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I have worked with adult learners for over twenty years.  During my time as an instructor, mentor and advisor, I’ve found the importance for adult learners to remember that it is not always possible to do everything. The below list is meant to lighten your day and to help keep an open perspective that you are not alone. We acknowledge that balancing a job, your family and now your studies, is not easy and that you can give yourself permission not to get all items on your to-do list done.

5 Things That You May Not Get Done On Your To-Do List

  1. Cleaning your closets.  Many of you clean your closets once or twice a year or refer to spring cleaning as a national holiday.  Be prepared - you may not get your closet cleaned this year.  Remember the rule that your children may have used on you, “as long as I can shut the closet door, it is clean.”  Yes, we all want clean and organized closets, but it can wait until you have that research paper handed in by 11:59 pm on Sunday night or a break between the terms.

  2. Laundry. Many of you may be like me, it is a rarity if I do not do at least one load of clothes a day.  A family of 6 seems to create a load of towels daily. You can lower your standards and do a load of laundry on days that your posts or responses are not due.  On the bright side, laundry is also one of those tasks that allows you to read a chapter or two between the washing and drying cycles.  Multi-tasking as an adult learner is an essential survival skill. 

  3. Grocery shopping. Yes, we all need to eat.  Consider this time while you are going back to college as an opportunity for your family to eat those items in the pantry, you know the ones pushed a little further back.  However, I would still check the expiration dates.  Who knows, you and your family may have a new found love for green beans and a can of cream of mushroom soup.  However, don’t skip on your meals. You still need the nourishment for your body and mind to assist in your learning.

  4. Present shopping and celebrations. Life should be filled with little celebrations, and you don’t want to forget anyone’s special day.  Don’t forget the convenience of online shopping.  Amazon Prime delivers free in two days.  Gift bags are an easy way to make any gift look great.  Have a few gift bags and tissue on hand and you can have a gift wrapped as you are walking out of the door.  Amazon Prime is not only great for saving time, it is also a great source to purchase textbooks with free shipping.  It only takes a few textbooks and your membership before year pays for itself.  As an adult learner, you also need to celebrate the little things.  Refrigerators are not just for grocery lists and kids projects, they are a place to celebrate your A on that research paper!

  5. Sleep. I cannot lie, you may get a little less sleep than you’re ordinarily accustomed to receiving.  By far, many adult students state that their best and most productive work is done after everyone in their home is in bed or early in the morning when no one is awake.  Taking time to sleep and take care of yourself, is important for your academic success.

Being an adult learner is not always easy, but the rewards far outweigh the “not dones” on your to do list. At Northwestern, we walk alongside students in support of their academic pursuits. We admire your diligence and tenacity to improve your life by continuing your education.  We are proud of your accomplishments – we’re with you every step of the way! Connect with Kaylyn or Crystal if you're interested in more information about the Northwestern online programs. 

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For adult students, there can be a big time gap between completing one degree and pursuing the next. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been in the academic mode, or maybe you’re continuing right after a semester of classes. Either way, it can take time to adjust to new paper deadlines and adding one more thing to the busy-ness of life. We have found 3 keys to success to creating your personal “class time” - a consistent study time, location, and environment.   

Here are 3 tips to help you be successful in your adult learning and academic goals:

  1. Set a routine

Develop a routine of studying in the same location, approximate time, and even day. Find where you work best and can feel distraction free. This doesn’t have to be one sole space, if you can focus at a favorite coffee shop, your kitchen table, or empty classroom, it will establish a routine for motivated work time. You don’t have to pressure yourself to finish everything in one sitting. It can be helpful to break up the class assignment across the whole week with at least one rest day. Some students segment their homework time into 20-minute sections, which means you focus your attention on one item and then take a 5-10 minute break to stand up, go for walk or drink water in between your next 20-minute work session. Be creative with your in-between times. You may have a few minutes during a prep period or work break that you can check discussion questions; this way you can think about your answer on your drive home and be ready for your established study time. An academic routine integrated into daily life will help you meet your goals.

 

  1. Create study rules, and follow them

If you sometimes struggle with not feeling productive during your personal class time, set a few ground rules that you stick with. You might make sure you have a comfortable environment in your study area. Make sure you’re not having in back or wrist pain, have good lighting, and all your materials ready before you start. Your study zone might be sitting down with a cup of tea after the kids are in bed. Whatever you decide as your rules set them and stick to them. The structure lends to success.  

 

  1. Build a support team

Having accountability and support in pursuing your academic goals will help keep you on track. Share your routine and rules with your family, friends, and kids - so they can help you not only stick to it, but it also allows them to assist in creating the positive learning environment. Share with your classroom or co-workers about your academic pursuit. It will create mutual encouragement, and give them an opportunity to share in your accomplishments. What better inspiration than to show you’re always learning too! You may be an inspiration for others to pursue their goals. 

At Northwestern, we are your first academic support team. We are here because we want to make a difference in your life and walk alongside you to achieve your academic goals.

For more information, Take a look at Northwestern's adult learning online programs. 

 

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There are endless reasons to continue your education in earning a BSN. Each student has his or her own motivation, but we are here to help you broaden your career options, grow in your nursing abilities, and achieve your education goals. Whether you’re preparing to transfer directly from your ADN at a community or technical college, or you’ve been working in the field for years, you may be asking how do I even start!

First things first, contact an enrollment counselor to guide you through the steps.
We will look at your unofficial or official ADN transcripts to give you a transcript evaluation and optional plan of study. You can get a good idea of what YOUR program will be and when it works best for you to start. Next, you can apply for free and send official transcripts for admittance, file FAFSA and request financial aid, and the final step happens when we register you for your first semester!

5 tips in preparing for a successful and stress-free transfer:

  1. Prepare early
    The sooner you begin thinking about continuing your degree, the better. Give yourself time to plan when you’ll be finishing your associate degree, taking your boards, and beginning your BSN. When you choose your BSN program early, you can be best prepared ahead of time. You can take nearly all of the electives while you are still in your ADN program. If you would like help in choosing which courses to take, contact an enrollment counselor and your current academic advisor.

    If you’re already a working nurse, it’s not too late. We’re here for support and help make the program fit you.
  1. Know what transfers
    One of the most important steps in transferring is knowing exactly what courses transfer and what courses you will have left to take in the BSN program. You can send unofficial transcripts to an enrollment counselor to be evaluated. We have partnerships with many community colleges to make the transferring of credits as seamless as possible.

  2. Determine financial aid
    Continuing your education is more than a time investment. There are many ways to help make your program affordable - from grants and loans to specific RN to BSN scholarships. You will want to file FAFSA. Our financial aid office will put together an aid package for you, and we have additional resources for you.
  1. ASK questions
    No question is a dumb question. Enrollment counselors can answer questions about program requirements, course structure, financial aid, academic tutor support, or what happens if you need to stop out a semester.
  1. #Goals
    Have you ever met a nurse that wasn’t busy? Neither have I. You will be busy, but your determination to be a life-changing caregiver is the same determination to complete your degree. You CAN balance work, family, and life. An online program does give you flexibility. Believe in yourself to embrace the hard work in takes to achieve your goal. Write down your goals so when it gets tough you can refer back. Having a good support system that includes your advisor, professors, family, and friends makes all the difference.

As a nurse you are a lifelong caregiver. You have the heart to care for the most broken and worn down people of the Lord’s kingdom – take courage!

Read more about how to transfer your ADN credits toward your BSN. 

Leslie Stover

Meet the Author

Leslie Stover is the marketing coordinator for the Graduate School and Adult Learning programs. She has worked as an enrollment counselor for the RN to BSN program assisting nursing students to begin their BSN program.

Leslie is a graduate of Northwestern College. Since her graduation she has completed her Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. She enjoys helping working professionals achieve their education goals and professional development through Northwestern programs and continuing education events.

 

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The clinical/practicum component within the online RN-BSN program is flexible and tailored to coincide with the demands of a busy schedule. There are three nursing courses that have a practicum component; each clinical looks a little different. 

In NUR 280A: Health Assessment, the clinical requirement is basically completing health assessments within a virtual program known as Shadow Health®.  The clinical experience is 30 hours that can be done on your own time and in the comfort of your own home.

In NUR 460A : Nursing Leadership and Clinical Scholarship the clinical/practicum experience equals 30 hours (all inclusive).  Some of the activities you will need to complete include: Leadership Practicum: 16 hours (based on approved learning contract)

  • shadow a nurse leader (someone in administrative, not clinical position) for 8 hours and observe their leadership/management roles and skills
  • interview 2 people: one nurse managers or nurse leaders (not resource or charge nurses rather in administrative position) and one non-nursing administrator/CEO. 

Discussion board postings, IHI open school modules; Clinical leadership paper reflecting on your clinical learning.

The last nursing course with clinical/practicum is NUR 440A: Public Health Nursing.  This course has the largest clinical component.  It totals 60 hours but the majority can be completed when it is convenient for you.  Some of the clinical requirements include: interviewing a public health nurse, completing a windshield survey of your chosen county, observing care in home health and hospice settings, observing a minimum of four hours in either a WIC clinic, school, or Occupational health; you also need to complete online activities, case studies and discussion boards related to clinical content.  Although there is a lot of work with this clinical, most of it can be completed on your own time.  The only things that will need to happen during the workday are the observations. 

The goal of this clinical/practicum experiences are for you to see different perspectives of nursing practice.  While you are experienced nurses, you may not have had administrative or public health roles.  Often if one has the opportunity to see multiple perspectives in health care, it creates an understanding of why certain decisions are made (or not made) and gives an organizational or systems perspective rather than only from an individual viewpoint.

Of course, you can always contact us for more specific information about clinicals and course requirements. Take a look at all the courses you would take in the program: RN to BSN Program Requirements.

Karie Stamer

Meet the Author

Karie is the program director for the online RN to BSN program. She has extensive teaching experience, including a strong background in the development and delivery of online courses. She previously taught at Northwest Iowa Community College for seven years.

Karie also worked for the Orange City Area Health System for 11 years as a nurse manager and floor nurse. She has worked in medical/surgical nursing, obstetrics and mental health. She advises all of the online students and teaches several classes both online and on campus for traditional students. Karie truly has a passion to develop nurses for life-long care-giving and servant leadership in the healthcare. 

 

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We often have questions about how and when students can pay their bills. We're here to help make the process as convenient as possible from online payment options to monthly payment plans.

Student payments are due by Aug. 1 for first semester and the second semester payments are due in January of the new semester by the 3rd of the month.  Online students can view their bill online and should make their payment online on MyNWC under the billing information tab.  Payment can be made with e-check which has no fee, or by credit card which has a 2.75% fee.

Online students may pay on a monthly payment plan by completing a monthly payment form found on MyNWC under the “billing information” tab. Enrollment for 1st semester must be made by July 1 and by November registration for the spring semester. The monthly payment form needs to be completed and e-mailed to the business office by the date given on the form.  First semester payments are due July 25, August 25, Sept. 25, Oct. 25 and November 25.  Second semester payments are due Dec. 25, January 25, February 25, March 25 and April 25.

There is a $25.00 per semester set up fee for monthly payments.  There is no additional interest charged unless your payment is delinquent.  In that case, you will owe the entire balance and interest of 1% per month will be charged to your account.  Monthly payments may change if you change your class schedule, or there is an adjustment in your financial aid package. 

If you do not make your payments, you will not be able to get into classes, Blackboard or use campus facilities and we cannot give you a diploma or release your transcripts or credentials until you settle your account. We are always available if you have questions!

please call (712-707-7125) or email (debw@nwciowa.edu).

 

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I’m excited to write my first blog for NWC!  What’s even more exciting is that I can write this about a fun topic that we all enjoy – FOOD!!

My goal in this particular blog is to give you some helpful hints in trying to manage your family schedule, homework, household chores, etc. while feeding your family.  I know that there are some weeks it seems I especially fail, so don’t feel that this is by any means the best method.  Make sure you give yourself some grace!

So how do I figure out what meals to make and when?  Well, there are a couple of methods I use:

  1. Look in your cupboards and freezer to see what should get eaten or has been sitting there for awhile. If it’s not expired, determine what you can make with it.  You can do this by looking for recipes that contain a few of your ingredients.  One of the best websites I have found for this is allrecipes.com

  2. Take out one of your cookbooks each month and view recipes you think your family might like. Lay them out on a calendar according to your schedule. Make sure you write down any ingredients you might need for your next shopping trip to the grocery store. 
  3. Once a month sit down and plan your meals according to the family’s schedule. Make sure to assign crockpot meals for those nights you are super busy!  Also, build in some leftover days.  Make sure you take advantage of tailgates and fundraising meals at various churches, schools, and other community events!  It’s a great way to ease the stress and mess!
  4. Look at Pinterest for Meal Planning tips and tricks. Find one that best suits your family, food preferences, and lifestyle.
  5. Cook some meals with friends! I love to get together with a group of friends and set aside a day to make meals!  You can also participate in meal exchanges too!

Ultimately, you need to do what works for you and your family’s lifestyle.  No matter what or when you eat, I would encourage you to enjoy your family meals together!  Ask each other about your day.

Remember some of the fondest memories are made around the table together!

 

Crystal Rozeboom

Meet the Author

Crystal is the senior enrollment counselor for the Graduate School and Adult Learning. She works especially with our Master of Ed. students in preparing to begin the program, advising on classes and registration, and walking alongside as they progress to graduation. She also completed her MBA online all while balancing work, family, and life commitments.

When Crystal is not helping students register for classes or building programs of study, you might find her training for a half-marathon, cheering on her kid's sporting events, volunteering at church or cooking meals with friends.

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Enrolling in college is a huge step—whether it’s transferring to complete your degree or returning to school after some (or much!) time away. The transition to completing homework and writing papers on a regular basis can be intimidating at first. Thankfully, you are not alone in making the transition to academic life.

Academic support is available to those who need it. As a writing tutor at Northwestern, I have had the opportunity to help students in an online nursing course. While tutoring looks a little different online, we are here to walk alongside you to help you succeed.

Receiving feedback will be a different process than face-to-face interaction. However, the quality of support will remain the same, and tutors will go out of their way to help as much as they possibly can.

When asking for help, students will typically send an electronic copy of their paper via email. Depending on tutor and student availability, a time can then be set up to discuss the paper. Tutors aren’t there just to provide constructive criticism; we will also help you to capitalize on your strengths and grow more confident in whatever subject you’re working in.

In the past, I have done Skype meetings or phone calls. In-document comments are also provided so students can more easily remember the comments discussed. From there, any further questions can be discussed via email, phone call, or Skype. Tutors are willing to help and work to meet your schedule demands.

While college or grad school can seem demanding, you are not alone. Whatever class you’re concerned with, from math and chemistry to writing, support is available. The tutors are willing to work with your schedule to provide you with the best feedback possible. For more information about tutoring services, contact your Northwestern academic advisor.

 

Nicole Montgomery

Meet the Author

Nicole is an English Teaching major at Northwestern. She serves as the Blog Coordinator and writing tutor for the Graduate School and Adult Learning. As a writing tutor, she is already preparing for her career goals of teaching 8th, 9th, or 12 grade English.

Nicole also has a passion for social justice and young adult literature.

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While it can be a challenge to prepare to go back to school, registering for online courses at Northwestern College is a simple process. Graduate School students may register beginning on the first day registration opens for the on-campus students at Northwestern. The academic calendar also shows the dates for the upcoming terms.   

The first step is to log into your MyNorthwestern account and choose “Registration” under the “Academics” tab. In the middle of the page, click the hyperlink that says “Add/Drop Courses” and check that the correct session and year is listed in the Term dropdown box.

Graduate students will also want to ensure “Graduate Program” is listed in the Student Program and Program dropdown boxes. Make sure you agree to the terms of the Registration Agreement.  

Next, students can add the courses they want to register for by entering the appropriate course code. For example, enter EDU525-01 for section 01 of Advanced Child Development.

 If you have any questions, contact your academic advisor or the registrar’s office ( registrar@nwciowa.edu).

 

Austyn Nyhof

Meet the Author

Austin is the Associate Registrar for Northwestern College. He has the opportunity to work with both traditional on-campus students as well as online students.

Austin also understands the balance of continuing education while working full time. He is currently pursing his Masters of Business Administration online.

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People often tell me “I always wanted to get my degree, but that’s a long time in school.”  My response is always the same:  That time is going to pass you by anyway.  Would you rather be two years older, with the degree you always wanted, qualified for the kind of job you always wanted, or would you rather be two years older and still be saying “I always wanted to get my degree….”? 

Education has never been so accessible.  You no longer have to commute to school, take night classes, figure out daycare and try to rearrange your work schedule in order to earn your degree.  Many colleges offer online or hybrid programs that work with your schedule.  I’m not suggesting those programs are easy, but that they can fit into your life.  If you want to earn a degree you can, without disrupting your family or your job. 

Your career is absolutely something that is within your power to control.  Don’t let two years be the barrier that prevents you from work you will enjoy for the rest of your life.  Two years are going to pass you by anyway.  Invest them in yourself.

 

Rebecca Hoey

Meet the Author

Rebecca is the dean of Northwestern Graduate School and Adult Learning. She has published in Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration and presented in higher education conferences. Rebecca is teaching Ed Research this semester for the online Master of Education students.

As a wife; mother of four children, two dogs, and countless chickens, she speaks to the challenges and rewards of balancing family, work, school, and life.

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