The picture above: Master's in Health Administration (Cohort 11 - Graduates of May 2012)
It is often said that the only constant in the world is change. Whether this idea applies to every scenario and environment can be debated; however, one area in which the idea is undeniably true is the health care industry in the United States. Various forces, such as the our aging population, technological advances, health care reform efforts, and increasing patient expectations are driving change at an accelerating rate. These socioeconomic and political forces are pressuring health care organizations to improve quality of care, provide care to more people, and cut costs. Essentially, health care must learn to do more with less, and to do it better than ever before.
Health care leaders must make decisions in light of this truth. Greater emphasis must be placed on how care is delivered far beyond the patient’s point of contact and leaders must be prepared and equipped to both manage the administrative processes and lead all members of the organization through a cultural shift toward efficiency and excellence in all aspects of the business – yes, I said business.
The Master's of Health Administration program at Roberts Wesleyan College teaches the business side of the health care industry. Through academic discourse and practical application the program prepares its students to lead the charge into the future of the industry by providing them with mastery-level competency in a variety of disciplines. The valuable skills learned in the program's course curriculum includes: servant leadership, financial management, continuous improvement and Lean Six Sigma principles, organizational and human resource management, ethics, and the overarching importance of an organization’s vision, mission, and values. The Master's of Health Administration program at Roberts Wesleyan College provides its students with the tools they need to grow as professionals, leaders, and people. I am confident that its graduates will continue to be leaders and change agents upon the shifting landscape of the health care industry in the United States.
Senior Compensation Analyst
Master's of Health Administration (2012 Graduate)
Combat veterans have a difficult transition to make from serving their country in active war zones, to assimilating back into civilian life. This process can often feel isolating and troublesome – veterans may find that the skill set that served them well on the battle field may not be as helpful in day-to-day civilian life. Not to mention, unemployment rates in the U.S. are higher than ever, which can cause a combat veteran’s job search to become incredibly frustrating. However, using this transition time to attend college after combat may be the best way to assimilate back into civilian life, while gaining the education and tools necessary to become more marketable in a competitive economy.
Here are a few suggestions to help veterans transition to college after combat:
- Look for “Military Friendly Schools” that can help navigate the process of applying to, finding funding for, and enrolling into college. With thousands of schools to choose from, the Military Friendly Schools Guide can help narrow the field to select schools that meet the unique needs of active duty and veteran servicemen and women.
- Take advantage of the tuition benefits! The benefits are phenomenal for active duty members, veterans, and their spouses who are seeking a college education. Depending on the branch or length of service, there are many types of military, federal, and private aid that can greatly reduce or eliminate “out-of-pocket” expenses. Benefits can be used toward tuition, books and even housing. The two most common military benefits are the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program. The Department of Veteran Affairs’ website (http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/index.html) is a great resource for learning more about all military educational benefits. On top of military benefits, college applicants may be eligible for other financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, and low-interest loans that can help pay any balance due after military tuition benefits have been applied to the tuition bill. To be eligible for non-military financial aid all college applicants should complete the FASFA form (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ ).
- Use military experience for college credit – Military training may be worth college credit! When applying to college ask about converting military training into college credit and have military transcripts sent to the college for evaluation. Receiving college credit for military training will save time and money!
- Look for College Credit-by-Examination Programs – Another great way to save time and money is by taking examinations in one of the 150 different subject areas. These exams are a great way to “test-out” of a subject area and earn college credit quickly and for less money than taking the class. The two most popular ways to earn College Credit-by-Examination are the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) or the College Level Entrance Examination Program (CLEP) exam.
- Look for adult, time-shortened college programs – Active duty or veteran serviceman or woman may find it difficult to attend traditional classes that force one to fit their life into a full-time class schedule and relate to 18 year-olds who just left home. These non-traditional programs are uniquely geared to fit the circumstances and situations of adults with families and other responsibilities. Some programs meet one-night per week and can be completed in as few as 15 months or taken asynchronously online. Either way, these programs help buy back precious time. Please note that a time-shortened degree does not mean “easy” or “less work.” As a rule of thumb, for every hour spent “in class” expect 3-4 hours of work outside of class.
Colleges can provide the perfect opportunity for active duty and veteran servicemen and women to get their bearings after returning from combat. However, make sure the college or university chosen is a Military Friendly School with faculty and staff who are able to provide support through the process of enrolling and completing a degree. All colleges are not the same academically or in regard to their support services. Be sure to ask the admission counselor if his/her school is able to accommodate the unique needs of active duty and veteran servicemen and women before applying. Happy college searching!
In today’s society, it can seem almost impossible for a person with adult responsibilities to return to school full-time. That person may struggle with the question of how to make full-time college fit into a full-time schedule. Whether it be preparing dinner for your children after they return home from school or meeting deadlines on the job, these, among others, are valid concerns for anyone pondering the notion of returning to school. However, attending college full-time is achievable with proper planning and preparation.
Phase 1: Planning
Overcoming the challenge of how to make full-time college fit into a full-time schedule may be difficult but with proper planning it’s very attainable. First, one must acknowledge the purpose for returning to school. Most people decide to go to college later in life to advance their career or to make them more employable by improving upon their professional skills. Others may have already begun a degree program and are returning to complete it. Whatever the reason, non-traditional students must have a clear objective to determine what steps they need to take to reach that goal, as well as to keep them motivated throughout the degree program. Planning also involves deciding which colleges to apply to based upon the current needs and responsibilities of the student. Optimize schedules and commitments by determining if it’s possible to reprioritize, consolidate, reschedule or even cut some things out altogether. Many colleges and universities today make it more convenient than ever for non-traditional students to fit full-time college into a full-time schedule. With the number of non-traditional students on the rise, more colleges are offering flexible course schedules, online degree programs and even accelerated degrees that meet one night per week. Based on scheduling and commitments determine if a flexible online degree or predictable accelerated program (one night per week) are best. It is the student’s responsibility in the planning phase to determine which college and class schedule would be the best fit based upon individual necessities and time restraints. The next step is to apply to the chosen college and gain acceptance. Once accepted into a degree program, the student must prepare for balancing student life with other responsibilities.
Phase 2: Preparation
Upon acceptance into a degree program, the non-traditional student must make preparations for actually attending college. For example, if the student works full-time, perhaps the employer will allow some flexibility in the work schedule to accommodate the student’s course schedule. This may be especially true if the student is using the degree to further advance within the same company. Furthermore, it may be worthwhile to inquire with the employer about funding some of the degree program costs. Many employers will pay for books or courses that directly relate to the business. This may help with the financial burden of returning to school. Another example is that many non-traditional students have families. Make sure to have a conversation with your family regarding your decision to return to college. This will help you gain the necessary support needed to maintain house chores and responsibilities. Also, don’t forget to make the necessary arrangements if child or elder care is needed. Making these arrangements ahead of time will make attending classes more enjoyable and offer peace of mind that loved ones will be taken care of. Lastly, scheduling time to study is often overlooked in the preparation phase. It is important to decide ahead of time which days/times will be set aside for studying and where you will study. With proper preparation, transitioning into college life will be much easier and the student should be more successful.
Again, the question of how to make full-time college fit into a full-time schedule may seem unattainable with all the family and job responsibilities facing the non-traditional student today. Yet, with careful planning and preparation, the seemingly impossible can become possible.