Linfield Named One of Nation’s Top 200 Schools by Forbes

In a recent release by Forbes, Linfield College was named one of the nation’s “Top Colleges.” With a small student-to-faculty ratio, 12:1, Linfield College is able to combine a caring, dedicated atmosphere with quality teaching for high student satisfaction.

In addition to focused classroom attention, whether on campus or online with Linfield’s Adult Degree Program, this small Oregon college is one of the country’s top producers of Fulbright scholars. Linfield College is also one of only 16 schools in the nation to be associated with the prestigious Kemper Scholarship Program. With such academic success, it should be no surprise that Linfield’s graduates have a high four-year graduation rate, enjoy success after graduation, and have a smaller debt load.

Linfield, which attracts students from 29 states and 24 countries, is well known for its outstanding liberal arts and sciences curriculum, as well as its professional programs. In addition to receiving the recognition by Forbes, Linfield College has been named one of the top five liberal arts schools in Oregon and Washington by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

Linfield College offers 47 majors and enrolls more than 2,600 students through three programs: a residential liberal arts and sciences program on the McMinnville campus, nursing and health science programs in Portland, and the Adult Degree Program, which supports students at eight Oregon sites and serves a virtual learning community of adult students plugged in around the globe. Linfield College, which was established in 1858, helped pioneer higher education in the Pacific Northwest.

To learn more about Linfield College, and our Adult Degree Program, where you can start working toward your online degree today, contact us to request information.

Becoming an Accountant through Online Classes

One Student’s Journey

We recently posted a blog article about how to complete CPA requirements through online classes.  Here we will go deeper into this topic with an interview of Brian Roberts, a recent graduate of Linfield DCE’s Post-Baccalaureate Accounting Certificate, about his experience taking online accounting classes to pursue a career as an accountant.

Q: What are your reasons for choosing a career as an accountant?

A: I chose a career in accounting because of the opportunities, flexibility and compensation.

Q: What steps have you taken to find out about career opportunities in the field of accounting that you would recommend to others?Accountant Brian Roberts

A: I met with recruiters, joined the Oregon Society of Certified Public Accountants, attended luncheons and talked with people in the industry.  Talking with recruiters was particularly helpful.  They told me what to expect as an accountant and put me in contact with other accountants.  I found that people were eager to help and talk about their careers.

Q: You earned a bachelor’s degree in another field some years ago, and as a working adult you returned to college to achieve a post baccalaureate accounting certificate. Would you recommend this approach to other adults?

A: I would recommend this approach for adults who are trying to  open new doors for their career.  In my situation there were very few opportunities for growth at my work and obtaining a post baccalaureate accounting certificate was one way for me to set my career on a new path.

Q: You have completed your accounting certificate through online courses, and while working full-time. What advice do you have for how to succeed in online accounting courses? What skills made the difference in your achievement in class?

A: Working full-time and taking courses is difficult.  To succeed you must be motivated and disciplined.  I developed a study schedule which meant reading and doing homework on certain nights of the week.

Q: In the online classroom, were you able to establish communication and rapport with the instructor and with other students?

A: Online classrooms encourage students to share personal experiences that help bring the information out of the textbook and into the real world.  I believe that sharing these experiences with the rest of the class helps build communication and rapport with others in the class.

Q:  How did the instructors in your online courses provide materials and assistance that aided you in mastering the knowledge of the courses?

A: The instructors posted links to their favorite websites, they guided the discussion by posing questions and elaborated on topics from the book.

Q: What is the funniest thing that happened in class? The best moments?

A: The best moments from my classes were the times when I could relate the material from the book to something I was experiencing in my job.  I enjoyed sharing these experiences with others and enjoyed it when they could share personal stories that related to our material.

Q: What have you learned from your experience that accounting firms are looking for when they hire staff accountants, as far as education and experience goes?

A: Accounting firms are looking for students who are self-motivated, life-long learners, with communication skills and can manage their time wisely.  These characteristics relate directly to those of us who have returned to school to pursue additional certification.   Also, for better or worse, firms rely heavily on your grades and expect a GPA of at least 3.0.

Q: What steps did you take when looking for employment in the accounting field?

A: Refined my resume, met with career counselors, met with recruiters of accounting firms to determine what they were looking for, asked them about their recruiting events and attended as many as I could.

Q: When would you recommend beginning to make contact with accounting firms?

A: It is important to connect with accounting firms as soon as possible because they typically recruit students one year ahead of time.  Many firms do their recruiting in the fall so if you are midway through the Post Baccalaureate Accounting Certificate you should be applying for positions in the fall before you graduate in spring or summer.  If you are taking 300 and 400 level courses in a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, it’s time to make contact with accounting firms. Some accounting firms have internships, and depending on your present employment situation, you  may want to look into internship possibilities as well.

Q: What professional organizations would you recommend joining for an adult student with plans to become an accountant?

A: I recommend joining the society of CPAs in your state.  In addition many firms have social profiles which you can join to learn more about the company and the industry.  Try searching for a firm you are interested in on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Q: How well do you think that your Linfield accounting courses have prepared you with the knowledge that you will need to pass the CPA Exam and to enter the profession?

A: I believe that my courses have provided me with a strong foundation from which to build upon when I begin to study for the CPA exams and enter the industry.

Q: Now that you’ve achieved the Post Baccalaureate Accounting Certificate, how do you plan to prepare for the CPA Exam?

A: One thing that I have heard from a number of newly Certified Public Accountants is that a review course is very helpful.  I plan to take this advice and enroll in a CPA review course prior to taking any of the CPA exams.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to share from your experience?

A: People are eager to help but it is up to you to make the connection.  Recruiters, counselors, advisors, accountants are all available to help you get to where you want to be but it’s up to you to communicate with them and make the most of what they have to offer.

About Brian:

Brian Roberts is a 27-year old father, husband and full-time employee living and working in Portland, OR.  In 2005 he obtained his Bachelors degree in Economics from Portland State University and began working at Linfield College – Portland Campus.  In the fall of 2008 he returned to school through Linfield’s Division of Continuing Education to pursue a post-baccalaureate certificate in accounting.  Brian is looking forward to September 2010 when he will begin a new career at a local public accounting firm.

Value of an Online Degree

Is an Online Degree Legitimate?

Despite the growth of online education in recent years, many people continue to believe that online education lacks the rigor of traditional classroom instruction.  This attitude is quickly changing however.  As students begin researching the different educational opportunities available, they may wonder: is an online degree legitimate?

To answer the question directly: yes, a degree that you earn online is legitimate. In every way that matters, a degree that you attain by taking classes online is legitimate if that degree has been awarded by an accredited institution. Are there caveats? Yes, based on accreditation issues and variations in quality. Are there some who question the legitimacy of online degrees? Yes, but the number of dissenting voices are few and continue to drop every year.

One of the central components of the online degree legitimacy question is this: the worth of the degree you earn online measured against a similar degree you can earn in a face-to-face environment. If you can determine that an online degree measures well against a similar degree earned through traditional campus instruction, you’ve answered the legitimacy question.

How to Evaluate the Value of an Online Degree

1. Accreditation: One distinction about accreditation should be understood at the outset. For degree seekers of an online education, college accreditation is critically important.

The reason is that accreditation confers value and worth. Accreditation equals legitimacy. Any college must have accreditation from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to be eligible to participate in the administration of federal student aid programs. Accredited institutions do not accept credits earned at unaccredited colleges. Virtually all graduate schools require graduation from a regionally accredited school. In the eyes of potential employers in government, science, law, academia, business, and every other field imaginable, the accredited degree that you worked so hard to earn is accepted, recognized, and respected.

With regard to accreditation, there are two key questions that you need to ask as you evaluate a school, college, or university:

Is the school of my choice accredited by one of the six regional accrediting bodies?

Is the program I am interested in recognized by its relevant professional association?

For example, if you are investigating a degree in nursing, check to make sure that the state board of nursing where the college has its home campus, has recognized this college as one of their approved nursing programs.

2. School Reputation: Consider the school’s reputation as a whole. What has been written about this college that appears in the news or is available on the web? In what year was the college established?  For how many years has the college been fully accredited?

Perhaps the school you are researching has both online and face-to-face programs. How does the face-to-face program measure up? Nowadays there are a variety of ranking systems of schools, like the U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review that may be consulted.

3. What is the value of this degree to me? For someone raising a family and/or working full-time, on online education may be the most valuable option because of its flexibility. Most online classes will require you to post assignments by a ceradult online college student with her childtain time each week, but you can do most of the work on your own schedule.  Indeed, the value of an online degree might multiply for a working adult whose job requires frequent travel or contains variable shifts. The same is true for individuals in rural areas, where educational opportunities might not be as plentiful compared to more urban environments.

4. Academic Value: Consider the following questions about the program you are considering.

•    Is the degree that I am earning online the same degree that this college awards to students who take classes on the campus, for schools that also have face-to-face campus instruction? In other words, will my diploma be the same diploma as the one students receive when they take their classes on campus?
•    Do the professors have graduate level training and experience that I will benefit from at this college?
•    Are course syllabi available on the website for prospective students to examine?
•    Will I receive guidance from an academic advisor in mapping out my course of study?
•    Do I know of other students who have graduated from this college by taking their courses online, and achieved the next step in their careers, like I want to achieve? For example, have alumni of this school passed the CPA exam, been admitted to graduate schools, or gained advancement in their places of employment?

5. Services Provided to Online Students: Find out what kind of resources are available to you as an online student.  Some examples of services to investigate are:

•    Online library services with an online librarian
•    Online registration for courses
•    Online academic advising
•    Online tutoring services
•    Online financial aid information and assistance available
•    Online bookstore
•    Online career services

Ultimately, you have to decide if online learning is for you. Weighing out these five essentials will help clarify the value of the degree program you are considering.