As countries across the world begin the difficult task of rebuilding their economies after the COVID-19 pandemic, a painful reality must now be faced. Following the unprecedented efforts of many governments to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus through social measures such as recurring lockdowns, supply chains have been disrupted, many jobs have been lost, and businesses and other organizations seeking to recover are facing significant skills shortages.
The Washington Post, for example, recently highlighted the acute shortage in the US of qualified nurses, one of many sectors struggling to meet demand with a numerically insufficient workforce.
Unsurprisingly, a trend that was gathering momentum long before the international health crisis may be about to grow even stronger as a result – namely the desire among rising numbers of people to improve their prospects by getting formally qualified for more rewarding careers in professional roles. Many are opting to do so via online degree programs offered by well-established and highly reputable campus universities, such as the University of Indianapolis online nursing programs.
Designed for mature students who wish to enhance their qualifications without sacrificing either their current employment income or their family duties, embarking on such a program is frequently anxiety-provoking, especially for people who may have left formal education some years previously.
For those who are considering – but also fearing – embarking on an advanced online course of this kind, what follows shows that there are good reasons to set aside the anxiety, because all such students should receive ongoing assistance from the student support services provided by universities – campus-based and online students alike.
How student support services help students manage their studies
A hallmark of excellence in a university offering campus-based and online degree programs resides in the quality of its student support services. Prospective students should check this provision when they’re exploring options. Look for a commitment to integrated, personalized attention to every student via student support services.
While there are practical measures that online students can learn to adapt to stay focused on their ‘virtual’ studies, at advanced levels of academic and professional coursework, more expert input is frequently necessary. This entails not only easy access to highly credentialed faculty who devise and teach the course material to ensure that each student progresses through all the necessary goals and learning thresholds but also other support staff.
In nursing, for example, online students will often be required to undertake practical clinical placements as part of their study program. Good universities will offer each student a placement coordinator to help find suitable placements relatively close to where they live to minimize disruption and lengthy travel.
In addition to faculty input to help understand the course material itself, prospective students might also be wise to check if the university they’re considering also offers another indispensable resource – namely a dedicated student support advisor to help them find their way through the academic journey every step of the way, from the first semester right through to graduation.
The moral of the story? To gain coveted academic and professional qualifications that have the potential to open doors to fulfilling and rewarding careers, don’t forget to explore the student support services offered by the course provider as well as the course itself.