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Benefits of Career Colleges

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Q&A with Dean Gouin, Chief Executive Officer of Westwood College

The following conversation focuses on the benefits and advantages of career-focused colleges:

What advice do you have for Westwood students to help them get the most out of their education?

How important is education and getting a degree?

So a college degree is a "must-have" in today's job world?

Is that why Westwood's curriculum is designed the way it is? 

Is this "real world" approach one of the advantages of career-focused colleges?

Dean Gouin - Benefits of Career CollegesWhat advice do you have for Westwood students to help them get the most out of their education?

Dean: It's all about hard work and personal responsibility. Like so many things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Students who take their responsibilities seriously and work hard to achieve the goals they have set for themselves are the ones who are going to be most successful. That's true here at Westwood College, and it's true out in the world at large.

I've read and heard many of the most successful people in the world talk about this, and the same thing comes up over and over again in their advice to young people. These are people who have succeeded in the world of business, sports, entertainment, charitable work, public service—and their advice inevitably comes down to emphasizing the importance of personal responsibility and work ethic.

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How important is education and getting a degree?

Dean: It's essential in today's economy. Long gone are the days when people without a college degree could expect to enter the workforce and become a part of the middle class. If you look at economic trends in the United States over the past 30-40 years, that is one of the most significant changes that has happened. People with no more than a high school degree are at a disadvantage as the economy evolves, and they are increasingly being left behind especially given factors such as the recession, globalization and more.

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So a college degree is a "must-have" in today's job world?

Dean: Yes.The single biggest thing you can do to take control of where your life is headed is to get a college degree.

Obtaining a degree from Westwood prepares you for what you will be asked to do in many career fields. It prepares you for the "real world" of bosses and deadlines and challenging projects and collaboration with coworkers and managing tasks and paying attention to details and everything else you will need to do in your job.

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Is that why Westwood's curriculum is designed the way it is?

Dean: Absolutely. We work every day to create a learning atmosphere that replicates what students will need to do in the careers they are pursuing.

We do that by hiring faculty who have real-world experience and can pass along those practical skills, preparing students to do what they will be asked to do by their boss. We also do that by using a hands-on, experiential teaching approach—as opposed to the lecture-based approach. Companies don't train their employees with lectures. They use the same kind of model Westwood uses.

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Is this real world approach one of the advantages of career-focused colleges?

Dean: Yes, it is an advantage. Everything we do is focused on preparing students for the career path they have chosen, and we structure the programs to give them what they need to be successful on the job.

To help make the experience as close to the real world as possible, we work closely with a number of employers for their input about our curriculum and degree programs. We ask them about the skills they are looking for in employees, and we use that to get students prepared for what their boss will ask of them. That approach is what makes career-focused colleges like Westwood so relevant for today's economy.

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