What You Need to Know About Online Career Schools

Getting a degree or certificate from online career schools can be a great way to boost your career, or to get started in a new career. But you need to be a little selective when you’re choosing an online career school. Not all online schools are created equal. There are some fabulous online schools that can teach you a lot of professional skills but there are others that will take your money and waste your time and leave you with very few bankable schools. In fact, some online schools are so bad they can actually damage your professional reputation. So here’s a quick overview of the things that you need to know about online career schools in order to pick a school that will help your career:

Don’t Pay Online Career Schools Upfront
Reputable schools won’t ask for any money up front. Many schools have an application fee that you need to pay when you apply for admission. However, any school that asks you for money or credit card information or bank account information before you apply is one that should be avoided. There is absolutely no reason why anyone from the school should be asking you for money before you apply. If you are asked to pay any fees upfront move on to another school.

Check Your Course Structure
Check the course structure before you apply. Not all online career schools offer classes in the same format. Some schools may allow you to complete only one course at a time, some may let you take more. Some schools may require you to attend online classes at set times of the day, others might let you access the course material and do the course at your own pace. Some schools may require you to have regular phone or chat sessions with a teacher to evaluate your progress and some won’t. Check out how the classes are offered at the online school you want to attend before you apply to make sure that you will be able to meet the requirements or attend any pre-scheduled classes before you pay.

Online Career Schools Refund Policy
Find out what the refund/cancellation policy is before you apply. Sometimes unforeseen emergencies occur and you may not be able to take a class or complete a class because of a job loss, family emergency, illness, or other reason that is out of your control. Make sure you know ahead of time what the school’s cancellation and refund policy is so that you will know if you can get any of your tuition money back or not if you aren’t able to complete a class or a semester.

Check Online Career Schools Reviews
Check out reviews of online career schools before you start applying. The best resource that you have for judging whether or not a school is a good fit for you is online schools reviews. See what other students had to say about the class sizes, class structure, quality of education, value of the education and more while you are choosing a school. It’s also a good idea to check out industry trade journals or other resources to find out which schools have the best reputation in the industry.

Breakfast Pays Big Dividends in Boston Schools

In 2000, the Boston schools partnered with the Massachusetts General Hospital to conduct a study on the impact of the federal School Breakfast Program in 16 of their elementary schools. Researchers found that a simple breakfast of milk, juice and cereal provides a fourth of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of key nutrients needed by growing children. Breakfast reduces hunger in the classroom and improves the overall nutrition of the students. They found that student behavior and grades improved, especially in mathematics. Students were able to spend more time on tasks and were more creative. Attendance improved. Students demonstrated better concentration facilities and improved emotional functioning. Trips to the nurse’s office were drastically reduced.

Breakfast is by far the least expensive program for improving academic achievement, yet less than half the children eligible for the free or reduced price meals participate nationwide. One major obstacle is perception — breakfast programs are viewed as programs for the “poor kids”, a label many students wish to avoid. The other major obstacle is timing. Most schools across the country serve breakfast before the start of school — children who arrive late due to tight morning schedules or on buses that are late, miss breakfast.

Many of the schools in Boston have implemented innovative strategies to overcome the obstacles of perception and timing:

o Nearly 80 elementary schools now offer a universal breakfast — all children eat together for free. The “poor kid” stigma has been eliminated.

o Participating Boston schools make breakfast a normal and expected part of the morning schedule — no different than taking attendance.

o Boston schools serve breakfast in a variety of ways, using the method that works best for each individual school’s culture. Methods range from serving cold or hot food in the classroom from a cooler or thermal pack; grab and go, brown bag breakfasts; sending students to the cafeteria after attendance; or a combination of these approaches.

o Involving the children makes the program more successful. Children rotating being in charge of food delivery to the classroom, after-breakfast trash removal, and returning leftovers to the cafeteria instills pride and responsibility. They become part of the program, not just participants.

The Boston schools have been recognized for their efforts in the School Breakfast Program. Project Bread, the state’s leading anti-hunger organization and Boston schools partner in the School Breakfast Program, awards Boston schools that have achieved an 80 percent or greater student participation — the point at which the breakfast program pays for itself with federal dollars.

In 2002, Project Bread recognized 10 elementary schools with the School Breakfast Excellence Award. Each award is $1,000 that the school’s principal can use for any school-related expense.

The Boston schools have found that when their educators make it a priority and part of the daily schedule, it is more acceptable to the students and has a better chance to succeed. Breakfast is such an inexpensive way for Boston schools to achieve substantial academic results — especially in the children who need it the most.