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Considering Going Back to School? Best Schools for Mature Students

Considering Going Back to School? Best Schools for Mature Students

If you’re considering going back to school after several years of being out of classes, there are many options to choose from. No matter what type of degree you’re looking for, or the flexibility you need, these are considered to be the best schools for mature students.

1. Excelsior College

    Image via Excelsiorcollege.edu

    At Excelsior College, whose head quarters are in Albany, New York, you have a variety of programs to choose from, including Health Sciences, Cyber Technology, and Business. Whether you’re considering a certificate program or a Master’s degree, Excelsior has the flexibility you need.

    2. Charter Oak State College

      Image via Wikimedia 

      Whether you live in Connecticut or you simply want the best degree at the best prices, consider Charter Oak State College. Here you can pursue Early Childhood certification or Bachelor of Arts in your chosen field, among other degree options.

      3. Maryville University

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        With a variety of great class options, such as a Master of Science in Nursing, you’ll find that Maryville University offers what you need. You can go back to school, even while you’re working, with classes that will fit your schedule.

        4. SUNY Empire State College

          Image via Old.Suny.Edu

          SUNY Empire State College offers an online Master of Business Administration in Global Leadership that can help you pursue your dreams in any field. The online Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies is a great option for those going into the education field.

          5. American Public University System

            Image via Wikipedia

            Offering small class sizes, even for their online classes, American Public University System allows students to get to know their instructors. Get an Associates in Database Application Development or even a certification in E-commerce here.

            6. DeVry University

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              At DeVry, you’ll be working with a number of other mature students in programs that give you not only the textbook skills, but also the real-world education you need. The school offers some of the most extensive online programs around, with over 40 career field options.

              7. Cardinal Stritch University

                Image via aacn.nche.edu

                Getting an undergraduate or graduate degree is easy at Cardinal Stritch University. Accelerated programs, such as a Bachelor of Science in Management, are ideal for mature students, since you’ll be able to get your degree faster than traditionally expected.

                8. University of Great Falls

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                  Online degrees such as Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Associates in Criminal Justice are available through the University of Great Falls distance learning program. These programs are eligible for grants, scholarships, and more.

                  9. Immaculata University

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                    At Immaculata University, pursuing degrees such as Music Therapy and Educational Leadership allow you to change your career. The value-oriented school offers a unique option for adults looking to further their knowledge.

                    10. Belmont Abbey College

                      Image via cfnc.org

                      Get the personal touch at Belmont Abbey College. You’ll find friendly professors and helpful classmates in programs such as an Actuarial Science concentration or a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. This school offers flexibility to those who want to take classes online and in the classroom.

                      11. Northeastern Illinois University

                        Image via neiu.edu

                        Get a local education from anywhere through Northeastern Illinois University. You can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, or Bachelor of Arts or Science degree with a focus in your chosen field.

                        12. Madonna University

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                          Madonna University helps you focus on your success. With options that allow you to take classes when you’re available, you can get a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies or a Masters in Liberal Studies and Leadership.

                          13. Utah Valley University

                          Image via Flickr by cruxandgage

                          When you want to get a great education and take all of your classes, or even the majority of them, online consider Utah Valley University. You’ll work with Professors who not only know their field but have also worked in it. You’ll find degrees such as Writing Studies and Forensic Science.

                          14. Dunwoody College of Technology

                            Image via Dunwoody.edu

                            Whether you need an apprenticeship, such as an Automotive Technician Apprenticeship, or you’re considering a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Management, Dunwoody College of Technology can help. At Dunwoody, you can even customize your training, allowing you to take classes when and where you want.

                            15. Bay Path College

                              Image via Wikipedia

                              If you want to take classes in a classroom setting, but don’t have time for traditional school days, the One Day a Week schedule at Bay Path College is beneficial. Degrees through this school include Communications and Information Management and Physician Assistant Studies.

                              As you can see, getting an online education is available to anyone, anywhere in the country. All you need to do is take the next step to further your knowledge.

                              Featured photo credit: CollegeDegrees360 via flickr.com

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                              Published on March 20, 2019

                              How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

                              How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

                              Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

                              As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

                              While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

                              What is a Mission Statement?

                              Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

                              In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

                              “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

                              In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

                              Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

                              While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

                              First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

                              While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

                              While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

                              “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

                              This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

                              What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

                              When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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                              Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

                              When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

                              • What we do?
                              • How we do it?
                              • Whom do we do it for?
                              • What value are we bringing?

                              Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

                              After all, that did check off all the boxes:

                              What we do? Provide widgets.

                              How we do it? Online.

                              Who do we do it for? The consumer.

                              What value we bring? The best widgets.

                              The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

                              Compare that mission statement to this one:

                              “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

                              What’s the difference?

                              Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

                              Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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                              You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

                              A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

                              Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

                              1. Keep It Brief

                              Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

                              You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

                              2. Have a Purpose

                              A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

                              Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

                              3. Include a “How”

                              Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

                              How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

                              4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

                              This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

                              Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

                              5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

                              It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

                              Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

                              6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

                              Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

                              7. Think Long Term

                              A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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                              8. Get Feedback

                              This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

                              Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

                              9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

                              You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

                              First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

                              And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

                              For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

                              The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

                              It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

                              First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

                              If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

                              Strategic Planning

                              A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

                              Measuring Performance

                              By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

                              Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

                              Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

                              Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

                              As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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                              Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

                              To Hold Management Accountable

                              By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

                              So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

                              If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

                              To Serve as an Example

                              This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

                              After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

                              Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

                              Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

                              Final Thoughts

                              Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

                              Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

                              That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

                              By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

                              More Resources About Achieving Business Success

                              Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

                              Reference

                              [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
                              [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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