Nursing schools are in high demand

The National League of Nursing completed a poll that shows admissions have gone up for nursing students as well as graduations (degrees granted).  Although the trend looks at rates in 2006 the demand for nursing staff has remained very strong throughout 2007 and into 2008.  Many schools are re-investing in their nursing programs to answer the need for qualified nurses across the US.

The following article from McKnight’s Long-Term Care News highlights the findings from the National League of Nursing poll:

Admission and graduation rates from U.S. nursing schools increased in 2006, according to an annual survey by the National League of Nursing. The poll of diploma- and degree-granting institutions revealed a 5% hike in new students and 8.5% rise in degrees granted.

Student interest in nursing schools has been on the rise over the last few years, with some enrollment numbers dampened only by a lack of qualified instructors, experts say.

While interest in starting nursing school remained high, overall enrollment numbers faltered in some instances, researchers said. Diploma-program admissions rose 9%, but overall enrollment fell 2.6% and graduations dipped 3%. Baccalaureate programs saw jumps of 12% in admissions, 4.2% in enrollments and 20% in graduations.

Regarding programs for an associate degree, the most common degree held, admissions rose 8%, while overall enrollment remained flat and graduations grew by 3%.

The National League’s Web-based survey elicited responses from about half of U.S. nursing schools.

About McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:
A business news magazine serving the institutional long-term care field. It reports on the events that affect the way care is delivered across the entire long term care spectrum, ranging from the lower acuity assisted living setting, to the high acuity skilled nursing setting. Included also is coverage of care in Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Alzheimer’s and Special Care Facilities, Post Acute Care Centers, and Hospital based long-term care units. The magazine marked its 25th anniversary in April 2005.

Culinary Programs Recognized as Exemplary at 2008 ACF Southeast Regional Conference

This press release (see below) from the American Culinary Federation highlights some culinary schools that have gone  above and beyond.  The schools were recognized for their excellent program offerings, teaching & support staff, student resources, and overall organization:

St. Augustine, Fla., March 3, 2008– Ten post-secondary culinary programs were recognized by the American Culinary Federation Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFFAC) as exemplary at the 2008 ACF Southeast Regional Conference held at the Williamsburg Lodge, Williamsburg, Va., March 1-3.
The programs are at the following schools:

The ACFFAC, recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), provides regulatory oversight of post-secondary institutions. The primary function of the ACFFAC is programmatic accreditation. This specialized accreditation is a voluntary action on the part of the institution that requires curriculum, faculty, resources, support staff, and organizational structure all meet or exceed quality standards.

Culinary or foodservice programs that are accredited by the ACFFAC have been reviewed against established standards. These programs undergo a self-evaluation and report their findings to the ACFFAC. The ACFFAC then authorizes a fact-finding team to visit the school to verify compliance with the standards. The self-evaluation, the report of the fact-finding team, and the program response to the fact-finding report, are studied. The ACFFAC then grants accreditation to programs that meet the published standards.

To qualify as an exemplary program upon renewal of ACFFAC accreditation, a program will have had to have been in full compliance the last two site visitation reports. The visiting team determines that the program has met the ACFFAC standards in eight required areas: eligibility; program mission and goals; organization and administration; faculty and staff; curriculum; facilities; student services; and assessment. Exemplary programs are accredited for seven years.

Chosen for its history and attractions, Williamsburg was the location of the 2008 ACF Southeast Regional Conference hosted by ACF Virginia Chefs Association. Bringing more than 300 chefs, cooks and foodservice professionals to the city, the conference provided attendees with numerous opportunities to advance their professional development and enhance their culinary skills through informative business seminars, forums, clinics and cutting-edge demonstrations. In addition, the conference offered participants the opportunity to learn about the latest cooking trends and techniques.

Sponsors of the 2008 ACF Southeast Regional Conference and national award sponsors include: Barber Foods; Beef Information Center; Buckhead Beef Company; Butterball Farms, Inc.; Canada Cutlery Inc.; The Cheesecake Factory; Contessa Premium Foods; Custom Culinary™; GFF, Inc./Girard’s Dressings; Icelandic USA®, Inc.; La Brea Bakery; Lobster Select; Mann’s Fresh Vegetables; MARS Foodservices; Mind’s Eye Resource Management, LLC; National Honey Board; Nestlé Professional; NEWCHEF Fashions; Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats; Pearson Prentice Hall; R.L. Schreiber, Inc., Royal Cup Coffee; Rubbermaid Commercial Products; Santa Sweets; Splenda®; SYSCO Food Services of Hampton Roads; Tyson Food Service; U.S. Foodservice and Unilever Foodsolutions.

The American Culinary Federation, Inc., established in 1929, is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America. With 20,000 members spanning more than 230 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and also holds the presidium for the World Association of Chefs Societies, the largest international network of chef associations with more than eight million members globally. For more information, please visit www.acfchefs.org.

Google Maps + ReviewSchools.org = SchoolFinder

ReviewSchools.org now has a nifty Google Map integrated with all the schools and colleges on the site.  Here are 3 simple  steps to find colleges and schools near you:

  1. Go to the SchoolFinder page
  2. Enter your city,state (ie New York, NY) or your zip code (ie 60606)
  3. Pick how far away you want to look (miles: 5, 15, or 50).  Click the “Map It” button.

That’s it!  The map will show you the schools located near by.  Click on any marker to find out the name & address.  Click on the school name in the info window in the map and you can get more info about that school.

SchoolFinder is a work in progress so check back to see what’s new…

Student loans might cost more, especially for students attending professional & vocational schools

The recent credit crunch has finally begun to affect companies that issue education loans.  Some loan companies are pulling out of lending all together while others are increasing restrictions and/or costs.  Which students are most like going to be affected?  Students at community colleges and vocational schools.  Why?  Students are historically less likely to finish and more likely to default on their loans.

Students and their families need to seriously research their financial & educational options.  Otherwise, you might end up with a very costly student loan – or worse yet – no loan at all.

Read more from the article by David Cho and Maria Glod in the Washington Post.

Closing the doors – Katharine Gibbs and Gibbs Schools close 9 campuses

Katharine Gibbs originally opened as  a secretary school for women in 1911.  Over the last 90 years Katharine Gibbs Schools and Gibbs Colleges have offered training in professional programs such as business administration, information technology, design, and health care.

In February 2008, the schools announced the upcoming closures of most of their campuses.  Gibbs College locations at Vienna, VA and Melville, NY will remain open despite the closures.

Read more at Nydailynews.com or Reuters.

What’s in an Education? (part 2)

What types of Schools & Colleges are out there?

There are many ways to compare and contrast schools such as the number of students, number of programs, and level of degrees offered (this is by no means exhaustive).  The first and most obvious is student body size.  Very large schools, such as a public state university (Ohio State for example) has a huge student body and usually a wide range of programs and study areas.  It’s rare to find an enormous university focused on just a few educational programs.  Likewise, the number of programs offered can be just a handful to hundreds of unique study areas.  Finally, schools differ in the types of degrees or certificates they offer.  Below are some general descriptions about different types of post-secondary schools:

  1. Large Universities and Colleges
    • Offer a broad range of courses
    • Tend to offer 4 yr or Bachelor’s degrees
    • Courses can be career focused or based on general studies
  2. Community College and Technical Schools 
    • Offer more focused range of courses
    • Tend to offer 2 yr Associates degrees or other certificate programs
    • Courses tend to be career or profession focused
    • Prepare some students to continue studies at a 4 year college
  3. Craft Schools and Specialized Training Centers 
    • These schools tend to focus on one core profession or skill set 
    • Also tend to offer 2 yr Associates degrees or other certificate programs

Each type of school has advantages and disadvantages depending on what you need from your education.  Large universities or colleges often provide a base rather than career specific .  However, in the health care and nursing industries more colleges are offering programs to help with the demand for nursing.  Community or Technical Colleges have traditionally focused of professional training that can help you get a specific job.  Likewise Craft/Technical Schools offer the similar training that allows you to go out and start working as soon as you have developed the skills & know-how of that profession.

Thinking through the online education phenomenon

The phrase, Online Education, refers to many different things.  Online education ranges from one-time training seminars to entire Master’s programs.  It is amazing how much you can accomplish through the Internet.  But before you sign up, you need to think first, then decide.  There are always pros and cons to any decision.  Here are a few common ones:

Benefits:

  • Flexibility – The improvement in Internet technology and online courses have made learning extremely flexible.  You can literally do your work whenever fits your schedule.
  • Time-Savings – Believe it or not you will save a lot of time (unless you live next you your school).  Over the course of 1-4 years, the time you spend walking, driving, or taking public transportation really adds up.
  • Accessibility –  Now with a good Internet connection you can access a whole range of educational programs.  You can be at home or anywhere in the world and still further your education.  As the Internet becomes more universal and available, you will literally be able to access programs anywhere.
  • Cost – It’s very simple.  On average, online courses and programs cost schools less – so they cost you less.  You also have an almost unlimited range of choices since there are many schools and programs to choose from.
  • Mix it up – Many schools also offer programs that are taught in person and online.  The mix varies from school-to-school.  Sometimes, this is a good option for people who need a little more traditional class time.

Challenges:

  • Self-motivation – you must keep yourself going (you aren’t going to have much outside pressure from other students or teachers)  This is the number one issue that people need to recognize.
  • Focus – Along with keeping yourself motivated, you have to keep focused & dedicated.  Just because the course/program is online does not mean you can do your all your work while sitting on the couch.  Lack of focus will lead to disappointment.
  • Organization – You need to keep yourself on schedule.  It’s up to you to stay on top of deadlines, project due dates, and test prep.
  • Hands-on Factor – Sometimes you need to literally get your hands dirty to fully learn the subject matter.  This obviously depends on what you are studying.  If you want training in web development it’s not an issue.  However, if you need training in diesel mechanics, you will eventually  need to get yourself into a workshop to work on a real diesel engine (the Internet can only do so much).
  • Community – Sometimes it is harder to establish a connection with other students through distance learning programs.  This concern can easily be overcome depending on how proactive you are with fellow students.  The Internet is full of vibrant communities that are completely online – but it’s up to you to establish that sense of community.

What else can you think of?  How do these criteria apply to you?  Are you ready for an online education? 

Top 5 ways ReviewSchools.org helps you research your school options

Searching for schools or college?  Below is what ReviewSchools.org offers you to help make an educated decision:

  1. Reviews – what do students and alumni say about their schools
  2. Quick Facts – key information about each school to help you compare
  3. Easy Search – search by location, name, program areas offered, and (zip coming soon)
  4. Complete listings – ReviewSchools.org strives to list all post-secondary schools in the US
  5. Extra Help – our blog has information to help you understand and approach your school search

ReviewSchools.org beta – Live with more than 6500 schools

ReviewSchools.org now has over 6500 schools and colleges listed in the US!  We are working hard to add more schools and resources related to post-secondary schools.  ReviewSchools.org is unique since it encourages current students and alumni to express their opinions and review their schools.  This open dialogue is especially helpful to potential students looking for options. ReviewSchools.org is a great place to start.

It’s Thanksgiving – Go Shopping for Schools

Thanksgiving is a fantastic time of the year when most everyone gets some time off from work and can be thankful for what life has brought them.  Thanksgiving has also evolved into one of the biggest shopping events of the year.  So in the spirit of shopping – now (and any other weekend) is a fantastic time to get on the Internet and do a little shopping for those classes or programs you were thinking about enrolling in.  First, you need to really set aside time to focus on only researching schools.

Get Ready to Shop for Schools:

  • Set aside 1 or 2 hours during the day/evening when you are least distracted (write a note to yourself if you need to)
  • Have a fresh notebook and pen or pencil to jot down notes and comments – consider this your school diary
  • Make a promise to yourself:  This time is for reading about school related stuff only

Use your time wisely:

  • Use ReviewSchools.org or your local/state school associations to find schools in your area (or online)
  • Pick out the professions or program areas that interest you the most
  • Make a top 5 or 10 school list where you can focus your time
  • Go to each school website and read about:
    • Programs & courses offered
    • Career & professional resources
    • Career placement services
    • Alumni resources (good to know for the future)
  • Available campus tours (online schools have web tours)

Now that you have gotten some initial information about these schools, you have already accomplished a lot.  You can also apply this approach to future research.  If you discover another school that sounds interesting – just use the same framework.  Once you feel comfortable with your options, the next step is to pick your top choices and contact those schools to get more specific enrollment information.

 Happy Thanksgiving!