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Finals are tough. No one enjoys taking them. But they’re a necessary evil for every college student. Studying for the big test is important -- of course, you know that. As finals approach it’s important to maintain consistent study sessions. When you’re getting those study juices flowing, remember these tips to maximize your time and efforts.

1. Make a Schedule

You’re a working adult student. You’ve had to carve out time to go to class, write papers, create presentations, study for tests; making time specifically to study for a final is not anything new to you. Don’t overlook or take for granted the time needed to study for the biggest exam of the semester. What’s the best way to eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time. Think of your study sessions the same way. You’ll retain more information if you divide up the material into manageable chunks, and spread out the units over the number of days you have for studying.

2. Find a Quiet Place to Concentrate

No matter what your study and homework sessions looked like throughout the semester, you have to devote your time to studying without distractions before finals. Generally, it’s the biggest portion of your grade for the class. Do you really want to risk anything less than your best because your little one chucked macaroni at you, or the line at Starbucks wrapped around your study table?

3. Ask Questions

Your professors are here to help you learn, grow, and retain the information so you can apply it in your career. If you’re unsure about a topic, ask for clarification. Make sure you set yourself up to understand. Pro tip: if your professor provides you with study guides or a practice final, complete it! Mark it up. Write all over it. And take the practice test a couple of times.

4. Cater to Your Learning Style and Preferences

By the time finals roll around you should be familiar with what works for you during your study sessions. Stick to that game plan. It’s not the time to deviate and try something new. Do what you do, and then knock it out of the park!

5. Take a Break and Rest

This is a biggie. Don’t get so bogged down studying before finals week that you kill your energy and have nothing left in the tank. Have faith that you’ve prepared yourself throughout the course for this last moment. Study and do your thing, but then take time for yourself and relax. Finish the race strong! Finals week sounds daunting and demanding than it really is. It is rigorous, but you’re a working adult student. You’re a rockstar! When you’re walking out of your exam know that you’ve accomplished a lot in taking and completing the course. Savor the feeling and know you’re thriving in college.

The Evolving Landscape of Human Resources

The working world has changed dramatically, and the need for a degree is evident in every career field, including human resources. As organizational expectations of the potential contributions of a human resources professional have increased, so has the need for HR leaders to possess both experience and a degree.

The Role of Human Resources in Business Success

Human resources managers and supervisors are keys to overall business success. Everyone understands that human resources is entrusted with sensitive business materials, but they are also expected to contribute to employee retention, candidate recruitment, organizational development, and fostering a positive working environment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: A master's degree in human resources, labor relations, or in business administration with a concentration in human resources management is highly recommended for those seeking general and top management positions."

Benefits of Furthering Your Education

Furthering your education with a Master’s degree can only benefit your career long-term. Human resource practitioners enjoy a variety of career options and can flex different strengths within their job. There is diversity in the field.

Amberton University's Human Resource Training and Development Program

At Amberton University, graduate students in the Human Resource Training and Development program move on to fill leadership positions in human resources, training and development, recruiting and staffing, team development, and consulting roles in both public and private settings. The faculty in the Human Resources program are dedicated to their students' success, focusing on the benefit and growth of the whole individual. “Our professors are high touch. We’re constantly reaching out to our students, seeing what we can do to help them. We are there for our students, we respond quickly, I think that’s what differentiates us,” said Amberton Faculty member Dr. DiAnn Sanchez.

Take the Next Step in Your Career

If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, reach out to Amberton University advisors or read about the program here.
Guess what? School is going to be stressful. Going to school and working and keeping up with your responsibilities is going to be tough. You’re going to be overwhelmed.

Embracing Time Management

But guess what else? There are hundreds of stress management techniques that will help you through the grind. Unmanaged stress is costly. Allowing the pressure to build and your anxiety to run rampant will affect your mental and physical health, and the quality of your production.

1. Mastering Time Management

Manage your time effectively by having a game plan in place to make the most of your 24-hour day. Knowing what you need to get done, how long it will take, and when you’re going to commit to completing it will keep your stress levels as low as they can be.

2. Discover Relaxation Techniques

Learn the best ways to relax yourself. Find what calms you and re-energizes you. Commit to regular, consistent self-maintenance to ease your stress and decompress.

3. Let Go of Minor Issues

Don’t sweat the little things. Focus on the things you can control and let the other things do what they will. Be resilient like a duck, letting the nuisances roll off your back.

4. Cultivate Positivity

Be positive! Give yourself affirmations about how awesome and inspirational you are. Never get down on yourself for making the choice to take the hard road.

5. Maintain Emotional Balance

Avoid extreme reactions. Maintain an even keel, work hard, and enjoy the ride. Don’t let stress cause you to spiral into turmoil. Stress doesn’t have to dictate your life or your college experience. Don’t allow the pressures to decrease your ability to complete your coursework as best you can. You can find a healthy balance while working and going to school. And you’ll do great!
Life is all about problem-solving, time management, and efficiency. Professional success is often found for those who understand how to manage the nuances and functions surrounding these issues. Enter: the project manager.

Navigating the Landscape of Time Management

Many companies across many different industries incorporate project managers into their day-to-day operations and business models. They need a jack of all trades—someone who can analyze a problem, effectively strategize how to solve it, skillfully manage a team to execute the plan, and communicate efficiently to all players involved. “Project management is a pretty broad field. It deals primarily with being able to identify a set of requirements that various stakeholders in the company might have, then being able to take those requirements and build a program or project to address or solve those requirements,” said Amberton Business Associate Faculty Dr. Blair Stephenson.

The Role of Project Managers

When you’re deciding where you want to pursue a degree in project management, keep in mind the importance of practical application. You need to be able to prove you have the capacity to achieve, as much as you have the knowledge and academic understanding of it. Your technical skills are equally important as your cognitive abilities.

Practical Application

“Amberton has such a focus on being practical in the delivery and the content of the courses that we try to provide. As you move through the courses, you don’t really have to wait until you have the degree to gain value from what you’re studying,” Dr. Stephenson said.

Flexibility Beyond Graduation

A Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Project Management does provide you with some degree of flexibility. Basic principles and applications can be adapted across many industries. Don’t be afraid of being pigeonholed after graduation. Take the experiences and testimonies from your instructors and peers, and modify them to your own needs and success. Check out what Amberton’s professors have to say about the Project Management degree program here. If you think Amberton’s BBA in Project Management could be the right fit for you, contact our advisors at advisors@amberton.edu or by phone at 972.279.6511 now!

Choosing Your Learning Environment: Online vs On Campus

Time to get rockin’ and rollin’ on that degree. But, wait! Are you going to take your courses online or on campus? There really is a difference and it matters which way you choose to go. We live in a world full of options. Everything is based on convenience and can be adjusted to fit your needs.

Self-Reflection: Understanding Your Learning Style

Before you wade into a pros and cons list, you need to do some self-reflection. How do you learn best? Are you motivated and driven to the point of staying accountable and on top of your assignments without face-to-face contact? How will you react if the subject matter is difficult? Knowing and understanding how you’ll adjust to online or in-class learning will affect what you glean from your college experience. Be realistic about your lifestyle, personality and expectations of the college experience and choose the one that’s right for you.

Learning Style Considerations

Learning Style In the 1970’s, defining individualized learning styles changed how educators in America interacted and related materials to their students. Various models and theories suggest there are four main ways an individual learns best.
  • Visual/Verbal - you prefer to learn information by reading.
  • Visual/Nonverbal - you learn best with visual information, such as charts and graphs.
  • Auditory - you learn much more when the information is spoken to you, such as in a lecture .
  • Kinesthetic - you need to physically work with the information, such as a hands-on lab Many schools have adjusted their online classes to better engage different learning styles.
Professors upload video content to help aid auditory learners. Kinesthetic learners are challenged through critical thinking written response questions and discussions. Even though online classes of today are different than online classes even five to seven years ago, recognize and understand how you will be best engaged in your courses, and pay attention to how you absorb information differently in your online and on-campus classes.

Support Systems: Going Solo vs Having a Guide

There is a difference between online/keyboard interaction and actual face time with your instructor and classmates. If you work remotely, you know exactly what this means. Relationships are strengthened when you’re physically communicating with others. Sometimes that can make a difference in what you take from a class. Amberton’s class model is based on flexibility for the working adult. Classes are scheduled on evenings and weekends to allow students to juggle both their professional and educational lives. So don’t worry about having to decide between online classes and attending on campus simply to accommodate your schedule. There’s no right or wrong answer when deciding to take online or traditional courses. It’s based on your personal preference, and understanding yourself and your needs. Contact one of our academic advisors to see if online classes at Amberton University is the right fit for you!

Simply skating through college and getting the work done isn’t anyone’s idea of a great college experience - traditional student or otherwise. If you just want to tread water and get a piece of paper in the end, maybe college isn’t for you.

As an adult learner, it’s safe to say you probably want to thrive and grow during the course of your college career.

It cannot be understated that adult learners have a leg up on students entering college straight out of high school. You have maturity, you have professional and life experience, and you have the skills needed to juggle it all.

When the road seems long and unending, remember: you were made to excel and to achieve much.

Keep in mind some of these basic tips:

Seek a Balance

Rest is an essential part of the human condition. Everyone needs it, everyone benefits from it. Seek and establish a balance between work, school, family and friends.

Don’t get sucked into the vortex of research papers, tests and studying. The better able you are to shift gears, the better you’ll feel and the more you will accomplish in each of your roles.

Be Prepared to Feel Overwhelmed

College is a season of character building. There’s a lot going in your life right now. Expect to have moments where it seems a bit too much. As odd as it might seem, be prepared to feel completely unprepared.

The trick is knowing that you’re not the only one feeling that way. Every single college student has felt that way on more than one occasion. Focus on the horizon and ignore the waves
around you.

Become an Expert on Course Requirements and Due Dates

Your professors will give you all the details you need to be successful for the semester. Memorize the syllabus. You’ll be saving yourself a lot of heartache if you know what you need to do to communicate you understand the material.

Knowing when you have papers due, presentations, and test dates seems like a no-brainer. And it probably is. That doesn’t mean it isn’t something you just might overlook.

However you choose to organize yourself and your calendar is unique to you. If you have to write it in a planner, that’s fantastic. If you have to send yourself faxes from the future, even better. Do not forget due dates and find yourself scrambling the night before.

Develop a Time Management System & Stay On Top of Assignments

When you’re keeping on track and making sure all your responsibilities are staying under control, you’re going to feel like you are thriving. Establishing a time management system will make your life as an adult student much easier and much more enjoyable.

Don’t allow yourself to be swamped by all the different things you have to maintain. Never put off what can be done today.

Get a Study Partner or Study Group

You don't need to make the trek solo to thrive in college. In each course, find a study partner or a small study group. You’ll develop lasting relationships with people that will benefit you (and them) in the present and the future. As a working adult, you understand the importance of networking and relying on others to help improve your own skills. Iron sharpens iron. Study groups make for a better student.

Thriving in college isn’t out of reach or a cheesy catchphrase. At Amberton, the faculty and staff want you to thrive during your time at the university.

Use all of Amberton’s student resources, lean on your fellow students and your family, and you will love every bit of your college experience.

In my experience over the past almost 50 years in the working world, “project management” is one of the most, if not the most, universal (ubiquitous) skill set needed by individuals throughout their careers in all types of organizations. We encounter “projects” called by many names in both our personal lives and our professional lives. In fact, my Mother used to post a “jobs (aka projects) list” on the refrigerator when I was a kid. So whether we call it a job, a project, a program, an operation, an assignment; a campaign, a play, or something else; it still has all the characteristics of what we would know as a “project”.

Defining the Essence of a Project

Formally, we define a project as a: “unique venture with a beginning and an end, executed to one or more meet goals”. Or, slighted stated differently, “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result”. So, a “project” would include everything from cleaning out my garage, to undertaking a campaign to raise funds for my church’s youth program, to building a software program to optimize my Amazon delivery routes, to planning my course schedules for the academic semester, and much more.

Essential Skill Sets for Effective Project Management

Whatever the “project” may be, there are certain skill sets that we all need bring to bear upon the work being contemplated.

  • First, we have to figure out what we intend to accomplish; what is our end objective? 
  • Second, we have to understand what work must be done to reach that goal. 
  • Third, we have to identify and gather the resources needed to accomplish that work.
  • Fourth, somebody (or a team of somebodies) actually has to plan and execute the work required to accomplish the project.
  • Fifth, we need to plan (as best we can) how to handle changes that will probably come up as the project progresses.
  • And sixth, we need to decide what it means to be “done”; i.e., how do we determine that we have, in fact, accomplished our goal for the project. Let’s take a fairly simple example to demonstrate how these skill sets come into play in executing a “project”.

I really need to clean out my garage! I’ve got stuff stacked in there that’s been there for 25 years and it’s a mess. It’s way past time for me to get busy and get my garage straightened up.

Skill Set #1

Define the end objective(s): My initial thought was that I needed to “clean out my garage”; but really, my actual objective is not only to clean that space; but, to reorganize (straighten up) the remaining contents of the garage. That latter objective is a bigger one than just cleaning the garage. As result, the “scope of work” has changed because I altered the end objective.  Because I changed the end objective, the definition of what it means to be “done” also changed.

Skill Set #2

Top-down decomposition of work:Now that I have decided my goal is to clean AND reorganize my garage, I can begin to figure out what work will be required to accomplish those objectives. This process sort of follows the old adage: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”  The obvious two big pieces of work are:

1.) Clean out the garage (contents)

2.) Reorganize (straighten up) the remaining contents of the garage.

Next, I have to break down each of these two “big” pieces into smaller segments of work; i.e., “clean out the garage” means that I need to sort the garage contents into three piles: stuff to throw away; stuff to give away; and stuff to keep. 

Then, I need to break each of these down into smaller pieces of work or tasks.

For example; “stuff to give away” might break down into gather: stuff to give to our kids; stuff to give to Good Will; and stuff to give to the Library. I would continue this work breakdown process until I have all known pieces of work broken down into tasks that I’m guessing would take about four hours of my time to accomplish.

Skill Set #3

Define the resources required: In addition to my personal effort (time), I need to think about other resources I suspect I’ll need to accomplish this project. 

 For example, I’ll probably need a bunch of plastic tubs to store the contents that I want to keep after cleaning and reorganizing my garage. That means money: maybe 20 tubs costing $5 each for a total of $100.  I may need to rent a small cargo truck to haul stuff to Good Will. That’s another $100. I’m going to think through each piece of work to try to estimate what resources will be required to execute that piece of work so I can plan for all expenditures required.

Skill Set #4

Execute the project: Obviously, somebody (me) better get to work if this project is ever going to get done. There are couple of ways I can plan out my work schedule. Since I think I know pretty much what must be done, I can use a sequential time plan where I layout my work in a logical series of steps (tasks) based the availability of my time over the next month or so. In this scenario, I might start by sorting the boxes on the north side of the garage; then I’ll sort the contents of my filing cabinets; then I’ll sort the stuff I have stored on the shelves. After I‘ve finished sorting, I’ll take the give-away stuff to Good Will and move the trash to the curb for city pickup. The other approach is to tackle the work in “sprints”, addressing the most valuable piece(s) of work first; followed by other pieces of work in descending order of value. In this scenario, I would tackle the boxes stored on the north side of the garage as my first sprint since getting that done has the highest value to me. In that sprint, I would sort all the stuff in that area; move the trash to the curb; take the give-away items to Good Will; and re-pack the contents I want to keep into new tubs for my reorganization effort. Then, I would move the second sprint which would be doing the same set of tasks for the filing cabinets. I would continue working in sprints until the project was done.

Skill Set #5

Accommodate refinement: Change always happens! Right?

I need to be thinking about potential changes that might come up that would alter the scope of work I have currently planned. For example, what would I need to do to accommodate my secret dream of building a woodworking shop in my garage? Or, how about following my other dream about buying a new 2025 Z06 Corvette?  Both would be great fun; but obviously, would drastically alter my work plans for cleaning and reorganizing my garage. Maybe, I’ll start a “GoFundMe” page!

Skill Set #6

Assess am I “done”? Assuming I stick with my original plan, how will I determine when I am truly “done”? Am I done when the garage is clean, trash is thrown away, give-away stuff is delivered to Good Will, and the stuff I want to keep is re-packed into plastic tubs?  Or, am I really done when all of those tasks are completed AND the contents of the garage are logically reorganized, packed in tubs, properly labeled, and stored neatly on the shelves in my garage (and we can actually park our cars in the garage!)? For me, the latter represents the vision I have in my mind’s eye as to what “done” really means.

I hope you have enjoyed this little episode designed to convince you that everyone needs to develop basic project management skill sets in order to successfully manage all the big and little projects, jobs, programs, operations, assignments, campaigns, etc. that are bound to come your way personally and professionally during the course of your life and career. 

Enjoy!

Choosing the Right Program:

Choosing a master’s program is one of the most important steps you’ll take in your educational journey. Aside from simply offering the right program, you have to make sure the school has the appropriate accreditations, the professors are experienced and respected in the career field, and, above all, the program needs to adequately prepare you for the career ahead. Finding the right fit for a career in counseling is even more imperative - there are other people counting on your education and abilities.

The Art and Science of Counseling:

“There is an art and a science to counseling. You learn academically, you learn the science of counseling. Then you bring your own artistic nature into the counseling setting. If you care about people, if you’re interested in helping people, if you’re able to separate your own life from their life, then you’re a good candidate for the counseling program,” said Amberton Counseling Professor Dr. Lee Paul.

Unique Faculty Perspectives:

Working as a counselor requires a softened heart for others, and maintaining a professional and personal separation. Every counselor has special traits, empathies, attributes and interests that would make better counselors in certain areas. Becoming a counselor can be incredibly rewarding, but it will be vastly more rewarding if you use your gifts to bolster your education and to truly develop into the best counselor you can be.

Master's Programs in Counseling:

“All of our faculty, whether they are full-time or adjunct faculty, are clinicians first. I am really excited and glad to be a part of this team because everyone here brings something unique from a clinical perspective and not necessarily just from a research standpoint,” Amberton Associate Faculty member Dr. Levi Armstrong said.

For More Information:

Amberton offers three master’s programs focused in counseling—a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (formerly Professional Counseling), a Master of Arts in School Counseling, and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. For professor insight about Amberton’s counseling programs, click here. To speak with advisors about Amberton being the right fit for you, call 972.694.4830 x180 or email advisor@amberton.edu.

Introduction to Online Course Management Systems

Traditional classes are familiar to many: attending lectures, interacting face-to-face with professors and peers, and submitting hard copies of assignments. But how do online courses actually function? Online classes operate through specialized platforms called course management systems. These platforms, hosted on university servers, serve as the bridge between students, professors, and course materials. While each system may have its unique features, they typically encompass tools for class discussions, announcements, assignments, content delivery, communication, assessments, and grading.

Navigating Your Virtual Classroom

Upon entering the virtual classroom, it's essential to become acquainted with the platform's functionalities. Most online course management systems are designed to be intuitive, allowing for easy navigation and interaction with course materials. Take the time to explore the various commands and components available. Whether it's accessing discussion boards, submitting assignments, or checking grades, understanding these features enhances your online learning experience.

Flexibility and Convenience

Embracing Flexibility

One of the primary advantages of online classes is their flexibility. Unlike traditional classes with fixed schedules, online courses offer the freedom to complete coursework at your own pace and convenience. With access to course materials anytime and anywhere, including via mobile devices, you have the flexibility to balance your studies with other commitments.

Leveraging Mobile Accessibility

Most course management systems are compatible with mobile devices, allowing you to stay connected and engaged with your coursework on the go. Whether you're commuting, traveling, or simply prefer mobile access, this flexibility empowers you to manage your education efficiently.

Engaging in Online Learning

Diverse Engagement Methods

Online classes encompass a variety of engagement methods, ranging from written discussions to multimedia presentations. Each course may adopt different approaches to foster student participation and collaboration. Regardless of the format, embrace these diverse engagement methods as opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge. Whether it's contributing to discussion threads or delivering video presentations, active participation enriches your learning experience.

Academic Rigor and Self-Discipline

Dispelling the notion of online classes being easier, they demand the same level of academic rigor as traditional courses. In fact, the absence of scheduled class times requires a higher degree of self-discipline and focus. Maintain a proactive approach to your studies, avoiding procrastination and staying committed to deadlines. By upholding high standards and dedicating yourself to learning, you'll achieve academic success in online courses.

Considering Online Education

If you're considering enrolling in online classes or seeking guidance on their suitability for your educational goals, reach out to academic advisors. They can provide valuable insights and support to navigate the online learning landscape effectively. Contact our advisors at 972.694.4162 or online at advisor@amberton.edu to explore online education opportunities and embark on your educational journey with confidence.
There's no doubt technology has revolutionized the face of college education and how students access various opportunities. Working adult students have more options to further their education than ever before. Now is a prime time to take advantage of these opportunities and change your “someday” into “today". So why should you choose to enroll in online courses? Easy.

1. Convenience and Flexibility

You can learn at your own pace. Schedule your time to log-in for your courses and to complete your assignments. Additionally, you can review your lessons as often as you need.

2. Comfortable Learning Environment

Who doesn’t love the freedom of learning and working at home? Or outside or the local coffee shop? But that’s not the kind of comfort we’re talking about here. For some, large classroom settings can be intimidating. In online classes, the playing field is leveled. Students can freely comment on posts, videos, and student work or participate in class in a comfortable environment. Even though you’re not face to face with the other students, online courses offer a wide variety of outlets to share thoughts and ideas.

3. Continue Real-Life Routine

Learning at your own pace, and being unbound from commuting to campus for lecture--it’s golden. You can succeed in your goals without having to put everything in your life on hold. You can log-in and complete all your work in one shot, or in small pieces as time allows. You don’t have to worry about missing bedtime for the little ones, or taking time off work because you need to attend a lecture.

4. Improve Self-Discipline

You’re a working adult, you’re used to project deadlines. There’s something to be said for working through complex ideas and new thought processes with a due date looming. Independent learning places more accountability on you. You’re in charge, and can take as much or as little time as you need to master the skills and material in your class.

5. Learning New Skills and Improving Existing Ones

Online education is more practical because you can relate what you learn to the job you do every day and improve your job performance. Honing your skills and increasing your repertoire boosts your earning potential. The fact is, college graduates earn more money over the course of their careers. And it affords you the opportunity to finally get that job you’ve always wanted and not settle for second best. If you’re interested in pursuing your education with the flexibility online classes can give you, click to connect with our advising staff today! We’d appreciate the opportunity to work with you to get you started on this journey. Contact an advisor today!