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News & Events: Frederick Campus

 

What are your plans for 2016? As the year winds down, now is the time to consider not just what you want to accomplish in the New Year, but more importantly how you will accomplish it. If your goal involves a large financial undertaking – like going back to school, purchasing a car, or planning for a new family member – then follow our five tips to successfully save toward making your goal a reality.  

  1. Create a savings goal. Research how much you will need to put away so you have a specific dollar figure in mind to measure your progress.
     
  2. Identify how much you can afford to save. Without making any lifestyle changes, determine how much is reasonable for you to put away each month. Make sure the figure is consistent from month to month, and that it doesn’t put any financial burden on other areas of your life.
     
  3. Anticipate big annual expenses. If you know this is the year to replace your leaky roof or plan a family reunion vacation or pay for uninsured medical expenses, make note of when and how those expenses will impact your savings plan.
     
  4. Identify habits that add up. Cutting costs starts with eliminating or reducing expensive habits. For example, save money each day by brewing coffee at home or reduce the number of times you eat out for lunch each week. Eliminating a $5 cup of coffee and a $15 lunch five days per week puts up to $5,200 back in your pocket.
     
  5. Sell unused items. That treadmill that’s collecting dust? Get rid of it. Big ticket items, and even a collection of much smaller ticket items, can give you cash flow quickly, with the added bonus of reducing unnecessary clutter in your home.

With your finances in order, achieving your goal will seem much more manageable. Maintain your motivation by attaching an action plan to your ambitions and seeing it through. If your goal is to head back to school, consider supplementing your savings with financial aid or asking your employer about tuition assistance.

 

In November the Mount welcomed academic advisors from nearby community colleges for an Advisor Appreciation Breakfast. Not only was the event an opportunity for the University to say “thank you” to community college professionals who work hard to transition students from one school to another, but also to recognize the hardworking students who attend school while working full-time.

As the students shared their distinctive stories, a similarity threaded their narratives – the importance of family and how community colleges and the Mount not only celebrate education and career milestones, but also family and life events. So, how did these students get to the Mount? Here are a few stories from the event.

Anthony Baker“While deployed in Afghanistan I finally got the opportunity to earn my AA degree. When I returned home I enrolled at a local college to continue my studies, but eventually left because I didn’t feel I belonged. I found a new home at the Mount, where I am surrounded by adult learners and people who care about my success in college and in my life.”

Anthony Baker, C’16, Business
Staff Sargent, Maryland Army National Guard

Michelle Harsha“When my daughter was born, I figured I would go back to school when she began kindergarten. Then I realized if I started school now, I could be finished before she even started! It helps that now that I’m studying something I love, I love being back in the classroom.”

Michelle Harsha, C’ 16, Human Services
Missions Coordinator, The Word Among Us

 

Orlando Barros“I went the unconventional route to college, and no schools really fit until the Mount. When my daughter was born recently, I was able to share that with my classmates and professors. It’s awesome to share your life with the people here.”

Orlando Barros, C’17, Business
Director of Development, The Word Among Us

 

Shelly Lofland“Five years ago, my daughters were considering forgoing the college route. I decided to go back and finish my degree to set an example and prove the value to them. My daughter and I will both walk for graduation in May.”

Shelley Lofland, C’15, Business
Director of Operations, Clagett Enterprises

 

Cheryl Conconnan“I never thought I would go to school beyond earning my associate’s degree, but FCC and the Mount made it so easy for me to keep going and finish my bachelor’s, too.”

Cheryl Cocannon, C’16, Business
Office Manager, Frederick Community College

 

 

Student success starts with positive local partnerships between the Mount and community colleges. Sincere thanks is extended to Carroll Community College, Frederick Community College, Montgomery Community College, Anne Arundel Community College, the Community College of the Air Force, Central Texas College, and Hagerstown Community College for inspiring our students to take the first step – and then keep going!

Click here to learn more about adult undergraduate programs in business, criminal justice, elementary/special education, and human services.

 

Networking: The concept can elicit joy, confusion, and utter anxiety. At its core, networking is nothing but treating others with consideration and respect while creating new interactions or re-establishing old connections with others. For those looking to refresh their skills, here are three quick tips to becoming a networking hub instead of a solitary island.

  1. It’s not about you. Yes, it’s nice to think about how others can help us with our goals, but that’s not the be-all-end-all of networking. Treat your neighbor as you want to be treated – ask thoughtful questions and actively listen rather than turning the focus toward yourself.
  2. Put yourself in front of new people. Community groups, interest groups, meet-ups, and networking events are all great places to stay fresh and meet likeminded professionals. While attending the same networking events over and over can be a good way to establish long-term relationships, keep your skills sharp and expand your network by meeting new people, too.
  3. Always follow up. Don’t let the first conversation become the last one. The subject of connecting again can even be a helpful way to conclude a conversation; try: “I really enjoyed speaking with you. Is there a good way to get in touch with you again?” Consider asking for a business card instead of offering your own first.

Strong, lasting relationships take work and networking is not an exact recipe. Nonetheless, some networking ingredients include effective listening, common ground, confidence, and consideration.

 

For each stage of your career journey there are many great books out there to support you. At the MSMU Career Center, we recommend the following helpful reads to our students, who are at all different stages in their education and careers.

  1. My Freshman Year by Rebekah Nathan – If you’re heading back to school for the first time in a long time, this is an interesting book about a professor who decides to become a student again. It’s emphatic, funny, and gives the reader an interesting look at college students today.
  2. What Color is your Parachute? 2015 by Richard Bolles – This is the tried and true job-hunting handbook. Topics include resume writing, job searching, interviewing, and more. It’s packed with great tips that can help you land a job or change careers.
  3. Getting From College to Career by Lindsay Pollak – What a great book for those transitioning into the 21st century workplace. Topics include using social media in the job hunt, networking, and emailing.
  4. How to Write the Perfect Personal Statement by Peterson’s Publishing – If you’re planning to go to graduate school, you will need to know how to write the all-important personal statement for your application. Hint: Think goals!
  5. Networking: 42 Keys to Career Growth by Brett Longer ­– Enhance your communication skills, build relationships, and influence those around you – such is the power of networking! Making connections can help you take the next step, no matter where you are in your career.


A lot may have changed since you began your college career. Now you’re looking to complete an unfinished undergraduate degree or begin a graduate degree. Many adult learners face similar fears about returning to the classroom after years, possibly many years, away. If you find yourself worrying about the following, you’re not alone!

  1. “I don’t know which school is right for me.” Finding the right program is easier than ever. Resources abound online, where you can combine school rankings, social media communities, and online reviews to paint a picture of the pros and cons of each option. The majority of adult learners take a year or more to determine when and where to get their education – don’t let the selection process discourage you.
  2. “I don’t have enough time for school.” Taking your time is key to balancing work, life, and school. How long it takes to complete your degree will differ depending on variables like format, prerequisites, and transferrable credits. More and more schools are offering courses online or in the evenings in order to cater to the convenience of working adults.  
  3. “I can’t afford it.” With the cost of college on the rise, you may be asking yourself, Can I afford to go back? However, the question you might want to consider instead is, Can I afford not to go back? According to The Pew Research Center, college graduates outpace students with some college or a two-year degree by $15,000 each year. The gap widens for those with a graduate degree. Your short-term investment will have long-term payoffs.
  4. “I’ll be the oldest student in class.” When it comes to the classroom, age is an asset – your professional experiences enhance your education. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the adult student population is growing. More than 38 percent of students are over the age of 25 – a percentage predicted to increase by an additional 23 percent by 2019.

The right school for you will have the resources to help you work through any worries or reservations you may have about going back. Conquer your fears one step at a time and you’ll be off to a great start!

You’ve spent years honing the professional skills you need on the job daily. As a student, many of these skills and career experiences will add to your education as you pursue an advanced degree. However, it’s possible that while developing professional proficiencies, you may have stepped away from some of the skills you will need to succeed in the classroom. Before you go back to school, prepare yourself in the following five ways.

  1. Writing. The writing expectations placed upon students are likely different from much of the writing you draft throughout the workday. Brush up on the formal rules and styles you will need to craft papers and assignments.
  2. Study, Reading, and Research. Study and reading habits are essential tools to sharpen for after hours homework and assignments. Many programs offer various required and recommended work, so be sure to know how to read, study, and research smarter by evaluating the topic as a whole and allocating your time on certain areas.
  3. Technology. Not only has technology revolutionized the way students conduct research, but it also changed the way papers, documents, and presentations are created, as well as how students collaborate, and teachers disseminate information. Know the latest technology trends and be prepared to learn to adapt them into your learning habits.
  4. Goal Setting. In a prior blog post, we discuss how to follow through with the goals you set for yourself. In short, make sure you’re setting reasonable, frequent goals.
  5. Prioritization. As an adult student, you’ll soon realize that demands of your time will abound. Explore ways to prioritize school, work, and life to best optimize your time. 

When you consider the right college or university for you, make sure to investigate what resources are available to students. Many programs offer access to prerequisite courses or learning services that can help you succeed. It’s also important to find a program that emphasizes the unique needs of the adult learner, lead by faculty and staff with the ability to assist you. 

In January we talked about the Top 10 Considerations to Find the Best Program For You. This month we’re following up with more information about one concern in particular – time. Program directors and academic advisors at the Mount are often asked how long it will take to complete a graduate or adult undergraduate degree. While the answer is different for everyone, the following five points are often indicators.

  1. Program format. Some programs run as cohorts, meaning you begin and end the program with the same group of students, progressing through courses together. These programs have specific start and end dates.
  2. Prerequisites. In order to complete certain courses, undergraduate prerequisites may be required. If you already earned these prerequisites prior to beginning the program, you will progress quicker.
  3. Transferrable credits. Similar to prerequisites, if you are transferring credits from another institution, you will be able to start out ahead. You can also explore whether your institution offers credit for prior experience that could be applicable toward your degree.
  4. Other responsibilities. Depending on the program, you may also have to complete an internship, research, thesis, or other requirement for graduation. Factoring in time to complete this is essential when considering your overall timeline.
  5. Alternatives. Instead of earning a degree, there may be a certificate program or series of courses you can enroll in that will provide the specific skills and knowledge that you need to advance your career.

Your education plan can be individual and flexible, which is beneficial as you balance coursework with work and life responsibilities. While there are many considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right program for you, always consider how the timing fits into your long and short term plans. 

 
16300 Old Emmitsburg Road | Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Map & Directions | admissions@msmary.edu | 301-447-6122
Frederick Campus | 5350 Spectrum Drive | Frederick, MD 21703
Map & Directions | inquiry@msmary.edu | 301-682-8315