Getting your degree online is a perfect solution for those without a college diploma and looking at options to enhance their skill-set. Online courses are available through many learning institutions and allow you to complete anything from associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees, all the way to doctorate degrees. The Distance Education and Training Council estimates that there are 4 million students engaging in distance learning at U.S. universities. This is why most every learning institution is now offering some form of online learning, or a combination of online and traditional classes, to students across the globe.
There are many advantages to getting your degree online, chief among them being the convenience and flexibility of studying from your own home at your own time in order to make room for your current work and personal activities. Plus, you have lectures and student discussion groups available online at anytime, and accessible from anywhere you have an Internet connection.
If you’re looking to complete a degree online, here are some tips you should keep in mind that will help give you the best experience possible:
In order to maximize your chances of being hired after completing your online degree, make sure the learning institution you apply for is accredited by the same organizations that provide accreditation to other state and private colleges (such as the Counsel for Higher Education Accreditation, or CHEA). This assures you of a quality education and a level of excellence you can count on for your online degree. Check the website for the college of your choice to see what type of accreditation they have.
Realize that there are such things as diploma mills — less-than-reputable organizations which may allow you to purchase a diploma on the spot, without even paying for or attending individual courses. Other red flags to watch out for: no request for your high school records, an overseas location, a significant number of negative reviews on the web.
If you’re currently working and looking at the possibility of completing your college degree or maybe even working for an advanced degree, then find out if your employer provides tuition reimbursements to its workers. Often, employees can get full or partial reimbursement for online classes that are completed. This is because more and more companies are seeing the advantages of the personal and professional advancement that an online degree gives their employees. Plus, many corporate leaders see that accredited online programs are often just as demanding as traditional degree programs.
Prospective students who are qualified and who aren’t employed, or whose companies don’t offer tuition reimbursements, can also apply for financial aid for online degree programs.
Flexibility and constant accessibility makes distance learning a great solution for full-time employees or working parents looking to complete their degrees. You can take in your lectures before or after work, or participate in online discussions before or after bringing the children to school. All you need is access to the Internet. Everything can be structured around your other priorities and your personal schedule.
Sure the schedule is flexible, but remember that you still have deadlines and projects that need to be worked on at any given point–otherwise the freedom may actually do you a disservice. It might help to schedule fixed times during your day in which to do your coursework or participate in the class discussions — this way, you’re not constantly putting it off until you forget it.