Ashworth College Blog

I never finished college, but I’m ready to now

Written by Ashworth College on Thursday, 05 October 2017. Posted in Why Ashworth

I Never Finished College, But I’m Ready to Now

There are a million reasons why people don't finish college. But, none of that matters when it comes to deciding to go back to college and graduate with a diploma or certificate in hand – a physical token of your hard-earned accomplishment. Thinking of going back to school can be an overwhelming undertaking in itself, but taking the time to plan out your next step in the process can ease any concern you may be feeling. 

Tips for preparing to go back to college 

Investigate your options

Review different schools to see what they offer; do they offer a degree program that aligns with your goals, can you take night classes or classes online to fit around your work and family obligations? Be sure to compare prices of the institutions you're most interested in. If you're a single parent, reach out to financial aid offices to check out if the school offers single parent scholarships, and meet with admissions counselors to discuss tuition plans. You can also use the US Department of Education's Net Price Calculator to compare the costs of one school to another for the same program. Ask about entrance requirements and what you need to be eligible for acceptance. Talk to colleagues who have gone back to school to get a better idea about what to expect, and which programs have been most effective in boosting their careers. 

Get your family onboard

Having a conversation with your children and/or spouse is important to your success in going back to school. Help your family understand and share in your excitement about the opportunities going back to college will open. It is important to instill in your family the commitment you are making to go back to school and that a little help from them will go a long way in helping you reach your goals. This includes having your kids and/or partner help more with chores around the house, getting ready for school in the morning and staying on top of schoolwork. 

Set a monthly household budget

In addition to your regular monthly expenses, be sure to include the cost of tuition, books and other school-related incidentals. To make ends meet while going back to college, you may have to make a few sacrifices, like cutting back on your coffee runs and tightening your budget on things like going out to dinner with friends and family. 

Tips for successfully returning to college

Come up with a time management plan

Time management around school can be tricky enough without the added stressors of work and family life. Alleviate time constraints by creating a time budget that will help organize when you can study given your other commitments and can help create a perfect balance of work, family and education. 

Refresh your study skills

You may have been out the classroom for some time, so be sure to flex your brain muscles to refresh how you learn best. This can be using a computer or notebook to take notes, studying using memorization and flash cards, or creating your own study guides. Find out what works best for you and stick with it throughout your program.

Create a backup plan

Going back to school can stretch your time commitments, so having options in place can prevent headaches when your to-do list becomes too long or you need to have a last-minutestudy session for a test. Think through things that could throw a wrench in your routine, and implement a plan of action before it does. For starters, it may be helpful to plan ahead and create a few freezer meals for when there's no time to make a home-cooked dinner, pick a study buddy who can help keep you accountable or be sure to back up your assignments on a flash or hard drive in case your computer crashes and you lose your notes. 

Vary your classes

By choosing classes that require different demands, you can balance your coursework between harder classes with something easier and more enjoyable. This will reduce your workload throughout your program, and your stress levels. 

Ask for help

Your advisors and instructors are in place to help and ensure you're getting the most out of your education. Reach out when you're feeling stuck or frustrated, or need reassurance that you've made the right decision to go back to school. Lean on your classmates, friends, family and coworkers for encouragement and support when you need it. 

Going back to school can seem daunting, but creating an action plan for success can help alleviate any apprehension that may arise as you create a plan to go back to college. Setting a goal and making steps to accomplish that goal will get you there in no time.

About the Author

Ashworth College

Ashworth College

Our community is full of independent, motivated, growth-focused students. Dive into our blog to explore diverse stories from our students, friends, experts, and executives. From tips & tricks to student experiences and alumni stories, the Ashworth Blog is all about celebrating our community's accomplishments and passions.

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Online College What Makes Our Medical Administrative Assistant Program Rank #1 Online

You want to get the most out of your education so why should you settle for anything less than the best? Ashworth’s Medical Office Assistant: Administrative Procedures Career Certificate Program was named the best online medical assistant program by Medical Assistant Advice. Here’s how we can help you get the skills to help you prepare for a career in the healthcare administration field.

“’The curriculum emphasizes administrative procedures, so classes focus on medical front office management, medical documentation, and processing insurance claims.”

— Medical Assistant Advice

Prepare for work you enjoy

You’re organized and pay attention to detail. You also enjoy helping others and making sure things run smoothly. With these skills, you can help run a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital from behind the scenes. From keeping records and helping patients fill out forms to coding procedures, your talents can be used in various ways as a medical administrative assistant.

Learn the skills to take the next step toward your goals

Being a medical administrative assistant involves helping patients with intake paperwork, pulling files, and scheduling tests or examinations. You’ll learn how to schedule appointments, follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, and ensure Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) compliance. You’ll also complete courses to help you prepare for the medical administrative assistant field such as:

  • A Day in the Life of a Medical Office Assistant. You’ll learn about the characteristics of an effective medical assistant and various working environments tas well as day-to-day duties.
  • Medical Insurance Processing and Coding. In this lesson, you’ll receive an introduction to medical insurance programs, coding, and the procedures to fill out and file insurance claims.
  • Legal and Ethical Issues. There are laws and ethics in place to protect patients and healthcare workers. In this lesson, you’ll learn about the types of malpractice and how you can protect your employer and yourself.
  • Managing the Flow of Medical Records. This lesson will cover the types of medical records and how to maintain them, as well as different payment and collection methods and the business and management of the medical front office.

This certificate program provides students with an introduction to administrative work at private practices, hospital offices, and clinical departments.

Start your career journey

Our Medical Office Assistant: Administrative Procedures Career Certificate Program can help prepare you for the field. Designed by healthcare professionals, this program focuses on the skills and knowledge can boost your potential for a career as a medical administrative assistant. Once you enroll you can prepare to take steps toward starting your career with Ashworth EDGE, our online career services toolkit that helps you translate lessons into the career skills.

Start your journey toward working as a medical administrative assistant with Ashworth College by calling an Admissions Advisor at .

Bedroom desk with laptop

Life Hacks How to Organize an Effective Study Space

Where do you study? If you find yourself studying on your bed in a messy room, you may want to consider revamping your space. The environment you’re studying in can determine how you learn, how much you retain, and how you apply that information. As an online learner, you have a lot of control over your study space. That’s why it’s important to make sure you make it the perfect study environment.

Here are five ways you can make your study space learning-friendly while also personalizing it for you.

Limit distractions and set guidelines

iphone & glasses

At home, there are countless distractions. Between family, a page long to-do list, and lack of motivation, it’s easy to let your mind wander. That’s why it’s important to set study rules. Let your family or roommates know that you’re studying, what you’re studying for, and how long you plan to study. This way they know not to disturb you and understand the importance of the material you plan to go through.

Your spot should also be peaceful and noise free. Listening to distracting music or watching TV may not be the best approach to studying. While music helps some people focus, if you find yourself singing along or concentrating more on the music than your studies you may want to turn it off. Your phone should be off or turned over to limit distractions. It shouldn’t be buzzing and giving you the temptation to surf the Internet. If your area is too quiet for your liking, turn on a fan to add some white noise. Or, think about past study environments that have worked for you. Try recreating that environment with sounds, smells, or lighting.

Comfort is key

Woman looking at computer

Nobody likes to be uncomfortable and you definitely shouldn’t be while you study. As an online learner, it’s easy to roll out of bed and start your schoolwork. While comfort is key, you need to draw the line between comfy and too comfy. This means you may want to change out of your pajamas before you hit the books. This way, you’re telling your brain it’s not time to nap, it’s time to learn.

Think about your desk and chair, too. You want to make sure your chair is comfortable with good support and won’t hurt your back as you’re busy reading and writing. Don’t forget to make sure that your computer monitor and chair are set to heights that are comfortable for you so you’re not injuring your neck or wrists. Lastly, keep your space cool and well lit. If it’s too hot or too cold, or if you’re straining your eyes to see, you’ll be easily distracted. Research shows that productivity is at its highest when the temperature is between 72°F and 75°F.

Keep it organized

Notebook on desk

Now that you have a study space, you want to keep it organized. First, make sure to gather all the supplies you may need and place them where they’re easily accessible. You want these items to be within reach so you don’t have to waste precious study time looking for what you need. You can organize these items by using desk drawers or by placing them in organized piles on top of your desk. Try keeping your materials together by course, including all notes and printouts you may need.

Ultimately, organization means something different for everyone. While a clean desk promotes productivity, a messy desk may help you be more creative. Everyone has a different style and it comes down to personal preference, so choose whatever style fits you. After all, comfort is key.

Personalize it

Decorated home desk

Adorning your study space with photographs, inspirational quotes, or posters can motivate you and keep you going. Maybe a picture of your family reminds you why you’re working so hard to earn your education. You can also spruce up the area with a plant or two. Studies show that plants improve air quality and can help you focus.

Most importantly, this space should be somewhere you enjoy being. A space that’s yours and only yours, even if it’s only a small corner in a busy room. Make this a space you actually enjoy spending time in.

Use the space only for studying

Laptop on a desk

You love your new study space. It’s comfortable and personalized just for you. So, it’s tempting to use it for non-study related activities. Don’t! You’ll be more likely to create distractions if you decide that this is also the space where you’ll watch Netflix, play video games, draw, or just relax. Dedicate it exclusively to studying, that way you only associate the space with learning.

BONUS: Enjoy it

Creating a study space is all about you and the way it makes you feel. It’s about dedicating time to study and creating an atmosphere that allows you to get ready to hit the books and work towards reaching your goals. Due to budgeting restrictions, you may not be able to create the study space of your dreams, but with these tips, you can turn even the most boring space into a spot that inspires you to learn.

Share your study space with us! Use the #AshworthCollege on social media and show us your favorite space to learn.

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Life Hacks How Exercise & Diet Can Impact Your Learning

If you’re lacking energy, having trouble concentrating, or just aren’t feeling your normal self, what you’re putting into your body (or lack thereof) may have something to do with it. Often times people tend to overlook how their lifestyle choices, like nutrition and exercise, can affect their brain. Making small changes in your busy life to adopt a healthier lifestyle can fuel your body and mind while giving you the energy you need to complete your tasks. Here’s how to fit healthy living into your busy schedule.

Nutrition as brain fuel

If you’re losing focus or falling behind in your schoolwork don’t brush it off. It may be due to your overall health. Believe it or not, nutrition affects your learning. Adopting a healthy lifestyle around your busy schedule, schoolwork, and career may seem exhausting, but it’s important. Eating well and moving more doesn’t mean you have to be miserable or eat foods you don’t enjoy. It’s about making small, gradual changes that result in you feeling better. And, if you feel better, you’ll produce better work, gain more energy, and enjoy a boost of confidence.

Food is fuel—fuel for your brain. But, “bad fuel” like processed or refined foods—meaning foods that have been pre-packaged, canned, or frozen—affect your brain in a negative way. Diets that are high in refined sugars can result in impaired brain function and mood disorders. According to the Harvard Health Blog, eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress. Healthier foods produce serotonin, which is a chemical in the brain that affects your mood. If you eat food that’s good for you, that means your overall mood will be better, resulting in better productivity.

With your busy life, it may seem easier to grab a burger on your lunch break from the closest fast food restaurant. Maybe you’re eating just to eat, not considering how it’s affecting your learning and overall mood in general. However, the more junk food you consume, the less nutrients your body receives.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of fitting healthy eating into your hectic life. Instead, try tips like

  • Meal prep. Meal prepping is the easiest way to get on track with healthy eating. Taking some time on a Sunday (or any day that works for you) to prepare meals for the week will set you up for success, and could even save you a few bucks. Wake up, grab your packaged meals, and get learning! When meal prepping, remember to remove foods that offer little to no nutritional value such as processed foods.
  • Pinterest is your friend. Pinterest is a one stop shop for all the easy, healthy recipes you need to get on track. Ashworth’s Nutrition, Diet & Exercise board is full of balanced, vitamin-packed recipes and food prep tips and tricks. Start there!
  • Start slow. Introduce nutritious foods and remove foods from your diet slowly. Incorporate more colorful fruits and vegetables (the more colors the better) as you remove more and more beige and white starchy foods. Take note of how you feel when you eat foods that are healthier and remember how good it feels to eat well when you slip back into old habits to get back on track.

Small changes is all it takes to get the nutrients you need to concentrate on your studies.

Work it out

There are plenty of reasons to exercise that range from reducing the risk of diseases to improving your body composition. But that’s not all. Research shows that exercise is just as important for our brains as it is for our bodies. Exercise helps our memory and thinking and reduces insulin resistance, inflammation that can lead to disease, and raises the growth of new blood vessels in the brain and the abundance and survival of new brain cells, according to Harvard Health Blog. Additionally, studies have shown that those who exercise have greater brain volume in the parts of the brain that controls thinking and memory.

While finding the time to exercise may sound exhausting there are ways to be active without spending hours at the gym. Here are some exercise tips that will have you study-ready:

  • Take a walk. Walking is a great way to introduce physical activity into your life. It’s low impact, doesn’t leave you sweating, and can be easily fit into your daily life. Instead of sitting at your desk at work, take a walk around the building or outside! Or, if you’re having trouble concentrating while studying, take a walk break. Pro tip: Track your steps and set small goals to add more into your week.
  • Find a buddy. If it's hard for you to stay motivated on your own find a buddy to help! Consider group classes such as Zumba, a spin class, or Crossfit. You can also get a personal trainer, but they can be expensive in the long run. Instead, you can commit to being your own personal trainer with Ashworth!
  • Destress. Yoga is low impact and makes you stronger, but it’s also good for your brain. Yoga helps you stress less while also keeping you sharp.

Your health can help you succeed

Nutritious eating and exercise is the ultimate self-care. When you’re healthy inside, you’ll produce better work on the outside. Keep your memory sharp and ready to learn with a solid diet and regular exercise. If you’re not sure where to start, Ashworth College can help! Our Nutrition, Diet and Health Science Program can help you understand how a better diet can improve your quality of life, while our Personal Training Program can help you recognize why physical activity improves your overall health. Ready to take the first step? Enroll online or call us at to see if these programs are right for you.

 
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