How to Handle Criticism at Work

by South University 21 August 2014

Do the words professional criticism make you shake? If so, you're not alone — a 2011 survey found that up to 31 percent of respondents have been told more than once that they don't take criticism well. Like it or not, criticism at work is a fact of life, and armed with the right skills, you can turn a moment of criticism into one that builds your career. The next time you're criticized at work, use these four tips:

Miscommunication image1. Remember that it's not about you. Professional criticism is just that: professional. When faced with criticism, take a deep breath and remain calm. Don't make excuses, go on the defensive, or indulge in knee-jerk reactions, Instead, remind yourself that the boss or colleague making the critique is likely doing so not in response to who you are as a person, but in an effort to improve your performance at work. When you approach a critique with an open mind and a thick skin, you open yourself up to a conversation instead of a barrage of one-sided criticism.

2. Listen carefully. Before responding to professional criticism, listen closely to the person giving it. Your listening prowess will let the person giving the critique know that you care — and you may just learn something along the way. In fact, up to 85 percent of what we learn is learned through listening.

3. Ask follow-up questions. Get the most out of your critique session by asking follow-up questions. For example, if your boss says she's unhappy with your reporting skills, ask what she expects from an excellent report. Follow-up questions like these are a great training opportunity. Don't be shy — the right questions can help you turn a general critique into a specific career builder.

4. Take advantage. Even a silly-sounding criticism can contain a world of opportunity. Think about it: It's a chance to demonstrate a sense of professionalism by remaining cool in the face of criticism and show off your listening skills. In addition, follow-up questions and any follow-through actions are opportunities to showcase your prowess as a communicator and as a skilled worker to your superiors.

Ultimately, handling criticism at work is a vital business skill. Build it up over time, and you'll become a stronger professional. In fact, embracing workplace criticism and transforming it into meaningful action is one of the marks of a business leader. So square your shoulders, take a deep breath and take criticism as it comes. It just may help boost your career.

Congratulations Class of 2014!

by South University 19 August 2014

At South University, we're excited to congratulate the Class of 2014! We’re so proud of the hard work each and every one of you put into earning your associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Take a look at our graduation recap to learn about this year's graduating class.

Commencement hatsGraduate Breakdown by Campus

Over 3,400 South University students graduated at our 11 graduation ceremonies held this summer. Here are the campuses with the most graduates in 2014. Because many fully online students attend graduation in Savannah, we combined the two below.

1. Savannah/Online Programs: 2,100+
2. Columbia: 372
3. West Palm Beach: 264
4. Tampa: 253
5. Montgomery: 145

More than 740 students from 44 different states participated in the graduation ceremony in Savannah! You can watch highlights from the ceremony in Savannah here.

Largest Commencement Ever

We’re proud to announce that the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2014 was the largest ever at:

• South University, Columbia
• South University, Novi
• South University, Virginia Beach
• South University, West Palm Beach

First Commencement

Our Class of 2014 grads made history as the first students to earn their degrees at the following campuses:

• South University, High Point
• South University, Cleveland
• South University, Austin

More 2014 Graduation Firsts

We also celebrated a number of other exciting landmarks this year, including:

• First Associate of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant graduates from South University, Tampa
• First Master of Science in Nursing degrees awarded from South University, Novi and South University, Montgomery
• First Master of Science in Information Systems & Technology graduates at South University, West Palm Beach

Notable Speakers

We were honored to have a number of esteemed speakers address our students at graduation this year, including:

South University, Virginia Beach: Virginia Delegate, Former Navy SEAL, and frequent FOX News commentator/analyst Scott Taylor
South University, Montgomery: Alabama Lt. Governor Kay Ivey
South University, Savannah: Deputy U.S. Surgeon General Scott F. Giberson served as keynote speaker at the School of Pharmacy Hooding Ceremony

Most Memorable Graduation Ceremony Quote

“Graduates, I also want to congratulate you personally on your achievement. Obtaining a higher education or advanced degree is not easy. You are here today because of your hard work, dedication, and perseverance. We have been proud to call you South University students. And we will be very proud in a short while to call you South University alumni. Congratulations on a job well done!”
─ Chancellor South

See for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

The True Value of a Bachelor's Degree

by South University 14 August 2014

Wondering whether it's worth it to earn a bachelor's degree? The answer is an emphatic YES -- and the reasons may surprise you. Read on and discover 4 reasons to consider completing your bachelor's degree instead of settling for an associate's degree or high school diploma.

Graduation Cap imageYou'll up your earning potential

The age-old rumors about a bachelor's degree upping your earning potential are true. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that a person with a bachelor's degree will earn almost 1.5 times as much per week as someone with an associate's degree, and 1.7 times as much as someone who has only earned a high school diploma. Simply put, a bachelor's pays off over time.

You'll have a better chance of finding work

Sure, a bachelor's will help you earn more, but did you know it will also help you find work? The most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 1.6 more earners with associate's degrees are unemployed in the current market. When you enter the workforce with a bachelor's, you enter with a leg up.

It will open career doors

Have you ever taken a look at entry-level job listings? Most companies won't consider applicants who don't have bachelor's degrees. More and more, a bachelor's degree is perceived as an entry-level degree necessary to take your career to the next level. Make sure you're ready to enter the fray with the right degree.

You can be proud of your degree

Here's something you can't put a value on -- the feeling of true pride when you see your name on that degree. A bachelor's degree is a symbol of the hard work and effort you've put into your education. When you earn your baccalaureate degree, you're taking part in a tradition that's existed since the Middle Ages. Your degree is evidence of your commitment to learning. Earning a degree shows just how much you value education.

Whether you get a degree for its career impact, because you long to continue your education past a high school diploma or associate's degree, or just because you're passionate about learning, remember: a bachelor's degree is something worth striving for and a real educational achievement.

Request information to find out how to get started on your bachelor's degree at South University, Online Programs.

How to Choose the Right Graduate Program for You

by South University 12 August 2014

Now that you’ve decided you want to attend grad school, you’re faced with a very important decision ─ what to study? While you may be tempted to just choose the area in which you earned your undergraduate degree, that isn’t always best option. Instead, look at the big picture of your career and make a decision based on what you hope to get out of your grad school experience.

BookBelow are three common goals of graduate students. Understanding where you fit in can help you determine what program is the best choice for you!

Goal – Enhance your current career.

You’re already working in an area you enjoy, but want to gain the additional skills and knowledge needed to advance your career. Many high-level positions require a master’s degree to be considered for the job and, even if it’s not a necessity, having one can give you a competitive advantage. In this case, pursing a master’s degree in your current field may be your best option, as it will pick up precisely where your undergraduate studies left off. For example, if you’re currently employed in public service, obtaining a master’s degree in public administration is the perfect way to expand your current skillset.

Goal – Move to a related field, or work in a new way in the same field.

You want to earn a graduate degree because you strongly believe gaining knowledge in another field will complement the expertise you already have. Often times obtaining a graduate degree in an area that’s new to you is the best way to develop your skills. Combining knowledge from different programs allows you to broaden your perspective and become a more well-rounded professional. While this may be out of your comfort zone, you’ll have the opportunity to challenge yourself in new ways and emerge from the program as an extremely competitive candidate. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, earning an MBA could help you apply your knowledge of psychology to understanding how organizations and the individuals within them operate.

Goal – Enter a new career.

You want to make a change and you’re ready for an entirely different career path. Go for it! Pursuing a master’s degree can help you gain the necessary skills and experience to excel in a new field. Taking the initiative to head back to school for an advanced degree also shows employers that you’re dedicated to succeeding in your new endeavor. You’ll learn to blend the skills you’ve already acquired through years in the workforce with those necessary to start this exciting new chapter in your life. For example, if you’ve been working as a teacher, pursuing a master's degree in public health can allow you to put the skills you already have to work to bring positive changes to many people.

To learn about the graduate programs offered at South University, Online Programs, request information today!

Top 5 Reasons to Earn a Graduate Degree

by South University 28 July 2014

Deciding whether or not to attend grad school is a major choice not to be taken lightly. Before you choose a program or a school, it’s important to understand all the benefits a graduate degree can bring to your career and the impact an advanced degree can make on your life.

Graduate Degree >1.) Increase Your Opportunities for Advancement

While a bachelor’s degree may be enough to secure you an entry-level position, you’ll need a graduate degree to advance to senior-level positions in many areas. Even when it’s not specifically required, having a graduate degree can give you a competitive advantage over other candidates, as it displays advanced knowledge in your field ─ in addition to motivation, drive and a strong desire to learn.

2.) Flexible Classroom Settings Make Continued Education Possible for You

If you think the only way to attend grad school is to spend all your evenings in a classroom ─ think again. Earning your graduate degree has never been more convenient, as many schools offer flexible learning formats, letting you attend school partially or fully online. This allows you to learn on your own time, in the manner that best fits your schedule.

3.) Prepare for a Career Change

Tired of your current career path and ready to make a change? Heading back to school is a great way to gain the experience needed for your transition, whether that’s into an entirely new field or one that’s related to but slightly different from what you’re doing now. Taking the initiative to earn a graduate degree shows potential employers that you’re serious about wanting to break into the field and have put a great deal of time and energy into preparing to make your move.

4.) Enjoy Higher Earning Power

While you shouldn’t base your decision to go to grad school solely on financial returns, it’s certainly a savvy move to factor it into your decision. According to the United States Census Bureau, U.S. workers between the ages of 21 and 64 with a master’s degree earn an average salary of $55,242 per year, compared with just $42,877 for those with only a bachelor’s degree.

5.) Reach Your Potential

Not only are grad school classes interesting, as they’re specifically targeted towards your career, they also offer the chance to challenge yourself and expand your way of thinking. Investing in yourself now will allow you to have the tools you need to reach your full career potential later on.