance Counseling Center

    The Counseling Center empowers students to explore where they stand in the completion of undergraduate and graduate degrees from accredited colleges and universities across the nation (340 institutions and growing).

    • And more!


    You are already enrolled as a member and can take advantage of ALL member benefits now! To start visit the National Education Alliance Member Benefits page and start saving money while getting closer to your goal TODAY!

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  • Earn Your Degree While Working Full-Time

    Deciding to go back to school and earning your degree can be one of the most rewarding decisions that you can make. However, it can sometimes be easier said than done, especially if you’re working full-time, raising a family or both. How do you manage your time and meet deadlines with work projects as well as course assignments?


    Because of your busy schedule with work and family commitments, you may find it difficult to attend classes, which can delay earning your degree even more.  An option to help adult learners is completing college credit by examination, more commonly known as “testing out” of class. Over 3,800 colleges and universities, both traditional and non-traditional, allow some college credit to be earned through credit by examination.


    The three most widely accepted credit by examination tests are CLEP (College Board), DSST (formerly known as DANTES Subject Standardized Test) and ECE (Excelsior College). When completing college credit by examination, you can earn your degree faster at your own pace while focusing on your work and family commitments.


    iStudySmart.com offers over 60 study courses in business, nursing, humanities, natural science and social science to help you complete college credit and pass these exams. Courses are affordable and special discounts are available for adult learners. Please click here for more details.


    For more information about how iStudySmart.com can help you complete college credit, visit our website  and check out the course options.

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  • Better Job Market for Recent College Grads

    According to a recent article by USA Today, 2011 college graduates are entering a better job market than 2010’s graduates. Additionally, employers have an increase in open positions and plan to hire 19.3% more recent graduates than last year.


    Because of the recession and the need for employers to “tighten up their belts” in 2010, employers had 40.5 applicants per job but didn’t have enough jobs to fill for all the applicants. However, with the recent hiring increase, employers have only half as many applicants per job as last year.


    This job market increase is important for current college students as well. College students who chose to complete college credit through standardized exams can help them complete their degree faster, allowing them to get a head start on their careers. Credit by exam is accepted at over 3,800 colleges and helps adult learners complete college credit while saving money.


    iStudySmart.com provides over 60 effective study courses to assist college students in testing out. The study courses are available in Traditional, Advanced and Premier formats. The courses are structured so adult learners can study at their own pace, where they are most comfortable and test out when they’re ready.


    For a full list of iStudySmart.com’s courses, click here.


    Source: http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/employment/2011-04-21-college-grad-job-market.htm

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  • National Education Alliance Assists Students to Complete College Credit Without Ever Attending a School or a Classroom

    President Barack Obama “proposed a plan to address college completion and strengthen the higher education pipeline to ensure that more students succeed and complete their degree.”*  With this in mind, the National Education Alliance launched its new Career Counseling Center.


    The online counseling center can assist students find colleges that accept prior credits toward their chosen degree. It will also provide students the opportunity to find out which schools will allow them to participate in a credit by examination program.


    In addition to launching the Career Counseling Center, the National Education Alliance has partnered with Rue Education and iStudySmart.com.  Both companies provide in-depth study materials to help adult learners receive full undergraduate college credits through credit by examination. In order to receive the credits, students must pass a subject-matter exam that is comparable to the final or end-of-course exam offered in a traditional college classroom setting.


    Examinations must be approved subject exams, such as:

    ·         College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

    ·         DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)

    ·         Excelsior College Exam (ECE)


    Rue Education and iStudySmart.com provide study material for CLEP, DSST and ECE exams and both companies include a money back guarantee.  iStudySmart.com is the only organization endorsed by DSST.


    CLEP exams are the most widely known credit by examination program in the nation, with more than 2,900 accredited colleges and universities awarding credits for passing these exams. Almost 2,000 colleges and universities honor college credit for passing scores on DSST exams. The ECE exam, formerly known as the ACT Proficiency Examination Program (ACT/PEP), is accepted for college credits by over 900 colleges and universities. The ECE exam is used to meet specific requirements for Excelsior College degrees.


    CLEP, DSST and ECE exams allow adult learners to receive from three to six college credits from a single exam, depending on the exam and the policies of the chosen college or university.


    There are a number of resources available to prepare for these exams. The DSST Official Test Preparation Guide provides an overview of the material for students who feel comfortable with the subject matter.


    In February of 2009 President Barack Obama was quoted as saying, "By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world."*  The National Education Alliance hopes to carry out this goal by assisting adult learners complete college credit and earn their undergraduate degrees.



    National Education Alliance

    Shara Wright, President, 800-230-7565 x1400

    Cell: 817-205-1641, Fax: 866-295-1448




    *Source: WhiteHouse.gov

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  • 2 Smart Ways to Cut College Costs

    The fall semester is starting soon and it’s time to think about returning to college. You know why you want more education but you’re not sure about the how.


    College fees and tuition have increased over the past years, with the greatest increase being in public universities, according to an annual survey by the College Board. The College Board creates and administrates standardized tests such as SAT, AP and CLEP.



    Your schedule is more jammed than ever and money may be an issue. Is it possible to cut costs, save time and still get the education you need?

    The answer is yes – if you utilize a shortcut known as credit by examination or “testing out.” More than 3,800 colleges and universities offer credit by passing CLEP, DSST and ECE exams. You pass the test and get the credit, whether you’ve attended a class or not. These exams allow you to complete college credit for what you already know or to self-study and bypass classroom time.



    The “Testing Out” Option

    Some schools offer their own proficiency exams, which complete credit for those schools only.  For example, Excelsior College offers ECE exams. There are a few colleges that accept credit for ECE exams, but, generally, the credit completed by a school’s specific exam is not transferable if you transfer to another school.


    How Many Credits Can You Get?

    The number varies from college to college and sometimes even by department. But many schools allow you to complete up to 30 credit hours this way.


    If you have a program or school of interest, ask admissions these questions:


    ·         Do you accept credit by examination?

    ·         Do you only accept certain exams?

    ·         What are the passing scores?

    ·         Is there a transfer fee for these credits?


    The fees for taking tests are generally between $77 and $355. Many college testing centers administer the tests, even if you are not a student at that school.



    The Self-Study Option

    Suppose you don’t have the knowledge of the exam yet and would like to study at home instead. How do you get ready for such an exam?


    There are companies that sell study guides for students who want to complete college credit by testing out and need to prepare for the test. Some of these guides are simply outlines and some are more in-depth. If you go to the website for a particular exam, the information about the tests also includes a bibliography. It may be that your local library has the books you need to prepare for the test.



    You may be thinking, “This is too good to be true. What’s the catch?” Here’s one: self-study requires some discipline. With a little effort, it’s possible to study at your own pace, in your own space and save on class time. If you test out of an introductory course or elective, you can move more quickly into advanced courses and core classes.



    This clearly saves you time – and money! You save the cost of sitting in class, not only in tuition fees, but in missed work to attend class, babysitting costs, gas, etc.



    So complete college for you what you know – or will know with home study. It’s a smart way to get an education!



    For more information, contact an iStudySmart.com Educational Consultant at 1-800-737-2222.

    - Article by Sue Perkins, iStudySmart.com

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