Refer a Friend to Online College, Get Cash

Lori Johnston | April 19, 2012

We all want to be supportive of our friends and encourage them to pursue and earn their college degrees.

Now some students can get paid for doing that!

Online schools Ashworth College and James Madison High School are paying students and graduates $50 for every friend they refer who enrolls in their programs. The friends have to be in a class for a minimum of 30 days for the students to get the cash.

Refer a friend programs that offer cash are offered by stores, restaurants, credit card companies, banks, attractions, and even college saving plans. We’re not seeing many colleges getting in on the act, though.

Ashworth College and James Madison High School (the for-profit schools are owned by the same company) are encouraging students and graduates to invite their friends via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or direct mail. The school set the limit at earning $100 per year.

Ashworth College officials say the refer a friend marketing program is a way is seeks to introduce people to online education as an affordable alternative. Ashworth College and James Madison High School, both accredited schools, online high school diploma programs, more than 115 online college degrees, and online certificate programs.

We all can use a little extra cash, and for you, the program offers another way you can have a stake in your friends’ education.

Dear Santa: Adult Learners’ Holiday Wishes

Lori Johnston | December 22, 2011

My 5-year-old son’s letter to Santa this year includes Legos, Green Lantern and Batman action figures, and something to play Angry Birds with (instead of always asking for my iPhone). For him, my wish for Santa is that he continues to learn to spell, read, and develop a strong work ethic in kindergarten through his future school years.

If adult learners made a list for Santa, there’s six things we think would be great wishes for Santa (and we’d give him extra cookies and coffee to keep him caffeinated on Christmas Eve, too!).

1. Faster Internet access
Whether you’re taking online classes or trying to do online research, there’s nothing more frustrating for an adult learner than being bogged down by a slow Internet connection. Or worse, when there’s no Internet at all, due to tech problems in your home, office, or a coffee shop, or storm outages.

2. A tablet
The high-tech movement is evident in education. A tablet can be easier to tote than a laptop if you’re going to class or work, and there’s the option to sync information between computers and tablets, and a ton of apps that can help with taking notes and test prep. iPads and other tablets are pricey, so no being naughty this year – you want to be on Santa’s good side. Tablets and e-readers like the Kindle and Nook also can make it more affordable to buy digital textbooks, newspapers, magazines, and other required reading for school.

3. Peace in the house
Peace on earth is a big wish, but some peace and quiet in your home is necessary as you’re studying for tests or finishing up assignments on deadline. If that seems impossible, maybe Santa can help provide a babysitter for those times when you need to be secluded and studying, away from the kids.

4. Time
Santa’s the ultimate multi-tasker, placing presents under trees around the world in the span of one night. Adult students have the same tough task – trying to fit in studying, working, caring for family, and other activities – in their schedule. The gift of time would be incredible. As you enter 2012, you could take another look at your schedule to see ways you can pare down activities or prioritize so that school doesn’t suffer from the lack of time in your life.

5. Instant knowledge
Being able to master tough concepts in your subject area and quickly grasp the information you need in required classes leading up to your major would be incredible. Until those abilities are possible, adult learners will need to continue to prioritize time to study do required reading, work ahead on projects, and ask plenty of questions to ace the class.

6. A frame
For your diploma, of course!

Happy and merry holidays to all!

-Lori Johnston

As Thanksgiving approaches, the distractions increase, with thoughts of turkey, shopping, and family time taking you away from studying, writing papers, and finishing end-of-the-semester college projects.

With these top tips, you can enjoy your holiday traditions (yum, pumpkin pie) and finish up the semester strong.

1. Get real (but not about Santa)
Family get-togethers, holiday shopping, holiday cooking, office parties, your child’s school events, and more are all filling your calendar in Thanksgiving and December. Acknowledge that the holidays will bring challenges to your regular college schedule. As officials with Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J., say: It’s a mistake to ignore this and treat the holiday season just like the rest of the year.

2. Schedule your holidays
Just like timing the components of a holiday meal, designate days and hours for studying/coursework, holiday commitments, and family time.

For example, complete a homework assignment before you head out for Black Friday shopping, so you can enjoy the madness along with other deal seekers.

Establishing a balanced schedule will keep you from having to finish a key assignment or study for a final at the last minute, says Mary M. Herster, director of continuing education at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Penn.

Chose which holiday parties you will attend based upon school deadlines, so that you have enough time to study and have fun, says Richard Shadick, director of the counseling center and an associate adjunct professor of psychology at Pace University in New York.

3. Prioritize your assignments/studying.
Being organized can maximize your time and increase efficiency, Herster says.

4. Set realistic goals
This may be the year that you hand off certain Thanksgiving dishes or holiday parties to someone else. Explain your school obligations to your family, and if they are aware of your time pressures, they are more likely to be understanding, says Jorie Scholnik, an assistant professor at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla. Adult students often feel like they are unable to give anything their “all,” but if you set reasonable expectations about school, home and work, you will feel less stressed, Shadick says.

5. Use down time for studying
Bring your class materials, and turn waiting for a flight or traveling to your destination into a productive period. Or while you’re waiting for a delicious dessert to come out of the oven, dig into reading or a class assignment, or post a response on a discussion board.

6. Bond with other students in your family.
If family members you are hosting or visiting include other college students, offer to study with them, Scholnik says. Officials at Thomas Edison State College have a fun recommendation: Get your kids involved in your education by having them prepare note cards for your exams or quizzing you on the information.

7. Don’t overindulge.
Enjoy that (one) cup of eggnog, as Shadick points out that drinking too much, overeating, or staying up later than normal makes it difficult to study effectively,

8. Be thankful for help.
If you feel overloaded, consider going to your school’s counseling center to talk to a professional about your holiday and school-related stress.

With a little bit of planning and preparation (just like getting ready for guests), you can actually enjoy the holidays and earn that break you’ll get in December!

-Lori Johnston

If you’re a dad or mom back in school – or considering going to college – beware that little eyes may be watching you.

You may be hearing your kids ask when you’re going to get off the computer or home from class because they’re missing time with you. But those sacrifices you are making by investing in your education also can provide valuable lessons for them, too.

One of my mom friends, who is seeking her bachelor’s degree online, recently shared over coffee that her sons were connecting her college experience to their own lives. So with insight from adult learners, here are three things your education can do for your kids.

1. Demonstrate commitment.

My mom friend, Shari King, was talking to one of her sons recently about signing up for football and trying to emphasize that he needed to be committed to the practices and games throughout the season. He told her: It’s like you are committed to school, right? In that one conversation, Shari recognized that the long hours she’s putting in can be beneficial in helping modeling commitment to her kids.

2. Provide for their future.

Investing in a college degree – even when there are babies in the house – can pay off by putting you in the position to head back to work when they are in school. With an extra paycheck coming in, that will help pay for everything from back to school clothes to saving for college for them.

3. Create an environment that embraces homework.

As your kids see you doing your college course work, they may be more likely to focus on their homework too. Also, with you being in a school frame of mind and in homework mode yourself, it may make it easier for you to help them with their schoolwork after they get off the bus or home from daycare.

See, there are many benefits to going back to school as a non-traditional student, especially as your family sees the time and energy you’re putting into getting that degree!