The Fastest and Most Affordable Path to a College Degree — Regardless of Your Major

It’s no secret that the cost of education continues to increase year after year. Education Data Initiative reported in January 2022,” The average price of college tuition & fees at public 4-year institutions has risen 179.2% over the last 20 years for an average annual increase of 9.0%.” In most cases, wages haven’t kept pace with the cost of higher ed, so what can a prospective college student do to offset some of this cost? I want to share what I’ve learned that may help you save $10,000 to $40,000 or more!

 

Years ago, I found similarities in university degree programs, on-campus or online; most programs require several general education courses. These courses may account for up to 2 years of a 4-year degree. While that number may be smaller in programs such as medicine and engineering, tuition for these courses costs no less than those in the major area of study.

 

General education courses are required for most undergraduate degree programs. They do not change based on the major. While there are literally hundreds of college majors, most need the same general education courses. You should consult your school to determine what they require.

 

I’ve taken advantage of programs offering a cost-effective solution to this coursework for my children and grandchildren. They did not need to sacrifice the quality or transferability of these courses as they navigated their program, and we’ve saved thousands of dollars literally in the process.

 

Here are some examples of general education courses:

  • Music
  • Art
  • Philosophy
  • English Composition
  • English Literature
  • Foreign Language
  • Western Civilization
  • US History
  • Math
  • Statistics
  • Sciences
  • Sociology
  • Public Speaking
  • Psychology
  • World Religions
  • Anthropology

 

Distance Learning System offers a program you may want to consider. They provide 100% online courses that are recognized by the American Council on Education and accepted by over 30 of their top-tier university partners. These online courses cost less than half the national average and are completed online in about half the time of traditional college courses. My position has always been, why pay more for the same thing? My answer has always been that I shouldn’t.

 

If you can save 60% to 80% on the first two years of your 4-year degree and receive the same quality education, why not take advantage of the opportunity? These programs are open to high school students preparing for college or working adults interested in fast-tracking their career and income potential. Good luck in your quest for higher education.

 

Written By: Dave Christy

Professional Certificates – An Employers Perspective

Years ago, when I first started flying, my flight instructor gave me advice appropriate for anyone involved in aviation. His advice was, “never stop learning.” Indeed, that was true for a new pilot, but even in an environment where life and death are not the issues, that advice always rings true. Many years have passed since my instructor challenged me to keep learning, and in all these years, I can honestly say that I’ve never once felt like I didn’t need to know more. There are always new technologies and challenges in business, and even our personal lives present new challenges almost daily.

 

Dating back to 1597, Francis Bacon coined the phrase “Knowledge is Power,” which Thomas Jefferson used when discussing the establishment of a state university in Virginia. In 1817 he also related knowledge with power, safety, and happiness. I think it’s widely accepted that there is a quantifiable benefit to knowledge.

 

Most everyone would agree that a university education lays the groundwork for a successful professional life, but today there are options that many employers value and support. These are professional certificates. We all know that a degree may prepare the holder for almost any type of degree, but professional certification does even more. A professional certificate provides focused training for a specific career. These could be in marketing, data science & analytics, environmental, social, leadership, business, finance, or hundreds more. Certificates are earned more quickly and at a significantly lower cost than a degree and may prepare you for that dream job!

 

As an employer, I view the holder of professional certification as:

  1. A team member or applicant is someone committed to excellence
  2. A team member who is committed to growing with the organization
  3. An asset that helps build trust with clients
  4. An individual interested in a long-term relationship with our organization

 

A professional certificate holder demonstrates:

  1. Validation of Knowledge
  2. Increased marketability
  3. Increased earning power
  4. Enhanced credibility

 

“Never stop learning” has served me well over the years, and this fundamental truth will work for anyone interested in growth. Several institutions provide this exciting growth opportunity, but you might explore certificates from Distance Learning Systems by visiting https://catalog.mindedge.com/dlsii. They also offer an accelerated and affordable path to over 450 online degree programs sponsored by major universities throughout the US.

 

Written By: Dave Christy

5 Reasons You Must Go to College

Much has been written about college versus the trades, work versus school, and other similar comparisons. I’ve heard so many young people say they want their own place, a new car, toys; you name it. Very seldom do you hear a young person these days say, “I can’t wait to go to college!” And yet, that remains the primary source for acquiring all those other things they want out of life.

 

Is college important? Absolutely! What about going into the trades; is that a good option for young people? Absolutely! But, regardless of a young person’s path, the college experience provides a solid foundation in life and business. There are so many options available to post-secondary education students; the real dilemma might be where to attend and what to study rather than whether I should get a college degree. Of course, you should. Education has no downside, and it is important to remember that knowledge is power.

 

So, what are some of the advantages of earning a college degree?

  1. You’ll earn more over your lifetime. The BLS confirms that workers with a bachelor’s degree earn a median income of $524 per week more than workers with only a high school diploma. That’s an increase of more than $27,000 a year. That translates to a lifestyle change for the college graduate.
  2. Reduced chance of unemployment. Even though not required for some positions, a college degree is NOT ignored by future employers. As an employer myself, I understand and appreciate the discipline and hard work needed to complete a college education, and I absolutely factor that in when evaluating prospective employees.
  3. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center report, workers with a bachelor’s degree or more advanced education were 70% more likely to view their job as a career than just 39% of workers without college. The bottom line, college-educated workers experience greater job satisfaction.
  4. While the other reasons for earning a college degree are statistically impactful, there are other more personal reasons to earn a college degree. The Lumina Foundation determined that college graduates may demonstrate healthier habits than those without a degree. It may be hard to believe, but your education can directly impact your health.
  5. According to findings by the Lumina Foundation, 94% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher reported being very happy with life, compared to 89% with no college education.

 

There isn’t a downside to acquiring post-secondary education. Time spent earning that degree will give the young person an opportunity to mature, learn, make more, and secure their future. A college degree may translate to achieving a lifelong dream with countless personal and financial rewards for the mature adult.

 

At Distance Learning Systems, we speak to incoming adult students every day. Some may require retraining for a new career, others may need a degree to upgrade within their chosen profession, and others may wish to achieve personal goals. Our 30+ university partners offer over 450 fully online degrees, and we can help you save significant time and money. Whatever your reason for considering college, we wish you the very best and want to encourage you to take advantage of some of the world’s finest institutions of higher learning.

 

Written By: Dave Christy

Ever Dreamed of Becoming an Airline Pilot?

 

It may be faster and easier than you think!

If you’ve traveled lately or even watched the news regarding airline travel over the July 4th weekend, you certainly know there is a shortage of airline pilots. Most sources say there are about 14,000 openings for commercial pilots annually—results of many things, including buyouts over COVID-19, the return of pre-pandemic air traffic levels, and more. The jobs are available, and airlines are scrambling to fill them, but it’s an uphill battle. If you have ever dreamed of becoming an airline pilot, I advise DO IT NOW!

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Here are some of the most popular reasons to become a commercial airline pilot:

  1. Indescribable fun flying an aircraft (might as well have fun at work, right?)
  2. Flexible schedule
  3. Live where you want
  4. Dynamic work environment (no two days are the same)
  5. Travel benefits for you, your family, and friends
  6. Public perception (who doesn’t look at an airline pilot when boarding and think, what a fantastic job)
  7. Very High Income: Seniority translates to higher pay, choice schedules, and quality of life

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You would be hard-pressed to find a more secure profession with higher pay and a more exciting lifestyle than an airline pilot…and you can do this! I remember how I felt when I did my first solo flight; there is simply nothing as emotionally satisfying as pulling back on the yoke and lifting off—an incredible sensation.

Income

The pay and benefits of being a commercial airline pilot are pretty hard to beat. Aside from the travel and other benefits, you’ll receive as a commercial pilot; your income will firmly place you in a profession that provides an exceptional lifestyle. While the average annual wage for a commercial pilot in 2018 was $130,059 (CHRON), the yearly income for captains with Delta, Southwest, FedEx, and others with experience can eclipse $300,000 annually. Lots of fun – Lots of travel – Lots of money!

How do I get there? 

To become a commercial pilot with an airline, you’ll be required to earn a bachelor’s degree. Here’s the good news. Distance Learning Systems and our university partners offer a fully online bachelor’s degree in aviation. You will begin your program with Distance Learning Systems, save about half the typical tuition, and complete your courses 100% online in about half the time. You’ll also receive a discount on the remainder of your bachelor’s degree. You’ll have access to a flight center near your home where you’ll do your flight training (the most fun you’ll ever have). As you complete your degree and flight training, you’ll receive a private pilot license, instrument rating, flight instructor status, and commercial pilot license. You can even earn money as an instructor while you complete your program!

If this is your dream, we encourage you to contact us today! Classes start weekly, and we’d love to get you started on this incredible journey.

 

Written by Dave Christy

It’s Never Too Late to Be On Time

You may take issue with the title of this message, and in most cases, I would agree; however, in the context of when to start college, nothing could be more true.

Most people would agree that the best time to begin college training would be immediately after high school. A marketing services firm tells us that more than 47% of students attending colleges or universities in the US are older than 25. Another interesting statistic is the percentage of non-traditional students in the US, which is 74% says NCES (National Center for Education Statistics). So, if you’ve been out of school for several years or the job market has forced you to retrain and upgrade your professional skills at any age, you are not alone!

Our office receives calls from prospective students of all ages, some even approaching retirement. A lady in Roanoke, Virginia, once told me her dream was to earn her RN. She had been an LPN most of her life and always wanted to earn that title. She enrolled, completed her program, earned her RN, and called me to brag a bit. She was incredible.

Online education has exploded over the last few years. It offers flexibility, especially for non-traditional adult students. Self-paced, online programs allow the student to continue working and raising a family.

If you find yourself in a position that requires additional education, you are not alone. There are unprecedented opportunities in today’s job market. Ever thought about becoming an RN? There are tens of thousands of RN positions open across the country. Have you dreamed about flying? Major airlines are scrambling to find more pilots. The USBLS says there will be over 14,500 openings for pilots over the next few years. These high-paying positions are just waiting for you to complete your academic training to secure higher pay, better benefits, and job security.

There has never been a better time to pursue higher education, regardless of age. So, you see, “On time” is relative, and it never is too late to be on time. Distance Learning Systems is a great place to start your journey. With over 30 university partnerships across the nation, Distance Learning Systems can save you time and money in pursuing your degree. DLSI will start you on the road to your choice of over 450 online degree programs that truly are life-changing. You should call them today; you’ll be right on time!

 

Written by Dave Christy

How to Choose an Online School

Today, with the advancement in technology and the rising costs of education, more and more people seek to earn a degree online. We understand that traditional education may not be for everyone. 

People have families, jobs, or obligations that keep them busy throughout the day, so earning a degree online is another way to achieve their educational goals without ever stepping onto campus. If you think you are one of these people, selecting an online college or university to earn your degree can be stressful and challenging for some to navigate. 

There can be many different things to consider when choosing the best online school for you, so we’ve put together a list of 3 helpful and quick tips for choosing an online university or college.

 

Tip #1: Choose an Accredited School

Earning a degree from an accredited school is essential because it helps determine if a college or university meets or exceeds minimum quality standards and maintains specific educational standards. It would be best if you took the time to research accredited colleges and universities that offer online degrees, which could impact your future career. An excellent place to start your research is on the U.S. Department of Education website https://www.ed.gov/accreditation. If researching is not something you have the time for, some online education providers customize paths to earning a degree online from an accredited school. 

Tip #2: Make Sure its 100% Online

Deciding on your major is an important decision, along with the school you choose, and not every university or college makes all of their majors available online. This can make it tricky for those who want to earn a degree online for the career they want to pursue. Some degree programs can be hybrid, a mix of online and on-campus courses, and not 100% online. If you know the degree you want, you will want to verify that your degree and classes are all online. If you are unsure of your major, there are online education providers that offer Gen Ed and General Elective courses that you can earn college credits and transfer those credits towards hundreds of different degree programs.

Tip #3: Research Costs and Admission Requirements

The cost of education and the admission requirements can be a big hurdle to clear. Investing in your education is an investment in yourself and your future. Still, you’ll want to start by comparing tuition costs, other fees, financial aid, and checking admission requirements. Also, ensure you don’t miss additional expenses such as course fees, textbook fees, course materials, labs, and technology fees. If evaluating the costs and admission requirements becomes too confusing or daunting, there are online education providers that will help you better understand the cost and admission requirements for obtaining your degree from an online school.

 

 Following these tips will equip you with the information you need to find the best online college or university or choose help from an online education provider. Distance Learning Systems is one online education provider that helps students enroll in some of the nation’s top online colleges and universities. Also known as DLSI, Distance Learning Systems is a premier provider of coursework that satisfies degree requirements for regionally accredited university partners. 

 

Written by Justin Hart

We’d Like to Hear From You!

To those of you that read these blogs consistently, thank you so much. Having an audience rather than feeling like I am writing into the void is a rewarding experience, so again, thank you. Seeing the reactions to articles, stories and interviews never gets less heartwarming for me. Especially when I can relate to even just one person.

Now I typically write about different topics that I come up with or that seem like a good fit at the moment, but now I want to hear from you guys! To our students, prospective students, and just general followers of our page, what do you want to read about?

We get great feedback especially when I do interviews and personal pieces. So, what type of topic would be personal to you? Do you need motivation? Time management tips? More information on the nursing field? Or would you like to hear about different job opportunities in different areas of study? Let us know!

Leave a comment on this post telling us what you would like to hear next. I’m all ears!

– Lucy

Letters to Yourself: A Gift for Graduation Day

Have you written a letter to your future self before? When I was in eighth grade, I had a history teacher that had us write a letter to our future selves, which would be opened at a later date close to high school graduation. We were instructed to write about our current hobbies, favorite music, friends, and our future hopes and goals. I wrote about how my volleyball and track seasons were going and how I hoped one day I would be a college athlete. I wrote about the Black Eyed Peas and how much I loved them and my favorite songs. Cringey, right? I finished my letter by telling my future self what I hoped I would accomplish in the next four years and reminded future me to not be so hard on myself.

Over the course of the next few years, I forgot all about the letter I wrote, until the day before graduation when I finally was able to read it. When I unsealed the letter and read what 13 year old me had written, I laughed and cringed and eventually was brought to tears. I was shocked by what had changed, but thankful for the personal growth I saw. I was heading to college to major in Secondary Education and as a member of my university’s volleyball team. I no longer listened to the Black Eyed Peas (except for the occasional throwback), and I was still working on being an advocate for myself and finding my voice. The letter was such a breath of fresh air, I then came up with the idea of writing a letter to my future self for when I graduated college. Being 17, my goals for the future were different. I sat down and wrote another letter to myself, this time, to open the day before I graduated from college.

Three years later, I unsealed yet another letter from myself. The emotions I felt while reading that letter were indescribable. My younger self had written about how I was nervous to leave home, moving to a place where I didn’t know a soul.

She was scared of living up to the standards she had set for herself but was determined to make her family proud. The last thing she wrote about was finding happiness.

Younger me had been struggling with knowing where she belonged and just wanted to find her place in this world. Reading my final letter urged me to reflect on my past three years. Three years full of switching majors, an athletic career cut short by injury, one too many crazy hair phases, gaining lifetime friends, goals I reached and even the ones I fell short on. Reading my letter made me more conscious of how I have changed and grown. It reminded me of some of my past visions that I lost track of along the way. It made me appreciate how far I have come and it made me look forward to the future.

Memories tend to fade and become distorted over time, making them unreliable by the time you graduate. It’s far better to put pen to paper and write down all of your hopes and dreams, your visions and aspirations, as well as ask some mindful questions that only your future self can answer.

As you write your letter, your current thoughts and consciousness will be stored in your words. And as you read it after graduation, months or years later, you will be provided with a different perspective, letting you see just how much you have changed since then. Write to yourself. Include your goals and your fears. Ask yourself questions, and offer advice to your future self. There are no restrictions on how far you should project your letter to — you can write to your future self 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, or even 10 years from now!

A few quick few prompts to start your letter could be…
  1. Ambitious: “In (number of years) I would like to achieve…”
  2. Goal-driven: “My goal for (date/year) is…”
  3. Motivating: “Dear future self, I would like to encourage/motivate you to…”

Learning to eLearn

In a time where we are more connected through technology than we have ever been, eLearning is just another advancement that has been created for both students and companies. But what is eLearning?

According elearningnc.gov, to eLearning, or electronic learning, is “learning utilizing electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom. In most cases, it refers to a course, program or degree delivered completely online.”

eLearning can be delivered to students through the use of computers, tablets, laptops, and even mobile phones. eLearning is not limited to just school, however. It also can be utilized for training and teaching purposes.

Many of the country’s school districts plan to begin the fall semester online-only. With the current events causing many schools to switch to online learning, both parents and students may both need guidance through these new classroom experiences. To make the best of this situation, here are some tips to help you adapt to learning from home.

The environment you immerse yourself in can be one of your biggest distractions. It’s important that you feel comfortable in your space. It should be quiet and have minimal clutter.

Restricting or cutting back on your device use may be a strategy that works for those who have difficulty focusing. Extensive use of electronics such as phones and tablets can be associated with health issues, such as obesity and depression. Small amounts of daily screen time can be beneficial.

Some students may find it tasking to sit through an entire lecture. This gives you a great reason to utilize recorded lectures! Take breaks. 30 minutes into your lecture, get up, stretch, walk around. Take 5-10 minutes to refresh yourself, then sit back down to focus. Allowing time for exercise before you are expected to focus on learning might be a good idea. Exercise is one of the best stress relievers and is a natural way to prevent anxiety. It could be a great way to get in the correct headspace before a class. Consider standing during your online courses, as many people often have more success standing rather than sitting.

Creating a schedule that is the same day to day will allow a smooth transition into eLearning. Research shows that students who have higher GPAs are usually better at time management. Our lives love structure, so try to manage your time with a set schedule.

Instead of jumping right into a set schedule, you should first make small adjustments. Try to get yourself on the same schedule every day and stick to it. That means the same wake-up time and same wind-down time. Start schoolwork at the same hour each day in order to form a routine.

Each and every student is different, and it’s useful to find out what learning style best suits your needs. At the end of each week or every other week, take the time to step back and evaluate your schedule. Look at how you spent your time each day, what areas you need to dedicate more time to and where you are spending too much time. Then, decide how long each night you should be spending on your work and which nights should be dedicated to which classes. Take a look at what habits are benefiting you and which are hindering you. Adjust accordingly.

Tweaking your schedule may be necessary as the class days pass by. If you find yourself struggling with certain classes or assignments, try new ways to spend more time working on that assignment/subject. Find your “peak time” or the time when you are most productive. Then, save your most difficult assignments for that time! This will encourage productivity.

Lastly, stay social while social distancing. Interacting with others not only keeps your mind stimulated and increases overall happiness, but it will help you find the support you may need. Utilizing Zoom or Skype is a great option. Students can work together and offer classmates help with subjects they may be struggling with. Emails, class chats, and discussions are other ways to get that social interaction. These are all great methods to find support.

Although eLearning may be brand new to some and it can be very intimidating, it can provide so many benefits that traditional classrooms cannot. Creating flexible schedules and breaks, self-pacing, and finding what works for you are opportunities all associated with eLearning. With the range of benefits, it gives to students, along with accommodating students and their families to keep everyone safe during a pandemic, eLearning has been widely accepted and appreciated among parents, teachers, and students across the country and the world.

What I Wish I Would Have Known Before College

There is no step by step guide to survive school while pursuing a higher education degree. Many people describe college as some of the best years of their lives. However, higher education is a dramatic lifestyle change that can be hard to adapt to for many students. As a recent graduate reflecting on my college years, there are a few things I wish I had realized before I entered college. Here are a few things I wish I would’ve known, including stress, studying and money management.

In high school I was a three sport athlete, a member of the National Honor Society, the secretary for the student council and part of many other committees. I balanced these activities very well and loved every minute of it. However, the set schedule I was used to changed when I came to college. You are in charge of managing your schedule. No one is there to guide you along. This can be a major change of pace for many people. So my tip to you is to set a schedule. Sit down and plan out your week. Designate times to do assignments, tests and to study. Stick to your routine. Your grades will thank you.

If you had poor study habits in high school, it’s time to make a change. Students are often shocked by how much effort they must put into their classes. Even though students are often told how much time and effort they will have to put into their classes, they are typically stunned when they are actually expected to do it. If you’re really struggling, reach out to your advisor for helpful tips on how to manage your course work. They may also have resources available to you to make studying easier or more enjoyable! Don’t take on more than you can handle. Some students can handle four courses at a time while others may only be able to focus on one. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, that’s okay! Progress isn’t linear. Lastly, ask friends and loved ones what worked for them or look up studying tips online. If one method fails, don’t give up! Everyone is different, you just need to find your niche.

In all honesty, college was the most stressful time of my life. When my routine was no longer existent, I found that I had to discover new ways to manage stress and anxiety. It wasn’t until my junior year that I was able to find ways to manage that stress that worked for me. I found that what worked for me didn’t necessarily work for my friends. I had always been an extremely active person, so I naturally gravitated towards fitness to take my mind off of whatever I was stressed about. Going to the gym at the end of the day helped me relax and refocus. Other stress relievers can be painting, reading a book or even just watching a movie or tv for a little while. Find a healthy coping mechanism and make sure to incorporate it into your new routine.

Last but not least, money. Money can be a huge concern while earning your degree, and managing it can be difficult. My advice would be to set a budget or allowance for yourself. You can make it weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. Factor in the cost of your loans, along with other expenses such as books and materials. When I made my budget, I also included money for food, extracurriculars along with how much money I would put into savings. I really stress putting money aside for savings. When my senior year rolled around, I was able to pay off my whole first semester with what money I had put aside which saved me the stress of paying more interest on my loan. Every bit counts, save what you can, when you can.

For many students, college is a whole new world and what comes along with it can be stressful and overwhelming. Finding what works for you during this time is extremely important. Sometimes, though, a little guidance can be helpful — take it from people who learned the hard way.