Category Archives: Counseling and Advice

Year-Round Pell Grants Available for Summer!

While making your summer plans, you may be considering taking a summer class to move closer to your degree or certificate. If you’re eligible for the Pell Grant, paying for that class may just have gotten a bit easier.

Parkland College students may be able to receive a third disbursement of the award, based on a recent Department of Education announcement.

If you’ve already received a full Pell Grant during the fall and spring semesters, you may now qualify for “Year-round Pell” and so receive a full Pell Grant during the summer 2018 semester as well, the DOE reported.

Year-round Pell allows students to receive up to 150 percent of a regular grant award over the course of the academic year so they can continue taking classes in the summer and finish their degrees faster than they would otherwise. With careful planning, Pell Grant recipients may take advantage of this new regulation to earn their degree faster.

You should be aware, though, that any Pell Grant you receive over the summer will be included in determining your Pell Grant lifetime limit.

To be eligible for the additional Pell Grant funds, you:

  • must be otherwise eligible to receive Pell Grant funds for the payment period
  • must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) during the summer term
  • must be maintaining satisfactory academic progress

You’re going to have to fill out a Summer Information Form, available on our forms web page, to get started. And remember, you should always speak to an academic advisor about the classes you should take.

If you were awarded Pell Grants for the 2017‐2018 academic year, contact the Financial Aid office at 217/351-2222 or finaid@parkland.edu for help with summer 2018 financial planning.

Registration for Parkland College Summer Session 2018 starts March 26, so don’t delay!

[Patricia Murbarger is an advisor with Financial Aid and Veteran Services.]

Top Four Reasons to Earn an Online Business Degree

Thinking of studying to earn a degree in business? You might consider the benefits of taking your classes online! Parkland College offers business degrees, certificates, and classes you can take completely online. Here are the four top reasons an online business degree might work for you:

Flexibility. People are busy and their time is valuable to them. Online courses allow students to work at times that are convenient for them and stay on schedule to graduate, so they can advance their careers. Here is what a couple of our students had to say:

Parkland allows me to complete an entire degree by taking online classes. This is important to me as an adult with a full-time career.Robert M.

I only needed a few courses to complete my degree, and Parkland online courses have fit my busy schedule perfectly. I will be graduating this spring rather than having to take summer classes. I appreciate the freedom that online classes provide! – Julie P.

Opportunity. Parkland College prides itself with transferring students to top universities to continue their degrees, and with preparing students to move directly into the workforce. Local employers tout the quality of Parkland graduates.:

It has been my pleasure to hire many Parkland students over the last five years for the U of I Community Credit Union. These students possess the ability to adapt and learn their environment along with contributing to the team in their departments. Parkland students accept the challenge of learning and appreciate the environment in a workplace that allows them to excel. – UICCU staffer

Support. Parkland offers the same quality education and support to its online students that it offers at its campus. Our online students notice our commitment to our systems; they also notice our employees’ commitment to them.

They [Parkland] are continuing to update their systems for students to stay up on what is going on in the world.

Parkland staff is always helpful and knowledgeable whenever I have questions. When taking classes, I always feel as if the professors want you to succeed.

Affordability. Last, but certainly not least, Parkland students have the business savvy to notice a good deal when they see it.

I feel that the tuition is reasonable for all that a student really gets at Parkland, which includes the right education and tools I need to succeed in the workforce.

Parkland College’s online business apply to a variety of degree and certificate programs that can be completed without coming to a campus classroom. So, GO AHEAD, invest in yourself!

[Lori Wendt is the learning management system specialist for the Professional Development and Instructional Technology department at Parkland College.]

Degree Completion Day

Are you a new Parkland student taking a few classes but not sure where those classes might take you?  Are  you a first-year student who hasn’t made a solid plan to get to graduation or a second-year student wanting to confirm you are in the correct last few courses?

ALL of you should attend Degree Completion Day.

Degree Completion Day takes place Wednesday, February 21 in the U building (Student Union) between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Here are some features of this great event:

  • You can learn about transferring to another institution for a bachelor’s degree.
  • Academic advising will be available.
  • Learn how to track your progress toward your degree or certificate.
  • Confirm your degree program.
  • Complete a Graduation Petition and turn it in for a formal degree audit.
  • Learn the difference between “graduation” and “commencement.”
  • Find out what General Education courses are and why you might need them.

Finally, come and get some giveaways and refreshments.  WPCD-FM will be streaming live!

Don’t spend any more time just guessing how to get through college or wondering why you’re here. Get real answers and get on track!

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland Admissions and Records.]

 

Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.

 

Our message this week:  National Stalking Awareness Month.

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January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affected 7.5 million victims in one year.

The theme, “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.”, challenges the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.

Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, the U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia, yet many victims and criminal justice professionals underestimate its seriousness and impact. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships.

Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result of their victimization.

Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate, and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime but a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits. One in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim’s daily activities.

Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalkers follow their victims from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute their crimes. Communities that understand stalking, however, can support victims and combat the crime.

As we work more to raise awareness and recognition of stalking, we have a better chance to protect victims and prevent tragedies. If you or someone you know is a victim of stalking, please don’t hesitate to approach any of the Parkland College police officers or call us at 217/351-2369.

For further information on this issue, please visit: stalkingawarenessmonth.org/about

 

This article was originally  posted in January 2017.

 

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

12 Tips for Winter Driving

As we head into the winter months, conditions on the road can become more dangerous. We need to make a few adjustments to our driving habits to make sure we’re safely reaching our destinations.

As a reminder of those adjustments, we’ve republished our January 2017 post on winter driving, below, which includes tips from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation website. Please give it a read.

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How can you keep safe on the road this winter? Here are the top 12 tips:

12. Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights—even the hood and roof—before driving.

11. Leave plenty of room for stopping.

10. Pay attention; don’t try to outdrive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.

9. Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.

8. Bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approaching road.

7. Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter, since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line. Be aware of this when exiting the highway.

6. Don’t use the “cruise control” option when driving in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the slightest touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

5. Don’t get overconfident in your 4×4 vehicle’s traction. Driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle may help you get going quicker, but it won’t help you stop any quicker. Many 4x4s are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stopWinter Driving

4. Look further ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by cars and trucks will alert you quicker to problems and give you a split-second of extra time to react safely.

3. Remember that trucks are heavier than cars. Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.

2. Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows! Stay back at least 200 feet and don’t pass on the right.

1. Most importantly, please, remember to SLOW DOWN! Also, seat belts should be worn at all times; it’s the law.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

I’m a Cubs fan, and I’m glad they lost

Rattle the Stars Executive Director Kim Bryan has graciously shared with us her journey of suicide loss, below. She is one of many who have had to endure similar painful experiences. Join Kim and others Saturday, Nov. 18, as Parkland College recognizes International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day with a program and discussion, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room U140 of the Student Union.

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When the Cubs disappointingly dropped game five to the Dodgers, I breathed a small sigh of relief.  We’re a family of Cubs fans: my husband was sucked in at age 7 in 1984, I acquired fandom through 20 years of marriage to a die-hard, and my kids were all born into it.  We even named our youngest daughter after Ryne Sandberg (she has yet to decide whether she loves or hates it).  We made a regular pilgrimage to the Eden that is Wrigley Field, and even braved the cold to wish her a happy 100th birthday.  As much as I would have loved to see my beloved Cubbies repeat this year, I was glad to be spared the pain that comes with their success.

In April 2016, just as the magical season was getting underway, my 19-year-old son died of suicide.  Sam had battled depression for several years, and after the dreadful disease drained every ounce of his happiness, it moved on to those who loved him.  When Sam died, my world went dark.  For the entire regular season, the Cubs were the farthest thing from my mind.  Just getting up and functioning each day was exhausting, and every spare moment I had was spent questioning the last minutes, hours, days, years of Sam’s life trying to figure what I could have done differently, better, to save him.

By the time October rolled around, I was just beginning to pay attention to the rest of the world again, and the Cubbies were certainly demanding attention.  But with every win, I was secretly hoping they would lose.  The little voice in my head was begging them not to win, not now, not this year.  When they won Game 6 of the NLCS, I cried.  I cried, not out of happiness, but out of grief and loss.  It was really happening.  The Cubs were going to the Series, and he was missing it.  How could he miss this?  It was all he had wanted since Neifi Perez tossed his batting gloves over the dugout to him at his first Cubs game.  Despite my best efforts, they just insisted on winning.  When Rizzo made the final out, and the world erupted in celebration, I sat stone-face on my couch, not able to move.  I finally managed a hug to my husband, but no words would even come.  This was just adding insult to injury.  Six months after suicide stole my son from the world, his dream came true.

A few days later, my family made another pilgrimage to the Eden that is Wrigley Field.  I was determined that Sam was not going to miss this.  We put on all our Cubs gear and took the worn-out Cubs hat that Sam wore every day for years, and we joined countless others in writing our tributes in chalk on the brick.  Even though I know it was eventually washed away, it was comforting to know that his name was on that wall.  A piece of him was there at Wrigley celebrating his beloved Cubbies winning the World Series.  We hugged and cried and reminisced about the great times we had had there.  We stayed as long as we could, and then begrudgingly left for home, feeling the gaping hole in our lives that was left when Sam died.

The most difficult part of healing from the death of my son has been reconciling the simultaneous happiness and sadness that comes with times of joy.  When I first started to feel happiness again, I felt guilty for it.  I actually dreaded things that I would feel good about, things that would bring me joy, because I knew that they would also bring guilt and regret, and things that I knew Sam would enjoy were the absolute worst.  Before his death, Sam had written that he knew people would be sad when he died, but that they would get over it because they were better off without him.  Every time I felt happy, those words rang in my head.  Happiness meant I was getting over it, and how could I ever possibly get over losing my son?  If I was happy, did that mean I was better off without him?  How was I going to get through the rest of my life if I couldn’t find a way to experience happiness without being consumed by this turmoil?

Thankfully, I began to connect with other survivors of suicide loss.  Through AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Walk and Survivors of Suicide Loss Day I began to meet and talk with others who understood what I was going through.  I found a community of people that have both supported my personal healing and my new journey to prevent youth suicide with our organization, Rattle the Stars.

It’s now been over a year and half since suicide stole my son from me.  I’m still not great, but with the support of other survivors, I’m getting back to okay.  For me, okay is something to celebrate.

[Dennis Cockrum is a counselor with Parkland College’s Counseling Services department.]

Papers Due? Try the Writing Lab for Help!

Do you have a paper to revise? Are you trying to figure out MLA and APA citations? Would you like to brainstorm ideas for a scholarship application essay?

The Writing Lab can help! Stop by the Center for Academic Success (CAS, Room D120), where the lab is located, to consult one-on-one with writing faculty:

  • Get help with everything from starting on your academic paper to citing sources correctly.
  • Faculty will not proofread for you, but we can help you learn how to proofread.
  • Sessions last 15 minutes on average. Bring your assignment instructions with you so that Writing Lab faculty can help you effectively.
  • You can also find many helpful writing handouts and tutorials online.

Take advantage of this FREE resource for Parkland College students. We’re here for your success.

Writing Lab Hours
Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–4:50 p.m.
Friday, 9 a.m.–1:50 p.m.

[Dr. Umeeta Sadarangani teaches English 101, Humanities 109, and a variety of literature courses, and she serves as the CAS writing specialist and the Writing Lab director.]

Suicide Prevention Week

This week is Suicide Prevention Week, and today’s post draws information from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

  • Did you know that more than 5 million people in the United States alone have been directly affected by a suicide?
  • Experts believe that most suicidal individuals do not want to die. They just want to end the pain they are experiencing.
  • Experts also say suicidal crises tend to be brief. When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved.

Services are available in our community that assess and treat suicidal behaviors and their underlying causes. If you or someone you know is experiencing serious depression and/or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a friend, instructor,  counselor, or one of our campus police officers for help getting through this difficult time.

For this year’s National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 10–16), the theme is “Take a Minute, Save a Life.” Please join Parkland College in supporting suicide prevention. Together we can reduce the number of lives shaken by a needless and tragic death.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Rest up for Finals Week…and Your Safety

Sleep is one of the most powerful indicators of student success, and with good reason. Sleep not only refreshes our organs and physical bodies, but it helps us consolidate and synthesize the information  we take in everyday. Many college students (and adults in general) find that they have trouble getting enough quality sleep at night.

Not only is sleep important for success in the classroom or the workplace, but getting enough sleep is critical for your safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.

I found some great tips for improving the quality and quantity of your sleep, from Middlebury College in Vermont:

Develop a routine. Routines signal to our body that something is about to happen—in this case, sleep! Starting a bedtime routine 30 minutes before going to sleep can help unwind the mind and body and release melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Starting the routine at the same time and trying to wake up and the same time everyday can improve sleep quality and quantity.

Reduce caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to cause people to take longer to get to sleep, cause more awakenings, and lower the quality of sleep. Many types of soda contain caffeine as does chocolate, coffee and many types of teas.

Limit alcohol. Consuming alcohol, even as little as one to two drinks can produce fragmented sleep, causing a decrease in deep and REM sleep.

Go screen-free. The light emitted from cell phones, computer screens, tablets, and televisions trick our bodies and brains into thinking that it is light outside and we should be awake. Adding screen-free time into your routine can help you fall asleep faster.

Make time for physical activity. Often at the end of the day our brains are exhausted but our bodies are restless after sitting in class all day. Making time for physical activity, even just a walk around campus or your neighborhood, can help the brain and body get on the same page at the end of the day.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

10 Tips for Nighttime Walking

Whether you’re walking out to your car through the Parkland parking lots or enjoying an evening out in downtown Champaign, Urbana, or Campustown, foot travel at night carries more risks than the daytime. As starts to get nicer outside, we’ve compiled the following list of tips to help you safely reach your destination:

  1. Stay away from poorly lit areas and avoid taking shortcuts down dark alleyways or paths. Choose well-lit, heavily traveled sidewalks.
  2. If you are in an emergency situation, call 911.
  3. Whenever possible, do not walk alone at night.
  4. Be aware of places along your path that could conceal a criminal (shrubbery, buildings, recesses, etc.). Avoid these areas.
  5. Do not use headphones or talk on a cell phone while walking alone at night as this reduces your awareness of your surroundings.
  6. If you think someone is following you, make your way to a populated area and consider calling the police.
  7. Carry yourself with confidence. If confronted, shout or use a whistle to attract attention.
  8. It is risky to travel under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances. Drugs and alcohol can greatly alter your perceptions, reaction time, and judgments.
  9. Make sure to tell someone your plans and travel routes and when to expect your arrival.
  10. Wear clothing that will allow you to run if necessary. If you need to run, drop any heavy cargo you’re carrying (heavy books, packages, etc.) since these slow you down.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. During this month and throughout the year, Parkland College is dedicated to supporting families and reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect.

Even if you’re not a parent, almost everyone knows or is somehow connected to children through family or friends. You don’t have to be a professional to spend time and offer appropriate affection and support to the kids in your life.

Being the best parent you can be involves taking steps to strengthen your family and finding support when you need it. Parenting is part natural and part learned; you can supplement your natural skills with questions for your family doctor, your child’s teacher, family or friends. Books, websites, and parenting classes can also be helpful for ideas on how to deal with new challenges as your child grows up. Parenting isn’t something you have to do alone. When you have the knowledge, skills, and resources you need, you can raise a happy, healthy child.

Find out more about activities and programs in your community that support parents and promote healthy families. Dial 2-1-1 from any telephone in Champaign County and you’ll be connected with trained specialists who can help refer you to the variety of assistance programs available in the area.

A comprehensive tipsheet for parents and caregivers can also be found at: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/tipsheets_2017_en.pdf

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Cyber Safety, Part 1

For the next two weeks, we’ll be talking about cyber safety. Today’s post discusses three of the most common forms of theft and fraud that you’ll find online, and next week will be all about cyber bullying.

Phishing

Phishing is a common trick used by identity thieves to gain your personal information. This crime involves sending email or creating sites that appear to be from a legitimate company and asking you to confirm personal information such as bank account numbers, passwords, birth dates, or addresses. PayPal and eBay are two of the most common targets for phishing scams. Before adding any personal information, contact the supposed site directly to see if they have been trying to contact you. Most reputable sites will not contact you in this way.

Identity Theft

When they think of Internet safety, adults most often consider identity theft a top priority. Identity thieves can use the information they find online to drain your bank account and ruin your credit rating. In some cases, the damage caused by identity theft may even harm your future employment prospects, especially if you work in an industry that regularly does credit checks for all job applicants. Should you find yourself to be a victim of Identity theft, visit https://identitytheft.gov/ for easy instructions on how to report the crime and form a recovery plan.

Watch for Fraud

The global nature of the Internet has brought new life to scams. Some of the most common forms of Internet fraud include the following:

  • Online auctions site postings that feature nonexistent or falsely represented merchandise
  • Nigerian money offers promising large sums of cash in exchange for assistance with bank account transfers
  • Financial scams targeting consumers with poor credit who are tricked into paying upfront fees in hopes of receiving credit cards or personal loans
  • Phony sweepstakes offers asking for payment to claim a prize that doesn’t really exist

Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of on the Internet! Think critically about anything that sounds too good to be true.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

 

Spring Graduation: Get What You’ve Earned

So, you have earned your Parkland College degree or certificate, AND you are not walking in the commencement ceremony this May; you’re moving on.

However, you can still graduate and receive the credential you’ve earned…and you SHOULD. Here’s why:

• You never know how soon your life may change. Get that degree awarded to your Parkland College transcript.
• You have no idea how proud your family will be seeing that diploma on the living room wall.
• Your children follow in your footsteps. Knowing you’ve graduated will increase their chances of graduating from college as well.
• It is an excellent accent to your growing resume.
• Many jobs require at least a two-year degree, so why miss that opportunity?
• Haven’t you always been told to finish what you started?

Stop by Admissions and Records today to fill out a Petition to Graduate! The deadline is Monday, April 10! You can find the petition in Admissions and Records under Forms or in the my.parkland portal. It’s not an automatic thing to receive your degree; the petition lets us know you’re finished.

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland Admissions and Records.]

Get Advised Early!

Registrations are coming…avoid the lines!

Did you know that you can see your advisor in the Counseling and Advising Center before registration even begins? Even before our class schedule is released, we can recommend the courses you should take for the next semester. We have a general idea of what is offered during certain semesters and would be glad to get you cleared for registration in advance. (Remember, until a degree-seeking student has earned 30 credit hours at Parkland, he or she must see one of our advisors to be cleared to register for the semester.) 

For continuing Parkland students, summer registration begins the week of March 27 and fall registration begins the week of April 3. You will receive an email from Admissions to your student email account prior to these dates, telling you the exact day and time you can register for summer and fall courses. If you see your advisor before those dates and get cleared for registration, then you will be able to go online when it is your turn and register for your courses.

Counseling and Advising is located in U267; you can also reach us at 217/351-2219. Be prepared to be asked if you are a current student at Parkland. If you are not, then there may be other things you need to do, like placement testing and new student orientation before we can see you. Some departments do their own academic advising, so one of the questions you will be asked when you call or stop by is what your major of study is at Parkland. If you are in a program that we do not advise, then our front desk will give you the contact information of the person you need to see for advising.

Counseling and Advising is doing same-day appointments and advanced appointments through March 23. After that, we will only be doing same-day appointments. To make a same-day appointment, you will need to call or stop by the front desk after 8 a.m. and put your name down for the hour you would like to come in for advising.

[Myriah Benner-Coogan is an academic advisor in Counseling and Advising at Parkland College.]

Tax Time! Benefits for Students

It’s officially tax season! Have you received a 1098-T form from Parkland and are wondering what to do with it? If you are a college student who files taxes, there’s a good chance you can benefit from one or more tax programs for students. Read on to find out how you can save some money (and maybe even get a bigger refund!)

There are two main types of tax benefits available to students: tax credits and deductions.

Tax credits reduce the amount of income tax you pay. If you are receiving a tax refund because you had excess funds taken out of a paycheck for taxes, an education credit can increase this refund. Alternatively, if you owe money for underpaid taxes, a credit can reduce or offset this balance. Tax credits are a great way to offset what you pay for school (including payments that you make with money borrowed as student loans). There are two education credits available to college students: the American Opportunity Credit (AOC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). The AOC is available for students who are in their first four years of college (at least half time), and the LLC is available to students who may not meet the qualifications for the AOC. Students who are part time, already have a degree, or who have already used four years of AOC may benefit from the LLC.

Deductions reduce your total income for the purposes of calculating your tax bill. If you don’t qualify to receive an education tax credit, you can deduct the amount of money you paid for school (again, including money that came from student loans) from your income, which in turn will reduce the amount of income taxes owed to the government. Deductions result in proportionately smaller tax savings than credits, but can still increase your refund.

Speaking of student loans, if you made any student loan payments last year–even if you were just paying the interest accruing on an unsubsidized loan–you may be eligible for the Student Loan Interest Deduction. This allows you to deduct the amount of student loan interest paid from your income, resulting in a lower tax bill. Your loan servicer (the company that collects your student loan payments) should provide you with a statement indicating the total loan interest you paid in 2016.

For more information about each of these benefits, as well as a list of all eligibility requirements, check out this article: www.nasfaa.org/2016_tax_year.

Are you a new tax filer? Learn how to file your own taxes with SALT. Parkland has partnered with SALT, a nonprofit organization that helps student take control of their personal finances. They have informational articles, videos, and even an entire course on how to file your taxes. Get your free account at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege.

[Julia Hawthorne is an advisor with Financial Aid and Veteran Services at Parkland College.]

 

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

The Parkland College Department of Public Safety is here to provide a safe and secure campus environment conducive to learning. Every week throughout the year, we’ll be releasing a new public safety message, providing applicable information that you can use to stay safe and have a successful experience here at Parkland.

Our message this week:  Teen Dating Violence Awareness.

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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, when we collectively recognize that abuse can happen to anyone at any age, and shouldn’t be overlooked. The 16 to 24 female age group experiences abuse at the highest level of frequency, at almost triple the national average, and 43 percent of college-aged women report experiencing violent and abusive dating relationships.

If you or someone you know feels caught up in an abusive relationship, it’s important to know that you’re not alone, and that there are a wealth of resources here at Parkland College to help. Here are a few:

  • Most obviously, you can make a report with the Parkland College Police Department if the abuse is happening here or involves another student. Our officers are also available to talk about it and offer advice, even if it’s not happening on Parkland property.
  • The Parkland College Counseling and Advising Center is staffed with trained counselors who can also provide assistance,
  • You can go to the Dean of Students to get help.

Other resources are available at loveisrespect.org, where you can chat with a live advocate, or call 1-866/331-9474.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Are Your Firearms Safe? A Couple of Reminders

 

The Parkland College Department of Public Safety is here to provide a safe and secure campus environment conducive to learning. Every week throughout the year, we’ll be releasing a new public safety message, providing applicable information that you can use to stay safe and have a successful experience here at Parkland.

Our message this week:  Firearm Safety.

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About 1.4 million homes have firearms stored in a way that makes them available to the wrong hands—children, at-risk youth, potential thieves, and those who intend to harm themselves or others, according to a study by the RAND Corporation using statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you choose to exercise your rights to own a firearm, make sure you also keep that weapon safely out of the wrong hands. Proper firearm storage and reporting are essential to keeping you and your loved ones safe.

Storage Options. The most basic options for securing a firearm include a trigger lock, a cable lock, or a locked storage case. When used properly, these will prevent a gun from firing, but won’t keep it safe from theft. A lock box or safe that you can secure to the ground or wall will more likely keep your firearms from walking away, however.

Reporting. In the event that your firearm is lost or stolen, immediately reporting the theft or loss is of the utmost importance. You will also want to have firearm records on hand that you can provide to law enforcement, which will assist in locating and returning your firearms. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) provides a downloadable form that you can use to properly catalog your firearms.

Gun ownership comes with rights and responsibilities, and we hope you will join us in working to ensure that a firearm never gets into the wrong hands. For more information, please visit safefirearmsstorage.org.[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

 

 

Why Go On A College Visit? Four Reasons

What’s so valuable about actually visiting Parkland College before you consider attending the school? Here are four good reasons:

  1. You can really visit the campus. Let’s be honest: the pictures you see in brochures are not always an accurate representation of what every part of a campus looks like.  Attending a campus visit allows you to see every part of campus, from the classrooms, to the cafeteria, to the library, and even parking.  You can see for yourself where students like to spend their time between classes, where the computer labs are located, or what clubs you can join.  You will learn so much more than you ever could from a college brochure.
  1. You can get your specific questions answered. What about this particular major?  What’s my financial aid status?  What tutoring opportunities are on campus for me?  Trust us, we have been asked some very interesting questions during campus visits!  Come armed with your list of questions, and we will make sure to answered them before you leave.
  1. You can talk with current students about their experiences. Learn what students like to get involved in, their favorite places to eat in the area, or what some of their favorite electives are.  Talking to Parkland College students is a great way to get honest feedback about the institution.
  1. You can see what campus is like on a regular day. Sure visiting the campus over the summer might be easier since you are on summer break, but the campus has considerably fewer students around then.  This might give you a false sense of what to expect campus life to be like.  Attending a campus visit day allows you to truly see how many students are on campus, how the parking can be, and even how long it might take you to get from one class to another.

Ready to come out for a Campus Visit Day?  RSVP here.

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

Parkland Pathway to the U of I: Is It for You?

You’ve always wanted to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but you find the size of the place huge, the cost seems overwhelming, or perhaps your grades aren’t quite what they need to be. Parkland Pathway to Illinois could be an option for you!

Parkland Pathway is a two-year program where you attend Parkland College for your general education classes but can also take one class a semester at the UIUC. At the end of the two years, you are guaranteed a slot into the junior class in your major as long as you have maintained the college GPA for transfer.

You would get the benefit of small classes with dedicated faculty  from Parkland combined with the enormous opportunities available at a world-class institution like the University of Illinois. Plus, your tuition will be based on your Parkland residency rate. Parkland Pathway really is the “best of both worlds.”

If you are a soon-to-graduate high school senior or are a junior who would like more information, please sign up to attend a special Parkland Pathway Information Open House coming up Sunday, Feb. 12 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the Parkland campus. In addition to an overall explanation of the program, counselors from each of the UIUC participating colleges will be present with their Parkland counterpart. Come and get answers to both your Parkland and UIUC questions.

For more information and to RSVP for this event, please click here.

[Mary Kay Smith is the student services advisor for Parkland’s  Admissions and Records office.]

Come out to the Early Bird Enrollment Event

While you may be still snacking on your Halloween candy, we are gearing up for Spring 2017 registration, which opened Monday, Nov. 7 for all students. To help you register for those classes, we are hosting an Early Bird Enrollment Event:

Tuesday–Thursday, November 8, 9, and 10
10 am–2 pm
Registration Central @ Student Union (2nd floor)

Students can:

  • Confirm their academic program, address, and phone number
  • Register for Spring 2017 classes – students with less than 30 hours will need to see an academic advisor prior to registration
  • Set up tuition payment plans ($0 down payment until December if enrolled by Nov. 14; $25 setup fee and 2.7% fee for credit and debit card transactions)
  • Get a free pizza coupon if registered with payment arrangements

View class offerings and make your selection today by visiting parkland.edu/schedules! Once your classes are selected, be sure to make payment arrangements in order to not be dropped from your classes. Tuition due dates are Tuesday, Dec. 13 and Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Parkland College’s Spring 2017 semester starts Tuesday, Jan. 17. We look forward to having you here!

 

[Julie Marlatt is the dean of enrollment management at Parkland.]

Three Good Reasons to Take an Online Course

Usually, when you see this headline, you expect to see reasons like “greater convenience” or “lower costs” or “a more comfortable learning environment.” And while all of these are true, here are three reasons to take an online course you might not have considered.

1. Technology education. Most, if not all students will be working with “others” sometime in their future careers. To be successful, the use of technology is very important. Taking online courses now at Parkland College helps prepare you to communicate with others using today’s technology, including virtual meetings and collaborations through email and social media devices. Business and management instructor Mark Kesler says he encourages all of his students to be comfortable in the online learning environment: “I highly recommend all my students take at least one online class before they leave Parkland.”

2. Cultural diversity. Students all around the world take Parkland’s online courses. By enrolling in an online course, you get the chance to meet students from other countries. Students benefit mutually from learning about each others’ cultures and educational and life experiences. Often, you can get a “study abroad” experience without leaving the comfort of your own home.

3. Career skill-building. Taking an online class requires discipline, punctuality, and self-motivation, all excellent skills to have in the workforce. Online courses create a solid foundation that prepares you for your next step, whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution or starting your career.

So, while online courses are recommended for their quality instruction, transferability, and affordability, they offer so much more than just that for students. Online courses can provide a broad experience that shapes the future of your employment and life goals.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead, sign up for an online class today!

[Lori Wendt is the learning management system specialist for the Professional Development and Instructional Technology department at Parkland College.]

***Parkland celebrates National Distance Learning Week, Nov. 7-11.***

Top 6 Reasons to Activate Your SALT Account

new-salt-logo

Your free SALT account from Parkland College is waiting, and if you’re still skeptical about joining, here are six awesome reasons to get off the fence and start getting money-savvy.

  1.  It’s FREE – Like, really free. Parkland College hooked you up, so all you have to do is activate.
  2. It can find you free money – Want to tap into millions in scholarship money? Yeah, SALT can help with that.
  3. It builds your skills – Learn budgeting skills that will keep you in control of your cash for life.
  4. It can help you land a job – Get inside tips to grab an internship now and a job after graduation.
  5. It’ll tell you how to own your loans – Show your student loans who’s boss with easy tools to track and manage them.
  6. It’s FREE – Did we mention it’s totally free?

To activate your SALT account join now at:

What does “SALT” mean, anyway?
Back in the day (way, way back in the day), salt was the universal currency. It’s why SALT goes back to the basics to give you universal information, neutral advice, and smart strategies to help you take control of your money.

[Dawn Kamphaus is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Don’t Let a Good Degree Go to Waste

Many transfer students leave Parkland College before receiving their transfer degree. They often tell us 1) they thought it was done automatically or 2) officially graduating didn’t matter because they were pursuing their bachelor’s degree.

Here are our replies to those thoughts:

  1. Unfortunately, there is no way for Parkland College to graduate you “automatically,” because we need to know when you’ve finished and then perform a degree audit to make sure you’ve completed all the required course work.
  2. The idea that your transfer associate’s degree doesn’t matter couldn’t be more wrong. For example, your Parkland degree can make your transition to a university much easier by expediting your general education credits. Plus, you’ve earned this academic credential!

So, do you think you’ve earned enough credits at Parkland to receive your degree?

To be sure, login to my.Parkland and select Academic Profile (under “WebAdvisor for Students”). From there, you can conduct a degree audit yourself. Alternatively, you can contact Counseling and Advising to assist you.

It’s not too late to see if you “forgot to graduate!” Contact Dennis or Beth in the Admissions office, at 217/353-2634, or call 217/351-2887 for any questions.

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland College Admissions and Records.]

 

Top 5 Things to Do at Campus Visit Day

Seniors, still undecided on where to attend?  Juniors, wanting to get a head start on your college planning?  Here are the top 5 things to do while attending Parkland’s Campus Visit Day on September 23 or October 10.

Top 5 Things to Do While Attending Parkland’s Campus Visit Day

  1. Speak to students who are currently attending Parkland. Get an idea of campus life, student clubs and organizations, and much more! Do your parents have questions about safety?  Do you wonder where the best place is to live or just where to get the best cup of coffee? Ask our students! You will really get the inside scoop from students who made the decision to attend this amazing campus. Get an idea of why Parkland was the best choice for them.
  1. Worried about the price of college? Find out how much it is going to cost you to attend Parkland as well as residency information and learn how to finance college through scholarships, grants, and loans.  This will save you from any surprises down the road!
  1. Tour campus! Campus tours generally give you much more info than you could see if you walked a campus on your own.  Not only will you see classrooms, cafeterias, bookstore, labs, art gallery, and much more, you also learn about services on campus for you to utilize and fun facts you may have never known!
  1. Meet one on one with an Admissions advisor to get all of your specific questions answered! We know that you and your parents have many questions, and we are here to answer them and make you feel as comfortable as possible.
  1. Apply to be a student! Get a step ahead of your peers and fill out an application while on campus. That way, if you have any questions while filling out the application, the pros will be right there to answer your questions! Visit our Application Station and complete an application onsite!

Ready to visit?  RSVP here: http://www2.parkland.edu/forms/admissionsRSVP/campusvisit.html.

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

Degree Completion Day, Sept. 27

Parkland College’s next Degree Completion Day event is coming Wednesday, Sept. 27.

But you might ask, “Why should I graduate? I’m getting my bachelor’s degree in a couple of years.”  Here why:

  • Who wants you to graduate? Your parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, favorite Parkland Instructor, advisor—all those that care about you, that’s who. It’s not always just about what you want.
  • You have spent countless hours in class and trip after trip to Parkland. Why wouldn’t you want to graduate?
  • It looks good on your Parkland transcript, shows accomplishment on your resume, and can enable you to move up in the workplace. If you are transferring to a university, it can make for a smoother transition and save you from having to take extra general education courses at that university.
  • If you are completing a career program, graduation may be required to verify with future employers. Probably most important of all, you’ve earned it!

Come out to Degree Completion Day in the Student Union (U building) from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and find out more about graduating and how it could benefit you.

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland Admissions and Records.]

 

Fall Means…FAFSA!

A change is in the air! It’s time for falling leaves, new school supplies, pumpkin spice lattes, and… FAFSA?

That’s right! The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is changing this year. Now you no longer have to wait until January 1 to complete next year’s application (sorry if I’ve ruined your New Year’s Day plans)! Starting October 1, you will be able to complete your FAFSA application for next school year (that’s fall 2017–spring 2018).

And not only can you now do the FAFSA sooner, but it should be easier to do as well.

In the past, the FAFSA has required information about your income from the previous tax year. For example, if you complete the FAFSA for the current school year (fall 2016–spring 2017) you would have needed your income and tax information from 2015. The new FAFSA will require tax information from two years prior. So when you fill out your 2017-2018 FAFSA (on October 1, of course) you will use your income and tax information from two years ago… as it happens, from 2015. The 2017-2018 FAFSA is the only FAFSA that will use the same income information as the prior year’s FAFSA.

Why is this so great? Because hopefully by now, especially if you have already done a 2016-2017 FAFSA, you already have all the 2015 income and tax information you need to complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA. In the past, the new FAFSA became available on January 1, but most applicants weren’t able to finalize the process until they completed their tax returns, generally at least a month or two later. So not only can you start the FAFSA earlier, but you will be much more likely to have all the information needed to complete it in much less time than previously.

Parkland’s Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services would like to encourage all students to fill out the FAFSAs as early as possible. There are a number of great reasons to do so:

  1. Getting your paperwork done early means you’re in less of a rush to complete everything when school is starting and deadlines are looming. Save yourself the stress!
  2. Get a head start on finding out what you qualify for. When you complete a FAFSA, the application provides an estimate of what types and amounts of awards you may be eligible to receive. This can help you plan in advance how to afford college.
  3. Filling out a FAFSA early may qualify you for more financial aid funds. Some financial aid programs, such as Federal Work Study and the Illinois MAP grant, can only be awarded to a portion of the students who are eligible. The students who submit their FAFSAs to Parkland the earliest are more likely to receive these awards.

So take a break from enjoying the changing weather and the thrill of a new semester, and set a reminder to complete your FAFSA on (or as close as possible to) October 1.

Complete the FAFSA online here: https://fafsa.ed.gov/

Questions? Contact Parkland’s Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services at 217/351-2222 or visit our webpage.
[Julia Hawthorne is an advisor with Financial Aid and Veteran Services at Parkland College.]

UIUC Student Touts Parkland Transfer

Hundreds of University of Illinois students, like marketing senior Brent Loth, take Parkland College classes each year to shorten the road to their Illinois degrees. Below, Brent shares why university students should explore Parkland transfer options.

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As a University of Illinois student, I sometimes find myself in a bind. I want to get my degree as soon as possible, but it can be hard to get in all the courses I need throughout the school year. I also have additional pressures, like being financially responsible and finding the right learning setting to prepare myself for life after college.

Luckily, I have lived in Champaign for most of my life and know that Parkland College carries a fantastic reputation for its education and atmosphere. After talking with my academic advisor, we decided Parkland would be a great fit for my college objectives, and I found some classes I could take during the summers to earn my degree in a timely way and stay productive during my time off from the U of I.

I was able to transfer classes with ease and had a smaller learning environment, getting individual attention that helped with classes I found difficult. I got to know my teachers on a personal level while getting the same credits I could earn at the U of I for a fraction of the cost.

So far, I have taken Intro to Marketing, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Spanish 1. Now, as I prepare to graduate this upcoming year, my positive experiences influenced me to also finish language requirements with Parkland this fall. I plan to do so along with my other U of I classes.

I recommend Parkland classes for the following reasons:

1. Taking classes at Parkland can help you earn your degree faster, especially during summer and winter breaks.

2. You get more individual attention to narrow your focus for class, which helps with subjects you find challenging.

3. It helps ease financial stresses for yourself and your family.

4. Many classes transfer and have equivalency toward your degree.

I encourage you to talk to your academic advisor to see if Parkland would be a good fit for you. It turned out to be an amazing resource for me, and I know you will be happy with what the school has to offer. – Brent Loth

***Visit the Parkland College website for more information on concurrent enrollment for UIUC students.***

[Hilary Valentine is the associate director of marketing at Parkland.]

 

 

You CAN DO Home Repair, and Parkland Can Help

For all you women out there (and perhaps a few men) who feel you can’t perform DIY home repair outside of changing a lightbulb, I want to encourage you: You CAN DO it.

I took a plumbing course at Parkland College in 2006 and have saved hundreds of dollars in potential (read: unnecessary) plumbing repairs ever since. It wasn’t easy being the only female (or 40+ year old) in that two-hour evening class. I surely earned the “Most Worn Out” award from cutting, reaming, and soldering pipe after a full day’s work! But I hung in there, learned a lot, and smiled all the way to my A grade. In the end, it was worth it, because that one class has made all the difference in my confidence about home repair.

Ruthie1Since taking the class, I have not only changed supply lines and valves on my home toilets myself, but I’ve also been able to confidently say “no thanks” to plumbers who’ve suggested that I replace entire faucet units when all that was needed to fix the leak was a new washer or packing. Yes, I said plumbers; this has happened more than once over the decade. Such triumphs encouraged me to buy a really good home repair book. I have since fixed non-plumbing-related areas of my home, too, including replacing the springs and cables on my garage door, buying and installing new insulation, and laying flooring.

Now, that’s pretty good savings from a one-semester, affordable class with a schedule that was flexible enough for a young working mother of two.

Look, ladies, if I could do this—someone who doesn’t do physical labor, nature, or bugs all that well—you certainly can. Sign up for Plumbing (CIT 114) or other Building Construction and Repair certificate courses at Parkland, and you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t take a Parkland class, then at least buy yourself (and read) a good home repair guide. You’ll be surprised at just how handy you really are.

Hmm…now that my kids are officially grown-ups, I think it’s time to get more Parkland construction classes under my belt. Perhaps I’ll take Construction Materials (CIT 111) or Rough Carpentry (CIT 115) next.

I bet my husband’s nervous just reading this. He should be. 😉

[Ruthie Counter is a full-time staff writer and part-time communication instructor at Parkland College.]

Budget Tuition Payments with Parkland’s Plan

When students and parents think about paying that college tuition bill, there are not too many alternatives. Quite often, I encounter students telling me that they “do not have the money available right now, but will have some of it in a couple weeks.” (Lots of other Parkland College staff members hear that, too.) When this is the situation, we do offer one pretty helpful solution.

We tell them to take advantage of the Parkland Tuition Payment Plan. Did you even know Parkland had one of those? Yes, we do.

Parkland College partners with a company called Nelnet Business Solutions (NBS) to offer our students a convenient way to pay that tuition bill. In fact, NBS is a tuition-management plan that gives students a low-cost option for budgeting all college expenses.

The Parkland Tuition Payment Plan is not a loan program, and there are no debt or interest charges you have to pay. We don’t even require a credit check for you to join the plan. You can get on our plan with only a $25 fee to start. That’s all. Then, on the fifth of each month, tuition payments automatically come out of the checking/savings account or debit/credit card you’ve set up.

One thing I encourage parents and students to do is to sign up early for the payment plan. The earlier you sign up for a semester, the less money you’ll have to pay up front in installments. For example, if you sign up now for our Fall 2016 classes, you have until June 29 to sign up for the payment plan, and then you would have four monthly payments that occur on the 5th of each month from August through November.

I recently talked with a Parkland student whose tuition bill for the Fall 2016 semester is $2,043. She signed up for our payment plan with her $25 nonrefundable fee, so her payments will look like this:

  • August 5             $510.75
  • September 5     $510.75
  • October 5          $510.75
  • November 5     $510.75

This plan works for her, because she works part time at an area hospital and gets paid every couple of weeks. Now she no longer has to worry about being dropped from her classes for Fall 2016 when tuition is due on August 2. She can just relax, finish out the spring semester, and enjoy her summer.

How about you: Do YOU need help budgeting tuition? Click here to sign up for the Parkland Tuition Payment Plan today.  It’s easy: All you need is your checking/savings account or debit/credit card and a couple of other pieces of information. You might just appreciate this way to pay for college.

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***Enroll in Parkland’s payment plan through Nelnet Business Solutions today and ensure your classes are not dropped. Learn more about the plan at http://www2.parkland.edu/nelnet/.***

[Dave Donsbach serves as controller in the Parkland College Business Office.]

Thinking College? Club Latino Students Share Some Keys to Success

What are three key ingredients for success at Parkland College for Latino students?

The students themselves would probably tell you that: 1) family/friend support, 2) affordability, and 3) information is the trio to beat.

I recently sat down with members of Club Latino, one of the longest-running and most active student clubs at Parkland, for a Q&A session. These students come from various cities (Rantoul, Arcola, Tuscola, Decatur, and C-U) and are pursuing a wide range of majors (music therapy and neurology, psychology, computer science, criminal justice, surgical technology, Spanish, and sociology). Most of the Club Latino students work 30-40 hours a week as well as take classes, attend Club Latino meetings (free pizza!), and do volunteer/service work with the club.

As we chatted about their Parkland experiences and what has kept them motivated to learn, they also shared with me what they would like future Parkland students of Latino heritage to understand about college before they begin their journeys here.

What keeps you going?
  • My mom. She is so encouraging.
  • Support for our families; we don’t want to let them down.
  • We are hard workers—it’s in our blood.
  • We need a better future for ourselves.
  • I have goals—I want to achieve them.
  • I am a nursing major, and I’m getting closer to my goal of helping people.
How do you balance work and school?
  • It has not been easy. There are days I dedicate to school and days I dedicate to work.
  • I consider my Club Latino time my hangout time.
What made you decide to come to Parkland? Why is this place special?
  • I worked with my mom in a factory for two years. I saw how tired she was after working 60-hour weeks, and I knew I didn’t want to do that forever.
  • Parkland’s tuition is more affordable than other schools, and it’s closer to home.
  • Parkland feels safe to me. The environment is friendly and I don’t ever feel fear. I feel like it’s my home.
  • It’s a great place to start… a stepping stone.
  • I still don’t know what I want to do, but I will figure it out at Parkland.
How does campus involvement in Club Latino benefit you?
  • How important is it to be involved in college? 101% important. Students struggle with work and school, but being involved helps you realize how much more college has to offer and how worthwhile it is.
  • You’re also learning leadership skills, teamwork skills, accounting, planning. When you experience other things, you start to have a broader perspective.
  • I’ve met a lot of new people from new areas and made new friends.
  • It makes you more responsible because you see other people being responsible.
  • I never had much Latino culture growing up, so being in Club Latino connects me to my heritage.
  • We try to motivate younger Latinos to set goals and go to college. We do outreach to high schools.
What would you want a younger brother or sister to know about starting college?
  • Applying to college is not as hard as you think. When I first came to Parkland, I talked to Financial Aid and figured out how to pay for college. It seems like a lot of steps, but once you’re in, the only struggle is then getting through classes. Once you’re here, there are a lot of people to help you out.
  • Get started early for fall. Don’t wait. Fill out the FAFSA and use last year’s information. You want to be one of the first people to apply. You have to be persistent.
  • I think it’s important to find that support system before you come, and then once you’re here, find it here.
  • You don’t have to know what to major in before you come to school. The general requirements apply to a lot of majors, so none of it is wasted time.

    Thanks to Club Latino members who shared their meeting time with me: Kellyn, Jesus, Bree, Karina, Yulibeth, Chaz, Joey, Jennifer, and Lisette.

[Hilary Valentine is the marketing analyst for Parkland’s Marketing and Public Relations department.]

 

Why Try a Job Fair? For More Reasons than One

You’ve seen the posters around campus, the emails, the notices on Parkland’s website.  But you still think: “Job fair? me?  Uh-uh. I’m already working” or “I’m going on for my bachelor’s” or “I still have a year until graduation” or “I get too nervous” or “I’m just not ready yet.”

But the answer should be “YES!” because there’s more than one way to utilize a job fair.  Think about it, wouldn’t it be great to make connections with employers you think you might want to work for?  They don’t know you’re out there unless you let them know. Are you working in the field you want to end up in?  There could be opportunity to find a “real” job (even part-time) or internship opportunity before you complete your bachelor’s degree in your field of study.

You know you want to go into business, but that’s so broad.  A job fair allows you to get out and talk with a variety of companies  in the industry to find out in what direction you want to focus when you’re done with school.  Not sure how to start conversations with employers? Go through the fair, observe, and make sure to approach just one or two employers, just to practice presenting yourself.

Need help with your resume? elevator pitch? LinkedIn account?  As a Parkland student, you can plan ahead and schedule a FREE  appointment with the Career Center so that you are ready to go on the day of the job fair.

***We will hold our final job fair of the 2016 spring semester Monday, April 11, from 10 am to 1:30 pm in the Student Union Atrium.  This fair will focus on careers in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Business.

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday–Friday, 8 am–5 pm. ***

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

Gen Ed Classes: Busy Work or Career Boosters?

Spring has arrived—and with it, thoughts about next semester, summer employment, if you are ever going to graduate, and whether you can squeeze in time for your  group project, write a 5-page paper on the cultural diversity of Indonesia, and hold down your part-time job all before the end of the semester.

If you want to be hired in today’s job market, you will NEED to use all of the above to your advantage.  That’s right: Those projects, papers, and seemingly useless knowledge of world governments, religions, and societies may be some of the  most important skills you’ll gain from your college career.

In today’s job market, employers want more than technical skills from their employees.  We live in a global society, and more and more jobs are requiring us to interact with other humans in some form for at least part of the day.  To help your resume stand out, start documenting what you are doing in these general education courses now.  For example, have you:

  • Completed group projects?
  • Improved your writing skills?
  • Gained knowledge and perspective on global issues/other cultures?
  • Worked with a diverse group of people?
  • Identified a problem and developed a solution?

You don’t need a ton of work experience to gain all these attractive skills; you’ve been doing them all along in your college coursework! The situations above translate into examples of communication, problem solving, teamwork, understanding and relating to others, diversity sensitivity, and managing multiple priorities.

So the next time your advisor tells you that you need one more humanities gen ed to fulfill your degree requirements, don’t roll your eyes but instead, challenge yourself to broaden your horizons and select a course you know nothing about.  You’ll have one more experience to add to your list and keep track of, so that when job search time comes, you can verbalize these experiences and move more powerfully toward career success.

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

How to Get an Internship … and Why You Should

Have you looked at your resume lately? See anything exciting there related to your dream job? Why not add an internship? 

An internship can actually be the key to your future, giving you experience and opening the doors to opportunities in your chosen field. In fact, some majors actually require them for graduation.

Learn more about how to land an internship and how to make the most of it while you’re on the job, and then search for internships nationwide at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege.

What Is SALT?
SALT is a website created by American Student Assistance® (ASA), a nonprofit organization, to help Parkland College students like you become more financially savvy. This program rewards you for making smart money decisions, and we’re providing all of its services to you—including your membership—as a gift, free of charge. Create your SALT account at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege today!

[Dawn Good is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Mapping the Future: Careers in Transition

It is never easy trying to plan for the unknown. This is especially true in the uncertain times our community and state are currently facing. Will there be funding? Will I have a job? If I change jobs, how long until that position is affected?

Positioning yourself for the next chapter in life can be overwhelming; where do you even start? A road map for success would be helpful, especially during times of unwanted career transitions (i.e. downsizing, layoffs, closings, etc).

Your Future Ahead Road Sign

Looking for a job—a really good job you actually want—will take time and a lot of effort. Changing careers is challenging because rarely will you meet ALL the must-have requirements, but there are things you can do and anticipate in your search that will help you shine.

We welcome you to learn from Rick Galbreath, SPHR, who is a nationally published author, public speaker, trainer, consultant and founder of Performance Growth Partners Inc. with over 25 years of experience. Rick will be at Parkland College Business Training from 8am to noon March 29, 30 and 31, presenting on “Mapping the Future: Career Transition Workshops.”

The Job Search: What I Want Next
Tue Mar 29     8am-noon

The Resume: Showcasing Your Talents
Wed Mar 30     8am-noon

The Interview: Landing the Job
Thu Mar 31     8am-noon

For more information, contact Business Training at 217/351-2235 or businesstraining@parkland.edu.
[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, CPP, is program manager for Parkland College Business Training.]

GO AHEAD, Work: 10 Phone Interview Tips

Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews.  They are also used as a way to minimize the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates.

Most phone interviews are scheduled, but it is important to be prepared on a moment’s notice.  You never know when a recruiter might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk.  Review the 10 tips below to make sure you are prepared.

  1.  Research the job and the company so you are prepared to discuss your role if you were to be hired.  Check their website to see what services or products they offer.  Why do you want to work for them?
  2. Tape papers on a  wall or countertop so you are not fumbling through them during the call.  Have in clear view:
    • A copy of your resume
    • A short list of your work-related strengths and accomplishments. Why should they hire you?
    • A short list of questions to ask the interviewers
    • A pen and notebook for notetaking
  3. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that you are in an area of full reception.
  4. Remove distractions: Turn off the TV and find a quiet place to talk.
  5. Answer with, “Hello, this is John.” If the time is not convenient, ask if you can call back and suggest a time.
  6. Avoid multitasking – Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum.
  7. Write down names – Who are you talking to? Get a phone number in case you get disconnected.
  8. Avoid “um” and “like” fillers.  Use complete sentences, speak slowly, and enunciate clearly.
  9. Show enthusiasm, but do not interrupt!
  10. Remember, your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview.  After you thank the interviewer, ask if it would be possible to meet in person or ask what the next step in the process will be.

****Our targeted career fairs will be held on the following dates from 10am to 1:30pm in the Student Union Atrium:

  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science and Information Technology/
    Business

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday–Friday, 8am–5pm.****

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

Go Ahead, Work: Boost Your Web Presence with LinkedIn

Think of LinkedIn as your professional Facebook account.  It is a great way to make connections, research companies, and find job openings.

LinkedIn Co. logo
LinkedIn Co. logo.

After creating your account at www.linkedin.com, follow these 10 tips to set up and maximize your online presence!

  1.  Add a professional-looking photo of only yourself (NO SELFIES). Profiles with photos are 14 times more likely to be found in searches.
  2. Stand out with a headline that describes how you want to be known on LinkedIn.  Use your area of study and/or your career ambitions. Check out profiles of people who hold the job you’d like to get and see which keywords they use.
  3. Choose the industry in which you intend to enter.  If seeking a specific location for work, choose that location for your profile.  This way, you will appear in searches for that area.
  4. Write a brief summary describing your professional background and aspirations.  Describe your skills and abilities in short bursts of keyword-rich text.  Use bullets to separate the information.
  5. List all the work experience you’ve had, along with brief descriptions of each role.  List all the schools and colleges you’ve attended.  LinkedIn helps you connect with former colleagues and networking contacts who may be able to help you find a job opportunity.
  6. Add at least five skills to your profile.  Check out profiles of people in the field you plan to work and use the key words they use, but only if they are true to you!
  7. Ask for recommendations and endorsements from colleagues, clients, managers, professors, and classmates, not family and friends!
  8. Customize your URL to include something recongnizable, like a name or shortened version of your name.  Put the URL on your website, resume, email signature, and business cards to drive traffic to your LinkedIn profile.
  9. Make sure your profile is error free.  Don’t include photos, comments, or information you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see!
  10. Don’t just establish a LinkedIn presence; stay connected.  Reach out. Interact. You will get out what you put in.  Update your status about major projects you’ve completed, professional books/articles you’re reading, and professional successes you’ve had.

The following targeted career fairs will be held on the following dates from 10am to 1:30pm in the Student Union Atrium:

  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science Information Technology/Business

Make sure to stop by room U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm.

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

Nursing Conference: Continuing the Legacy of Sister Julia

[This post was written by Richard Francis, Regional Director for Clinical Education at Presence Covenant Medical Center.]

What if I told you Parkland’s Nursing program had Catholic roots? 

Sister Julia 2
Sister Moriarty (News-Gazette photo.)

Sister Julia Moriarty started Parkland’s nursing program in a joint venture between Parkland College and Presence Covenant Medical Center (then known as Mercy Hospital). Sister Julia was a remarkable and accomplished woman, who was first and foremost a servant to others. A member of the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, Sister Julia first came to Champaign-Urbana in 1942 to finish her nursing training and serve at the local Catholic hospital. She stayed for close to 50 years.

In the late 1960s, Parkland approached Sister Julia about starting a nursing program at the college. Although at the time, Mercy had its own hospital-based nursing program, Sister Julia saw the college program as a way to positively impact not just one hospital, but the community as a whole and nursing as a profession. Sister Julia spent five years living in the convent with the other sisters at the hospital while working with Parkland to establish their nursing program. Colleagues who taught with Sister Julia typically remark that she was well beyond everyone else in her thinking and vision for what nursing should be, and how nursing can positively impact the whole community. She was loved and respected by colleagues, co-workers, and patients. Her kind and warm spirit touched all who knew her.

In the spirit and example of Sister Julia, Parkland College and Presence Covenant are co-sponsoring a nursing conference with a local scope and flavor, The Spirit of Nursing Conference: Emerging Topics in Nursing.  Topics at this conference and future conferences will be kept global to appeal to all types of nurses, not just specific disciplines. Topics at the May 20 conference will include: The Changing Landscape of Healthcare, End of Life Decisions, Generations in the Workplace, and Life Skills for the Nurse.

The conference will begin with a light breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Presentations begin at 9 a.m. and the conference will end at 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided.  Continuing education units (CEUs) available through the conference: 4.

The conference fee is $49, with proceeds supporting the Sister Julia Scholarship Fund at Parkland College.  Advanced registration is required due to limited seating.

To register, or for more information, please click here or call 217/351-2235.

 

GO AHEAD, Work: 10 Key Skills Employers Want

The Parkland Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  Keep these 10 key skills and qualities in mind as you approach today’s competitive job market:

  1.  Communication skills that demonstrate verbal, written, and listening abilities.
  2. Computer aptitude based on the level required for the position being filled.
  3. Team spirit, which involves working cooperatively with a variety of people and treating others with respect.
  4. Basic math and reading skills.
  5. Interpersonal skills, allowing you to relate to diverse coworkers and manage conflicts.
  6. Organizational skills, so that you can plan and complete multiple tasks in a timely fashion.
  7. Problem-solving skills, including the ability to think critically and identify and solve problems.
  8. Flexibility and adaptability, to handle change in the workplace.
  9. Personal traits such as a positive attitude, motivation, integrity, honesty, and leadership potential.
  10. Dependability and a strong work ethic!

The following targeted career fairs will be held on the following dates, from 10am to 1:30pm in the Student Union Atrium:

  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science Information Technology/Business

Make sure to stop by the Career Center in room U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website.  Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm.

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

 

Why Petition to Graduate? You Owe It.

Ever told yourself, “I’m not going to bother getting my associate’s degree since my focus is on a bachelor’s degree“?

We need to talk.

If you have completed all the requirements for your associate’s degree, you owe it to your parents, loved ones, friends (and yes, even yourself) to Petition to Graduate. Receiving this degree is a chance to celebrate and reflect on all the hard work you have completed thus far.

Having your degree credential can add a major piece to your resume and makes it easier to transfer to your senior institution of choice. Of course, if your associate’s is in one of our career programs, graduating is the whole point!

Where Do You Find the Petition to Graduate?
Look on Parkland’s website (under Admissions and Records and then Forms). It costs you nothing to apply and only takes a minute to complete and turn in to the admissions counter.

****DEADLINES to Petition for Spring 2016 Graduation****

  • Plan to participate in Parkland’s Commencement Excercises? Submit your Petition to Graduate on or before March 2.
  • Not participating in Commencement? Submit your Petition to Graduate on or before April 1.

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland Admissions and Records.]

GO AHEAD, Work: Top 10 Tips for Your Resume

The Parkland College Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  To best prepare for these upcoming fairs, make sure your resume is up-to-date with these 10 tips:

  1. Target your objective and resume to the position you’re applying for, matching your qualifications to the job description.
  2. List the most relevant information first. Employers may spend less than 30 seconds skimming a resume!
  3. Appearance and format are initially more important than content. If your resume is too long or not visually appealing, the employer may not read it. Stick to one page if you are an undergrad or recent graduate.
  4. Use action phrases, not complete sentences, to list your job duties. Do not use personal pronouns (“I”, “me”, and “my” are never included in a resume). List “Relevant Course Work” if you do not have relevant professional work experience.
  5. Use a Microsoft Word docment (but NOT the MS Word template). When sending electronically, type the cover letter in the text and attach your resume.
  6. Use specific examples or statistics whenever possible to demonstrate your strengths (e.g., trained 18 employees, increased sales by 10%). Think accomplishments!
  7. Pay careful attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  Have others proofread; don’t rely on spellcheck.
  8. Include participation in clubs, associations, or community and volunteer organizations. “Additional Activities” show how you developed interest and leadership abilities. Include awards and honors.
  9. Use key words which will be identified by applicant-tracking systems (e.g., Microsoft Word, UNIX, supervised, BA degree, MOUS, Windows NT, etc.).
  10. Be sure to ask your references before listing them on your resume. They’ll be better prepared when an employer calls!

****Our targeted Career Fairs will be held on the following dates from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union atrium::

  • February 10 – Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies
  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science  and Information Technology/
    Business

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.****

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

 

 

GO AHEAD, Work: Top 10 Cover-Letter Tips

The Parkland College Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  Make sure your cover letter is up-to-date with these 10 tips.

  1.  A cover letter should always accompany the resume.
  2. Cover letters should be one page, using standard business-letter format.
  3. Many employers look to the cover letter as an example of your written communication skills. Make certain that your cover letter is spell-checked, grammar-checked, and proofed by someone other than yourself.
  4. Address the letter to a specific person, using his or her correct title. If you are unsure as to whom the letter should be addressed, call the company and ask. Request spelling and title verification if necessary.
  5. Tailor the letter to the needs of the organization or the description of the position. Explaining what you want throughout the letter doesn’t tell the reader the BENEFIT of what you can offer.
  6. Capture the reader’s attention by highlighting your skills and abilities (think accomplishments and give examples); emphasize their usefulness to the employer.
  7. Be precise and concise; don’t waste the employer’s time with fluff or wordiness.
  8. Be professional, but don’t be afraid to show enthusiasm and interest in the position. Keep the tone positive.
  9. Keywords are key. Becauase many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to find and screen candidates, skill-oriented keywords will boost your chances for being discovered.  Match your qualifications to the job description using key words.
  10. If submitting by email, type the letter in the body of the email and attach your resume. Use short paragraphs to give a brief bio on who you are and what you can do for them.  Wrap it up in the second paragraph.  An example for the subject line:  “CPA seeks accounting position. “

****Our targeted Career Fairs will be held on the following Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union atrium:

  • February 10 – Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies
  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science and Information Technology/
    Business

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536.****

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

GO AHEAD, Work: Top 10 Job Search Tips

The Parkland College Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  Make sure you’re ready for a job search by reviewing these 10 tips.

  1.  Get organized.   Prepare or update your resume and cover letter. Know what type of job you are looking for and what you have to offer. Make a plan and keep records of your activities.
  2. Polish your interview skills. You’re not ready to start your job search until you can answer questions about why you want the job and why you are qualified.
  3. Identify employers in your geographic location who employ people with your skills and/or education.  Search online, contact your chamber of commerce, and read Help Wanted ads and job posting sites.
  4. Research. Use the Internet to visit the websites of employers in your industry.  View the employment pages for job openings.
  5. Identify 3–4 of your professional strengths and develop a “30-second commercial” about yourself. Focus on your skills, experience, and education that qualify you for the job.
  6. Find three people who can give you a positive recommendation. “Professional” references should be work- or education-related.
  7. Network. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job.  Over 75 percent of job openings are not advertised!
  8. Schedule informational interviews to gather information about a company, current or future job openings, and the education or skills required. Remember, you are not asking for a job; you are seeking advice.
  9. Consider enhancing your work experience through an internship or part-time job.
  10. Show your gratitude. Send an email message or thank-you note to those who provided valuable advice and support.

****Our targeted Career Fairs will be held on the following Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union atrium:

  • February 10 – Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies
  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science and Information Technology/
    Business

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536.****

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

 

Get Your $$ for Spring Semester!

Need help paying for spring semester?  Parkland College Foundation Scholarships remain available for spring. The funds are there, just waiting for the right student to apply!

Currently available with a January 25 deadline:

  • Latasha Brize Scholarship – $500
  • Champaign County Nursing Home Scholarship – Amount varies
  • Jay Downey Scholarship – $500
  • Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 29 Scholarship – $1000
  • Fisher National Bank Scholarship – $500
  • Juanita L. Gammon Graphic Design Scholarship – $250
  • Heartland Bank Community Enhancement Scholarship – $1000
  • Lykins Family Art Scholarship – $250
  • Theda Seaton Marley Single Mother Nursing Scholarship – $250
  • Power of the Purse Scholarship – $1000
  • Seymour American Legion Post 1256 Scholarship – $500
  • Veterinary Technology Faculty and Staff Scholarship – $500
  • Gayle Wright Memorial Scholarship – $500

You’ll find applications for these scholarships at my.parkland.edu.  Log in to the portal and select “Scholarship Search” under the Student Services tab. You will be directed to a listing of all currently available scholarships.  By selecting “eligible scholarships” from the drop down menu, you will also find a list that is more customized based on available scholarship criteria.  The search feature is an excellent resource to find scholarships funded by the Parkland College Foundation.  Scholarship information provided by external organizations is posted here as well.

Most scholarship applications require you to write an essay, but don’t be intimidated!  The Center for Academic Success at Parkland offers a Writing Lab in D120 that is open and available to all students.  You can receive free help from English instructors with any writing project you might have.  For more information, visit D120 or log in to my.parkland.edu.

Want to broaden your search?  Besides the Parkland Foundation, many reputable online resources for scholarships can help you as well:

Keep in mind, most reputable scholarship organizations do not ask you to pay a fee to apply.

Planning for fall?  Students must apply for financial aid every year … NOW is the time to apply for the 2016-2017 FAFSA available online at FAFSA.gov.   In addition, Parkland College Foundation fall 2016 Scholarship opportunities will be available in the student portal beginning March 15!

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]

13- and 8-Week Sessions Available for Spring 2016

[**For a quick list of classes that still have seats available, click HERE.**]

Parkland’s full semester began January 11, but there are many classes that start later in the semester. If you are still considering taking a class, or need to pick up a few more credit hours to graduate on time, here’s what you need to know about late-start classes.

  • For classes that start the week of February 1, the signup deadlines are January 26 for new, degree-seeking students and January 28 for all other students (current Parkland students, non-degree seeking students, University of Illinois students).
  • For classes that start the week of March 7 (midterm classes), the signup deadlines are March 1 for new, degree-seeking students and March 3 for all other students.
  • Tuition payment or payment arrangements are due at the time of enrollment. Most late-start classes are financial aid eligible.  Tuition is due January 26 for February classes and March 1 for March-start classes.

Please visit Admissions and Records in U214 for help with choosing and registering for classes. No appointment necessary!

We are looking forward to seeing you in class this semester.

 

[Julie Marlatt is the dean of enrollment management at Parkland.]

New Year, New FAFSA to Complete!

That’s right, the 2016-2017 FAFSA is now available! For those attending college during the 2016-2017 award year, be sure to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.

Complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The application is quick and easy to complete. Make sure you complete the 2016- 2017 FAFSA and not the 2015-2016 form if you are applying for financial aid for next year (Fall 2016, Spring 2017, and Summer 2017).

Plus, check out this US Dept. of Education blog post to avoid common FAFSA mistakes before you file!

For more information about the financial aid process, please email our office at finaid@parkland.edu or visit the SALT website at www.saltmoney.org.  SALT also provides helpful information and resources for searching for scholarships to supplement your financial aid award.

What Is SALT?
SALT is a website created by American Student Assistance® (ASA), a nonprofit organization, to help Parkland College students like you become more financially savvy. This program rewards you for making smart money decisions, and we’re providing all of its services to you—including your membership—as a gift, free of charge. Create your SALT account at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege today!

**Top image from “7 Common FAFSA Mistakes” at http://blog.ed.gov/2014/01/7-common-fafsa-mistakes/**

[Dawn Good is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Black Student SUCCESS: Emotional Intelligence

The term emotional Intelligence describes the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to identify feelings and label them appropriately, and to use that information to guide thinking and behavior.  High or successful emotional intelligence is critical in decision making, in developing and maintaining relationships, and in job performance.

In a Black Student SUCCESS Project workshop late last month, Parkland counselor Joe Omo-Osagie led students in a series of assessments designed to test their emotional self-awareness.  While there weren’t necessarily right or wrong answers, the questions definitely challenged students’ ways of thinking and highlighted areas where they might want to consider making changes.

The most sensitive, enlightened, and self-aware person among us can always use a boost of higher emotional intelligence. Take the short quiz below as an introductory guide to evaluating your own level of emotional intelligence. If you can honestly answer “True” to each statement, you can feel good about having a high degree of emotional intelligence. If you cannot, you might want to consider developing those skills. The payoff lasts a lifetime!

EI QUIZ

  1. I can usually let go of problems, hurt feelings, and anger and move on (self-control):  True or False
  2. I can usually engage in a conversation with someone and interpret that person’s body language signals (empathy):  True or False
  3. I can usually identify my emotions at any given moment  (self-awareness):  True or False
  4. I try to look at situations in a positive light (motivation):  True or False
  5. I can usually deal calmly and sensitively to the emotional displays of others, even if I don’t know all the details  (social competency):  True or False
  6. I can fairly easily admit mistakes and apologize (self-confidence):  True or False

[Donna Tanner-Harold is a counselor in Parkland’s Counseling and Advising Center and coordinates Black Student Success Project activities.]

 

Spring 2016 Advising, Registration Have Begun!

Open registration for the Parkland College Spring Semester 2016 is now officially underway! All degree-seeking students who have earned less than 30 credit hours are required to be advised before they can register for classes. Please note that earned credit hours do not include hours in which students are currently enrolled.

Additionally, all students on academic probation, returning from academic suspension, returning from academic dismissal, and enrolled in certain programs are also required to be advised before registering regardless of hours earned.

Some general academic advising guidelines:

  1. If you are enrolled in or enrolling in CCS 098, see a Student Development Advocate in the Center for Academic Success (CAS) in D120.
  2. If you are enrolled in an AAS or certificate career program, you should consult your faculty program advisor or department chair. In many programs, your advising will be done right through your department! If not, see an advisor in the Counseling and Advising Center in U267 or an advisor in CAS.
  3. Certain departments or academic areas generally advise all their students. This includes the Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT) Department, the Engineering Science and Technologies (EST) Department, the Division of Health Professions ( for students who are actually in or have been accepted to one of their programs), and new for the Spring 2016 semester, the Fine and Applied Arts (FAA) Department.
  4. Most transfer students should seek advising from the Counseling and Advising Center or from the academic advisor in CAS. Some exceptions to this would be FAA majors and Agriculture majors, who should contact their program directors.
  5. New degree-seeking students will receive their advising after attending a Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) session.
  6. Students not seeking a degree or certificate and most students who are in good standing and have earned at least 30 hours of credit are not required to be advised. Students in Health Professions programs must see a faculty program advisor regardless of the number of credit hours they have earned.

NOW is the time to get advised so that you can enroll early on and have the best chance for getting the classes and the kind of schedule you desire. There is a short window in November, December and the very beginning of January to register, so don’t delay! Please note that thousands of students will be seeking academic advising during this period. Waits may be common at certain times of the day and on certain days. Your patience and civility during this challenging time will be appreciated.

Again, no matter what — do not wait until the last minute!

Transfer Planning

Planning to transfer to another college or university next fall? It is important to make sure that you are taking the proper courses to transfer to the program you wish and to know when you should be applying. The professionals in the Counseling and Advising Center will be happy to assist with your transfer planning.

Upcoming Events

Students who plan to attend Parkland in 2016 can learn more about the college at the annual Student/Parent Information Night (SPIN) this coming Thursday evening, November 5, starting at 6:00 p.m. until 7:35 p.m. in the Student Union. Click here for further information and for SPIN registration instructions.

On Friday, November 13, Parkland will host its campus-wide Fall Open House from 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. in the Student Union. That same day, we will also hold a Health Professions Open House from noon until 3:00 p.m. in the L wing on the main campus and the H wing (Health Professions on Mattis —1309 N. Mattis Avenue).

 

[John Sheahan is director of the Parkland College Counseling and Advising Center.]

H.S. Students, Parents: Scholarship, Info at SPIN!

High school students: Want to win a $250 Scholarship?

Register to win one next Thursday at our annual Parkland College Student/Parent Information Night (SPIN)!

Student/Parent Information Night
Thursday, November 5
6-7:30 p.m.
Student Union

Designed for high school students and their parents, you’ll get lots of information on:

  • How to Apply to Parkland
  • Paying for College
  • Health Professions and Other Academic Programs
  • Parkland Pathway to Illinois
  • PLUS, representatives from Disability Services, Student Life, Financial Aid, First Year Experience, Dual Credit, and TRiO will be on hand to answer your questions.

Ask current Parkland students your questions and register to win a $250 scholarship!

Want more information or have questions? Contact Sarah Hartman at sjhartman@parkland.edu or 217/353-2002.

Ready to sign up for SPIN?  RSVP here:

 

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

5 Reasons to Attend Parkland’s Open House

The Campus-wide Fall Open House is scheduled for Friday, November 13 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. in Parkland’s Student Union. Here are five reasons you should check it out:

  1. Get a tour of campus led by Student Ambassadors.
  2. See open labs for many of the Health Careers (rare). Check out the H and L wings from noon to 3 p.m. for their events.
  3. Attend breakout sessions on financial aid or Parkland Pathway to Illinois.
  4. Visit with someone from your academic major to find out what the classes will be like.
  5. Learn about resources to help you succeed in college.

For more information, contact admissions@parkland.edu or call 217/351-2482. No RSVP required.

 

[Mary Kay Smith is the student services advisor for Parkland’s  Admissions and Records office.]

 

Cash and Relevant Work Skills for YOU!

With the holiday season upon us, now could be just the right time to save a little extra cash for ________(fill in the blank): a spring break trip, car repair, textbook money, paying down credit card debt, and more. Seasonal employment is a great way to fulfill these needs plus gain valuable workplace skills.  

087But how do you even begin a search for temporary work this holiday season? Look no further! The Career Center and SaltMoney (free to all Parkland students, alumni, and staff) have lots of great resources to make the process as easy as possible for you:

  • Visit the  Career Center for application tips and other job search tips to help you prepare.
  • Check out SaltMoney to receive time management tips for balancing school and work as well as budgeting advice.

What workplace skills can you gain from taking a job outside of your major/career goals?  Employers are always looking for soft skills such as being a team player, working well under pressure, and critical thinking. You can build on these skills with seasonal employment.

Good luck with that holiday job search, and make sure to sign up for SaltMoney and follow the Career Center on Twitter at @connectwithPCC.

 

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in the Career Center.]

Worried about losing your MAP Grant? Apply now for scholarships!

Have you heard? Your financial aid this spring may be less than you expect.

The Illinois Assistance Commission (ISAC), which administers the Monetary Award Program (MAP), has notified all Illinois colleges and universities that due to the uncertainty of the state budget, spring 2016 MAP awards will be delayed until the state budget is approved. This means that your spring 2016 MAP award will be changed to “estimated aid” at this time and will not be applied to any account balance you may incur while registering for spring classes. As a result, your financial aid refund may be less than anticipated.

If state budget does fund MAP awards and you are owed more in a refund, you will receive it after the state budget is approved. Should the state not include MAP awards in the budget, you will be responsible for any balance owed on your account.

The idea of having your financial aid reduced is a pretty stressful one. What can you do? One potential way to offset this possible reduction is to apply for scholarships. Even if you don’t receive the MAP award, applying for scholarships is always a great resource to help fund your education.

NOW is the time to apply for spring scholarships. The Parkland College Foundation is currently offering approximately 70 scholarships for the spring semester. November 15 is the deadline for a majority of these scholarships, but scholarships are posted throughout the academic year.  The funds are there … just waiting for the right student to apply.

Parkland students have access to the scholarship search feature in their student portal at my.parkland.edu. By logging in to the portal and selecting “Scholarship Search” under the Student Services tab, you will be directed to a listing of all scholarships that are currently available. By selecting “eligible scholarships” from the drop down menu, you will also find a list that is more customized based on available scholarship criteria. The search feature is an excellent resource to find scholarships funded by the Parkland College Foundation. In addition, any scholarship information provided by external organizations is posted as well.

Most scholarship applications require you to write an essay … don’t be intimidated! The Center for Academic Success at Parkland offers a Writing Lab in D120 that is open and available to all students. You can receive free help from English instructors with any writing project you might have. For more information you can visit D120 or log in to the student portal, my.parkland.edu.

There are also many reputable online resources for scholarships as well such as Fastweb (http://www.fastweb.com/), CollegeBoard (http://www.collegeboard.org/), and the Federal Student Aid Gateway (http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/). Keep in mind, that most reputable scholarship organizations do not ask you to pay a fee to apply.

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]

Midterm-Start Classes: Squeeze in One More!

For some Parkland College and University of Illinois students, October means a bit more than the change to fall Illinois weather and start of the countdown to a new year. Fall also brings a significant benchmark for the current semester – midterm – a time for reflection and examination of academic goals and progress.

Were you aware that Parkland offers a good selection of midterm-start classes? Think full credit, in half the time. Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about taking an October-start class:

  • Are your reading and writing skills solid?
  • Are you able to work in a fast-paced environment?
  • Will you able to budget your time to successfully complete the class?
  • Do you have sufficient time and motivation to fulfill class requirements?

If your answer to these questions is yes, or if perhaps you are successfully completing your fall 2015 classes and want to “squeeze in” one more, you might be a good candidate to try an October-start class.

Midterm classes come in a variety of formats:  online, hybrid, morning, afternoon and evening. Classes range from general education courses (for both Parkland and University of Illinois students!) such as Art Appreciation, United States History, and Environmental Biology to courses like Introduction to Business and Weight Training.

Classes begin the week of October 19, so the time to get started on this is NOW!

Current Parkland students may wish to consult with someone in the Counseling and Advising Center (U276) prior to enrolling. Or … if ready to enroll, go to my.parkland.edu.

Current University of Illinois students who want more information about midterm-start courses can call Parkland College Admissions at 217/351-2482.

New degree-seeking students have a registration deadline of Tuesday, October 13. The last day to register for all other students is Thursday, October 15.

Keys to Persistence: Black Student SUCCESS Project

I founded The Black Student SUCCESS Project in 2008 with a goal of increasing the retention and graduation rates of Black students at Parkland College.  I drew heavily from Dr. Vincent Tinto’s Departure Theory, which states that academic integration and social integration are keys to persistence for college students, particularly students of color.

BSSPThe idea for this project is to provide interesting and relevant activities and programs designed to create opportunities for students to learn, engage, connect, and dare I say it?  Have fun!  We have talked about academic topics: Test Anxiety, Gen Eds, and Career planning. We’ve discussed tough social issues: AIDS and the Black Community, Domestic Violence, and Race Relations.  We also have addressed Emotional Intelligence and Healthy Relationships, and every spring, we enjoy the University of Illinois Black Chorus.

Black Student SUCCESS Project workshops have become the best-attended on campus, and all students all welcome.  Look for our posters and flyers around campus and drop by.

***Our next workshop is this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 1-2 p.m. in Room U140.   Chief Bill Colbrook will share on keeping safe, underage drinking, and how to interact with the police.  It should be a good one.***

Stop by. We’d love to have you.

[Donna Tanner-Harold is a counselor in Parkland’s Counseling and Advising Center and coordinates Black Student Success Project activities.]

Top Skills Employers Want in New Grads

Students work hard in their classes, but many times they need help articulating the skills and knowledge they acquire in the classroom to “employer speak.” Keep the following in mind as you make that connection between your coursework and your career.

Top Skills Employers Seek (in order of importance):

1) Ability to work well on a team
2) Ability to make decisions and solve problems
3) Written and verbal communication skills
4) Technical knowledge related to the job
5) Ability to plan and prioritize work
6) Diversity sensitivity and ability to build rapport with others
7) Adaptability and Flexibility
8) Professionalism and a positive attitude

(Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers 2014 Survey)

Have you held a leadership position? Received a scholarship? Presented at a conference? Led committee work? Participated in fund-raising? Think about class projects where you have been a team leader. Keep the skills employers want in mind!

For instance, if you staffed a campus snack bar, say you “worked on a team of five people and handled food orders.” Maybe at a summer camp you coordinated the daily activities for 140 young campers. Make sure you spell out responsibilities briefly but specifically!

Students: Manage Your Finances with $ALT

Do you need help keeping up with student loans, finding scholarship money, or generally getting a handle on your debt? Parkland has a new tool that can assist you, and it’s free.

SALT_bannerParkland has partnered with American Student Assistance® to provide you with SALT, a free financial education and debt management program. SALT makes it rewarding, easy, and fun to make smart decisions about your money and student loan borrowing and take control of your finances.

Through SALT, you can plan and track student loans and repayment options; create a manageable budget; learn about credit and debt management, saving, and investing; and find scholarships, internships, and jobs. SALT members receive access to the following:

• A scholarship search tool
• A job and internship search tool
• Interactive online lessons on personal finances (My Money 101)
• Proactive communication about student loan repayment options
• One-on-one repayment counseling with student loan experts
• Self-serve online tools and calculators

Sign up today at saltmoney.org/parklandcollege. For more information on navigating the SALT website, a video is available here. Students with questions about managing their loans can:

• Call loan support at 877/523-9473 or email loanhelp@saltmoney.org
• Text Contact to 51303 (This will provide information on how to speak with a loan counselor)
Chat with SALT

 

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]

 

Surviving the Post-Midterm Slump

Spring is officially here and it’s the last few weeks of the semester. Do you feel like you’re running on empty? Are you wondering how you’re going to make it through another five weeks of classes? Do you lack the motivation and energy you need?

You are not alone.

The post-midterm slump happens to almost everyone. Here are some suggestions to help you to hang on a few more weeks.

Manage Your Time and Get Organized.  If you don’t already have a study schedule, make one. Determine the assignments and tests that will be due before the end of the semester for each class you are taking, and then pull out a calendar (or make your own) and write down when you will work on assignments and study for tests.

Be Realistic. Check your midterm grades. Are you passing all of your classes? If so, keep up the good work! If not, talk with instructors of the classes you’re not passing and see if it will be possible for you to raise your grade. If you are in too deep a hole, consider withdrawing from that class and using the extra time to improve your grades in the classes you can pass. Just remember: if you are receiving any type of financial aid (grants, loans or scholarships), speak with a financial aid advisor at Parkland before withdrawing from a class.

 Spend Your Time Productively. Spend less time on social media and use that time to study, relax, read, exercise, deep-breathe or sleep.

 Reward Yourself. Set up rewards that are equal to the goal you’ve accomplished. Finish reading three chapters in your Psychology text? Treat yourself to a frappucino. Complete a 16-page paper for History class? Buy yourself some sandals or Chuck Taylors. You don’t have to reward yourself for every accomplishment, but for the tasks you’ve been avoiding, they can be very motivating.

Get Some Sleep. The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you have a choice between cramming for an exam and sleeping an extra half hour or more, you’re probably going to do better on the exam if you choose to sleep.

 Get Help If You Need It. Organize a study group or go to the Center for Academic Success (CAS) in D120 and work with a Peer tutor, an instructor or a CAS staff member.

And remember: ONLY FIVE MORE WEEKS TO GO!

[Jan Thom is a Student Development Advocate in CAS.]

Insurance Standout to Speak at Open House

jdowney

[For Jay Downey, managing director of the Downey Group, Parkland College was a game changer. Downey will present the talk, “What Parkland Means to Me” at our Spring 2015 Open House tomorrow (Friday), at 12:20 p.m. in Room U140. I asked him a few questions as a teaser for his discussion. Please come out to hear him!]

How has Parkland impacted your life?

“Parkland allowed me to find a bridge from high school to the U of I. I was not the best student in high school for a lot of reasons. Parkland had programs to help me get stronger; its professors and associates had the patience to help me obtain the skills I needed to be successful at the next level.”

Are you still using the lessons you learned here? How?

“I use the lessons I learned at Parkland every day at work and in my personal life. Parkland educated me to write business proposals and recognize famous works of art in a museum. The education I received was broad, comprehensive, and very affordable. I admire and respect all of the instructors I had and have a deep sense of gratitude towards them all.”

What is the Downey Group?

“The Downey Group, Inc., provides high quality life insurance, long term care, disability programs, and related planning, for affluent individuals, families, and businesses. We work closely with you to accomplish a variety of wealth accumulation, preservation and transfer objectives.”

Jay Downey is a qualifying and life member of one of the highly regarded associations in the insurance industry, The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), where he has achieved Honor Roll status. He is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA).

Adults: Get It Started at Parkland Open House

natasha
Natasha, a Parkland student, was the first adult student we served in the Adult Re-entry Center’s new office space in the Student Union.

Do you or someone you know have college credits that are figuratively collecting dust — not being put to use?

Have you thought about starting or completing your degree, but aren’t sure how to pay for it? Does your work schedule only allow for online courses, but you’re not sure how those things work? Are you not sure what sort of jobs are out there for Parkland College grads? Have you wondered how far a Parkland degree can take you?

For the answer to these and many other questions, you should come out to Parkland’s spring Open House on Friday, March 13. You will find an array of information sessions dedicated to these topics, among others.

Scheduled speakers include:
• Tim Wendt, Parkland’s director of Financial Aid and Veteran Services; Tim will share his wealth of knowledge about “adult-centric” ways to finance a college education.
• Tony Hooker (yours truly) will show you how to put your existing credits to work, earning a Parkland credential while moving toward a bachelor’s degree.
• Lori Wendt from Parkland’s Distance and Virtual Learning office will be on hand to discuss online course delivery. I’ll also share a bit about what’s available online.
• Sandy Spencer, director of Parkland’s Career Center, will speak about what’s hot and trending with regards to careers.
• Jay Downey, a proud Parkland alumnus and managing director of The Downey Group, will speak about the impact Parkland has had on his life.

The time is now for you to make a move toward your academic goals, and Parkland’s spring Open House is the best first step! The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the new Student Union. See you there!

Applying for a Health Career Program? Act Fast

March 1 is right around the corner, so if you are interested in applying to one of Parkland’s Health Professions programs, now is the time!

To enter most of our programs, students must go through a “Selective Admissions” process.  What does this mean?  Here are the main points:

  • Each program has specific admission criteria and minimum requirements.
  • A student must specifically “apply” to one particular program.
  • Program-specific classes can only be taken by students admitted to the program.
  • Application deadlines are specific.
  • Admissions are competitive; even though you meet minimum requirements, you may not be accepted.

The best way to learn more about our Selective Admissions process is to visit our website and watch our “Get the Facts” presentation at www.parkland.edu/healthprofessions.

While you’re at the website, take a look around and check out our different Health Professions programs. When you click on a program, it will take you to that program’s website for more information.

So, are there any programs that are not Selective Admissions?  Yes; the Nurse Assistant and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Basic are one-semester courses that will only be available to sign up for during our normal registration periods. However, both of these classes have requirements, so please take the time to visit those websites. The Nurse Assistant program has state requirements that need to be completed before registering.

These are the programs with March 1 deadlines:

Dental Hygiene
Dietary Manager
Emergency Medical Services: Paramedic
Massage Therapy
Medical Assisting
Nursing: ADN – Registered Nursing
Nursing: LPN – Practical Nursing
Nursing: LPN to ADN Bridge
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Radiologic Technology
Respiratory Care
Surgical Technology
Veterinary Technology

Please visit our website for more information and handy  “Are you ready to apply?” checklists for each program: http://www.parkland.edu/healthprofessions

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me at mspading@parkland.edu. See you around campus!

Michele Spading
Vice Chair Health Professions Student Affairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Online Learning, Anyway?

Distance education.  Distance learning.  Online learning. Virtual learning.  People use these terms interchangeably to mean a “mode of delivering education and instruction to students who are not physically present in a traditional setting, such as a classroom” (Wikipedia).

Distance education
Distance education. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

It may surprise you that the first distance education class in the U.S. took place about 300 years ago! In the 18th century, students could gain secretarial skills through mailed lessons (later called correspondence education).  Mailed lessons eventually evolved into televised courses: Schools recorded lectures on VHS tapes and made them available for students to check out and view in their homes.  Students would then send the completed lessons back to their instructors.

As the Internet became more prevalent, distance education offered the ability for “real time” interaction between instructor and students.  The Web brought about the opportunity for peer communication as well, much like students in a classroom, except for being in a virtual environment. Parkland College has offered this type of learning since the 1990s and is one of the top community colleges in the state of Illinois in online offerings.  We also believe that we have some of the best online faculty as well.

What does this mean for you? It means that, while its delivery systems are evolving, distance education is still serious business, and the rules for success at it remain the same:

Online learning is NOT always easy; it’s not just “browsing the Internet” or “chatting.”  You must research, write, and submit papers, just like in the traditional classroom.  You take quizzes, tests, and exams using a special software or learning management system (Cobra Learning at Parkland).  Faculty interact with you through topic boards  and class discussion, and they post grades of your online work.

Online learning takes discipline; there are generally no set hours to “attend” class or instructors in front of the room reminding you of due dates.  Faculty will give you the tools to help with your success, but it’s up to you to use them efficiently and effectively.

Not enrolled in online courses?  It is still a good idea to know how to use the Cobra Learning system for your classes. Many of our classroom faculty utilize Cobra  to distribute and receive materials as well as for testing.  So, log into the Cobra system and, along the right side below your profile settings, you will find a widget called Help for Students.  There you will find video tutorials to help you learn how to use Cobra.

Your success in all courses–classroom and online–is important to us.  Please take advantage of services we make available to ensure that success.  The STAR help desk, the Library, and CAS (Center for  Academic Success) are just a few of the services that we recommend, whether you’re taking an online class or not.

Veterans: Quick Tips on Using Your Benefits

 

Fresh from military duty and looking to begin (or finish) your degree for a new career? You can find lots of help to do just that at Parkland College, through the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Services.

Kristina Taylor, veterans coordinator in the financial aid office, has a few tips for you on how to make the most of the GI Bill and other veterans benefits you have earned. Just click on the image above to begin the video.

Parkland College thanks you for honorably serving our country.

What is Parkland Pathway to Illinois?

The first time I walked into Parkland College was in 1994. I remember parking in what I now know to be the B wing and attempting to find the Admissions office (which resulted in me visiting the X wing and, somehow, the L wing). As a December ’93 graduate of Champaign Central High School, I knew that I wanted to transfer to a university, but I didn’t want to jump into that university life right away. Thank goodness for Parkland College.

While I made lots of wrong turns trying to find classes (signage is so much better now!), I never made a wrong turn in my course selection due to fantastic Parkland advising,  and I was able to transfer and successfully complete my bachelor’s degree.

UI-PC-roadsign

Parkland Pathway to Illinois Program
Parkland College has been a partner with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for almost 50 years and has successfully transferred thousands of students. Seven years ago, the two institutions came together to create a new initiative, the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program. This program offers a selective group of students the opportunity to be enrolled at Parkland full time and also take a course at the University of Illinois every semester. Students receive individualized counseling at Parkland and at Illinois and can live in University housing.

Other benefits include guaranteed admission to the University of Illinois and paying a discounted tuition rate based on Parkland College tuition. The Parkland Pathway to Illinois program does not replace the traditional transfer programs that Parkland College offers, but it aims to enrich opportunities and open the door to the University of Illinois to more students.

How to Apply
Two separate groups of steps let a student apply to the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program. The first is for high school seniors to first apply to Parkland College in a transfer program (they will have to reapply even if they took dual credit courses in high school). They can apply by clicking here and can find a list of transfer degree programs here. Once they are admitted to Parkland College, students then schedule an assessment test. This test, used for Parkland course scheduling purposes, must be completed by April 1.

The second group of steps begins February 15, which is the day that the University of Illinois Parkland Pathway to Illinois application opens. High school seniors would create their myillini.illinois.edu account and apply to the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program. To apply, students must have the following:

  • Access to their high school courses and grades
  • ACT and/or ACT scores sent electronically to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 300-word (max.) essay related to their interest in the major they wish to study at the University of Illinois (a full list of undergraduate majors is available here)
  • Any other items required.

Once all parts of the University of Illinois application have been received, Pathway applicants will be reviewed for admission.

The Parkland Pathway to Illinois program is not the only way to transfer to the University of Illinois, but it is a way to slowly get used to the university environment while enjoying the benefits of the award-winning faculty, small class sizes, and personalized resources of Parkland College.

***Learn more at the Pathway to Illinois Informational Open House, Feb. 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Parkland College Student Union***

Questions about the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program can be directed to Beth Chepan, Parkland College Admissions and Records, 217/351-2887 or Holly Herrera, University of Illinois, holly10@illinois.edu

File Your FAFSA NOW for a Happier New Year!


Parkland Students: It’s TIME to fill out the
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it as soon as possible!  Waiting can keep you from getting the State of Illinois MAP Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, and/or Federal Work-Study that you might be eligible for—which run out earlier and earlier each year!

It is definitely worth your time to complete the FAFSA. Most students qualify for some form of aid, and even those who don’t qualify for grants still often borrow federal loans (but only after they’ve filled out the FAFSA!).

Need help filling out your FAFSA online (www.fafsa.gov)? Stop by the Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services (Room U286) with your tax return copies, your FAFSA PIN (if you have one already), and any other required paperwork.

Also, visit our website for more information on financial aid deadlines at Parkland.

 

 

What can you do with an English degree?

It’s a question I’ve heard over and over again: “What are you planning on doing with an English degree?” This is frequently accompanied by derision and/or unsolicited advice to change my major to something more lucrative.

Perhaps there is more job security in nursing and more financial stability in a business or engineering degree, but I believe it is far more rewarding to study what you love and, personally, I am happier around words than I am around numbers.

So, getting back to that pesky question, here are some things you can do with an English degree:

Teaching

This one is pretty obvious—I think many people automatically assume this is what most English majors plan to do with their degree. And while teaching is certainly not all that is available to English majors, it is nonetheless an excellent option. Elementary and secondary school teachers require teaching certifications, and college professors need a master’s degree.

Pre-professional Programs

College students majoring in English tend to be very well-rounded in their educations. They are taught to write well, analyze ideas, and communicate skillfully. This is why many with an English BA further their studies in fields like law, medicine, and business.

Publishing

People with English degrees are conversant in researching, editing, reading, and writing, and this makes them a good fit for jobs within the publishing industry. While these kinds of jobs are a little harder to come by, it is possible to work your way up through jobs such as an editorial assistant or a proofreader/copyeditor, or through internships.

Writing

This is another occupation that English majors are naturally suited for, but as with publishing, these jobs can be difficult to secure. Writing is also a multifaceted field—it includes journalism, technical writing, scientific writing, creative writing, and copywriting. Any Parkland College English major interested in writing should look at all their college transfer options for Writing minors or concentrations to accompany their English major upon transfer.

Advertising, Podcasts, Public Relations, Research Assisting, Speechwriting, Travel Writing, Movie Critiquing

The list goes on! There are tons of jobs out there for English majors, and a great place to find out more about it is Parkland’s Career Center in the U wing. You can take a career test and find out exactly what you’re suited for. Make sure you know all your options, and have fun exploring them!

[Marnie Leonard is a Parkland College Student Ambassador.]

University of Illinois Students Take Classes at Parkland College

I will bet that most University of Illinois students are not aware of how many of their fellow students are taking courses at Parkland College while attending Illinois. The numbers might surprise you, because so many are taking our online courses; thus, they are almost in “stealth” mode.

In fact, about 400 Illinois students will take one or more Parkland College classes this spring. It is not unusual to see that number swell to around 2,000 Illinois students during the summer term.

The online course format allows students to complete their Parkland courses around Illinois classes, work schedules, and social activities; this is the most popular mode for taking our classes. Students who prefer the traditional course format take classes at our campus in the afternoon, late afternoon, and evening so they will fit in with their busy schedules.

Some Parkland courses traditionally have a significant number of Illinois students enrolled. Examples include online Physics 121 and 122 (the equivalent of Illinois’s PHYS 101 and 102) and basic general education courses like Psychology 101 (equivalent to PSYC 100) and History 105 (equivalent to HIST 172)—a nice choice to meet the Illinois Cultural Studies: Western/Comparative and Humanities and the Arts: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives requirements.

Of course, in order to enroll in any courses, you’ll need to complete some basic tasks. You can begin the process of applying to Parkland as a Course Enrollee (a person not working toward a degree or certificate at Parkland) online by going to http://www.parkland.edu/getStarted. As a current Illinois student, you would be considered a “concurrent enrollment” student at Parkland.

You can find procedures and forms for domestic students at the University of Illinois website, at http://provost.illinois.edu/programs/advising/Concurrent_Enrollment_domestic.pdf. Procedures and forms for international students are available at http://provost.illinois.edu/programs/advising/Concurrent_Enrollment_international.pdf. Please note the instructions very carefully. You must meet Parkland’s prerequisites for the courses and must verify this by bringing with you your Academic History from Illinois Student Self-Service.

If you are wondering how Parkland courses transfer to Illinois, check out the transfer course matrix at http://online.parkland.edu/transferpatterns/index.cfm.

So, if you are looking to squeeze in one more course or maybe looking for a different time or a format that you are unable to get  at Illinois, taking a class at Parkland College might just be for you. We would love to have you!

Parkland College is open until Dec. 23 to take your registrations.

Please note that all Parkland College transfer classes are freshman and sophomore level. For additional enrollment information, contact Parkland’s Office of Admissions.

John Sheahan
Director, Counseling and Advising Center

Team YOU: Making the Goal (Success)

portrait-17Hi, my name is Marietta Turner and I’m Dean of Students here at Parkland College.

I’ve served here six years as the advocate (supporter) for student rights and responsibilities, providing both a means for students’ voices and guidance for students’ conduct. I seek to help students if they can’t figure out who to see or what to do about a situation  on campus; I also help them reach their instructors if they’re out of class for an extended time. I’ve been working with students for more than 20 years because I like students, especially community college students. In fact, this is the third community college I’ve worked at in my career.

OK, enough about me. Let’s talk about you.

You want to be successful and complete your educational dream, right?  Everybody’s vision is different, so that could mean a certificate or degree that takes you right to your career, or transfer to a university to finish a bachelor’s degree. How about I give you some tips from time to time about how you CAN change your dream into an achievable goal?

Why change your dreams into a goal? Well, a dream is just that…it’s wishing and hoping for something that may or may not come true. When you set a goal, you plan observable actions towards an end result to be achieved within a more or less fixed time frame. So, let’s dream a big goal (say, a Super Bowl-sized one, because that’s what graduating is like).

OK, the first tip I want to give you is this: You are the boss of you, so take charge of your plan by seeing your advisor, registering for your classes and having your payment arrangements, Financial Aid, or Nelnetcompleted by the deadlines.  Remember, Parkland’s Spring 2015 semester registration is going on NOW.

Next, you become the coach for TEAM YOU. This means you need to develop a game plan to achieve your goals for completing all the necessary courses with good grades. This success takes you over the goal line, into the end zone, and you become a Parkland College graduate. (I’m a football fan so I do make those kinds of sports references.) You need action plans to help you, and we’re going to talk further and hear from successful students to help you plan your game-winning strategies.

Persistence, Paying Off.

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It takes persistence to complete a college degree; Sharon Nava can attest to this fact more than most. A published poet in addition to a returning student, Sharon has a story (below) that mirrors many others here at Parkland’s Adult Re-entry Center.  She is on course to complete a degree in May 2016, a date that corresponds with another milestone date in her life.

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I first came to Parkland in 1990 after the company I worked for shut down. The Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) folks came in and gave us a choice: They could help find us another job or send us to school to retrain for a new one. I’ve always loved learning, so I scanned the Parkland catalog and found a program that they would agree to send me to. I graduated with my certificate as a Pharmacy Technician in 1991, on the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation!

I continued to take classes off and on, but I had to stop when my husband became terminally ill. By now, I had retired, and I spent many hours praying for help in determining where I needed my life to go. One morning, I received a message that I needed to pursue what makes me happy, and since then I’ve been back here at Parkland taking classes.

I plan to attend my graduation, earning my associate’s degree in General Studies in May 2016—the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation!

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You’re never too old to improve yourself; you just have to stick with it. The Adult Re-entry Center can help you write the next chapter of your life’s story, just as we’re helping Sharon.  Call or e-mail me to discuss your options: Call 217/351-2462 or email me at finishyourdegree@parkland.edu. You can also stop by Room U233 to set up a visit.

7 Ways to TANK Your Grades While There’s Time

Okay, so you’ve checked your midterm grades on my.parkland and you’re doing  fine: No “underwater grades” (below C level), you’ve made a good impression on your teachers, and you just might succeed!

Don’t worry, though; there are still LOTS of ways you can take all that hard work and money and flush it away! Here are just seven!

from table 028
Flushing away your good grades is easy. Photo by Sue Jones.

1.  It’s cold and dark now in the morning…go ahead, sleep in. Sure, you know that when you went in early and looked over your notes in D120 before class, everything made more sense; but now… it’s dark! Don’t be smart and figure out what will propel you from the covers (i.e., set the thermost to go on when it’s time to get up, turn that light on, put the alarm clock across the room, get a cat, make coffee, whatever!). Just sleep your good grades away.

Big_feet_(521365548)
“Big feet ” by Cyndy Sims Parr. Creative Commons license (521365548).

2.  Hang out with people who aren’t studying. They’re having a good time! Plus, they’re not concerned with your goals and dreams, so they won’t mind if your grades go down.

3,  Don’t just celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Celebrate Thanksgiving Week!  You have a lot to be thankful for. Surely you’ll need more than just two days off to express your thanks.  What’s a couple of days of missed assignments or quizzes, anyway?

4.  Lost your notes? Don’t even bother to look for them. Look back over the old material before you do tonight’s work; that’s what successful students do! Find somebody else who can share? Review for the final? That’s the stuff that might get you on the Dean’s List, so you’d better not!

5,  Text, sleep, and get all that social stuff done in class. You started out the year paying attention and taking good notes, but now you’ve figured out where to sit so the instructor can’t tell if you’re sleeping or on your phone (well, s/he probably can, but….) You’ll figure this stuff out later, right? Like when you’re hanging out with your friends who aren’t taking classes.

6.  Don’t bother to withdraw from classes you’re not doing well in.  After all, it is such a pain: You should meet with an advisor and financial aid to see how withdrawing will affect your academic or financial aid standing, then physically go to Admissions (second floor, Student Union) to fill out a withdrawal form. And they want you to do this by a specific date? Ugh.

7.  Give up when the going gets tough. You’ve fallen behind, and it will take more work than you want to put into it to get back up to speed. Well, no, you don’t even really know how badly you’re doing, but… ask? Face your fears? Heaven forbid you should talk to your instructor or visit D120 and ask for some help; asking for help is a definite sign of weakness. At least, that’s what people say when they aren’t brave enough to ask for help.

So…drop your work into the tank…

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Photo by Parkland graduate Bill Gibbens; used with permission.

…OR,  if you don’t think these are good ideas, come on over to the Center for Academic Success (CAS) in D120! We’ve got pep talks, reality checks, course helps, and lots of students working their way to academic success, just like you! See you there, if you dare!

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Come over to CAS for steps to success! Photo by Sue Jones.

R Factors: Instructor Tips for Online Students

Finish your online class in strong fashion by reflecting on four “R factors” your online instructors want you to remember:

Research:  Do not consider the Internet as the only research tool for your online course assignments. Most libraries, like Parkland’s, have online resources available, including live chats with real librarians during library hours! Do not rely on sites like Wikipedia or About.com unless your instructor has indicated that those are viable options for your assignment. Always ask about a site of which you are unsure.

Report Formats:  You may be required to submit your written assignments in a specific document format. Likewise, your preferred document format (.wps, .odt or .pages) may not be viewable by your instructor. So, pay attention to detail about the types of documents they are willing to accept, and if possible, send a test document to them PRIOR to the assignment due date to ensure that they can open and read your file.

Review (Tests):  Some courses may require you to do some exams via proctor, meaning that you will need to be monitored during the exam. Parkland has testing centers on campus for students in online courses who need to take a proctored test. Note: Distant students must work with the instructor to make arrangements for taking proctored exams at a different location.

Replies: Your online instructor may not reply immediately to your question or comment. Most online instructors do their best to reply to email within 24-48 hours. For grading of discussions and assignments, they may take up to a week after the due date before finalizing grades. Continue working on assignments while you await their response, and rest assured that they will respond to your request.

 

 

Your Mom Called. She Said to Wear Clean Underwear and Carry Your I.D.

Lori Sprague
Lori Sprague, Admissions Assistant

“PARKLAND ADMISSIONS, THIS IS LORI…”

Here’s something I’ve noticed for quite a while now: When students come into Admissions, the first thing we always ask before we can conduct any business is, “Do you have a photo ID?” This is the interesting part (to me, anyway): The student usually says, “It’s out in my car.

I would say this is the response we get about seven out of 10 times. (Okay, Institutional Accountability and Research doesn’t have any data on this, so let’s just say it’s based on my own observational data. Sounds pretty solid, right?) Well, maybe some days this occurs more than others. There may be some days where lots of photo IDs are showing up at the front counter, and then there are other days where most of them are locked safely out in the trunks of cars in the B, C, & M parking lots.

So, you might have to be patient with me, here, as I may slip into “Mom-mode” and let my worry-wart behavior hang out…get ready for a few “what ifs”  (I’m a big fan of bullet points, they’re awesome!):

  • What if you get hurt while on campus?
  • What if you don’t feel well and pass out?
  • What if the New Madrid fault causes a major earthquake, Parkland is the epicenter, and you fall into a crevasse?

Even though the Doe family (Jane and John) certainly are part of a respected and long line of anonymity, and they seem to be super welcoming to adding new relatives, you may want to retain your very own, unique identity.  What better way to retain your identity than to carry it with you at all times?

So whether you are a Parkland Student, or a Student of Life, my friend, I will leave you with this sage old advice:  Always wear clean underwear. Always carry your ID.

Spring 2015 Registration and Transfer Planning

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What? Registration for the Spring 2015 semester is already underway?

Believe it or not, registration for Parkland College Spring Semester 2015 began Monday at 8 a.m. Registration this week is restricted to current Parkland students, based on a schedule that was sent to all students via their Parkland email accounts about two weeks ago. Open enrollment will begin next week.

All degree-seeking students who have earned less than 30 credit hours are required to be advised before they can register for classes. Please note that earned credit hours do not include hours in which students are currently enrolled. Additionally, all students on academic probation and students in certain programs (health professions majors, for example) are also required to be advised before registering.

Advising guidelines are posted on page 6 of the Spring 2015 Class Schedule. NOW is the time to get advised, so that you can enroll early on and have the best chance for getting the classes and the kind of schedule you desire.

Transfer Planning

Planning to transfer to another college or university next fall? It is important to make sure that you are taking the proper courses to transfer to the program you wish AND to know when you should be applying. The professionals in the Counseling and Advising Center (U267) would be happy to assist with your transfer planning. Please note that the Center will be extremely busy over the next two months due to spring registration, but please be patient and get the help that you need.

Students who plan to attend Parkland in the fall 2015 semester can learn more about Parkland College and transfer to other colleges and universities by attending the upcoming free Student-Parent Information Night (SPIN) at Parkland this coming Thursday evening, October 30, from 6 p.m. until 7:45 p.m. in the new Student Union. Click here for further information and for a registration link.

What has made an impression on you this semester?

Yesterday, I spent some time in the Student Union talking with students as they made their way toward lunch. Quite a few students commented on how much better they liked the new food service area. Of course, cost is an ongoing concern, but the variety, quality, and especially the vastly improved and increased seating area all received high marks.

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Along the way, I met up with Toby Rothery. Toby is a freshman, majoring in business. I asked how the semester was going and what were some of the things that made an impression on him these first few weeks of the semester.

He said, “I learned right off the bat to not be afraid to go to your teachers for help; they are willing to [help]. The other very important thing to do is find a group to study with. It helps a lot and if you don’t get something they are always right there to help you with most problems you have.” We talked a little about the Center for Academic Success and how they can help with tutoring as well as the value of the Writing Center.

Toby also works in the Fine and Applied Arts departmental office as a student worker, which, according to Toby, “is light years better than his old job” working at Toy-R-Us.

Next time you are in the C-Wing, stop by the Fine and Applied Arts office and say “hey” to Toby.