SolveYourProblem Article Series: Online Degrees
Is An Online Degree Program For Me?


     Getting an Online Degree: Top FAQ's

Obtaining an online degree may be easier than you think. Here is some information to help you get started.

Make sure that the school you are considering is accredited. If a school is not accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized body, then you are just wasting your time and money on a meaningless piece of paper.

It is also helpful to see how many degrees and courses a school offers, as a general rule, the more that is offered the more experienced a school is. Also look into how many teachers work with the online courses and how long they have been working there. Teachers with more experience will have worked out any problems with the curriculum.

Consider yourself before applying. Are you self-motivated and disciplined enough to follow through with online education? You will be the one responsible for ensuring that you get all of the information and complete all of the assignments. You should also not expect online courses to be any easier than if you were actually attending lectures in a classroom. You must also have access to, and enjoy using, a computer.

Look into class sizes. If the student to professor ratio is too high, it may be difficult to get personalized attention or may slow log in for group projects. If the classes are only sparsely attended it may be difficult to find other students with whom to discuss projects.

Tuition varies between schools and degree programs, but it is often comparable to those of standard classes. Ask about all tuition costs, as well as any additional fees or items you will need to purchase in order to complete the class. You might also look into the possibility of a refund if you decide not to finish your degree.

Financial aid, scholarships, and loans are often available for students who qualify. If you have not planned how you are going to pay for your coursework, now is the time to do so. Look into what assistance is available and what you have to do to qualify.

You will more than likely need to meet certain technical requirements in order to take classes. This will include a compatible operating system, fast enough computer, enough memory, good Internet connection, access to email, a word processing program, and the ability to receive sounds and view videos. Your chosen school will be able to inform you of the exact technical requirements needed.

Language and geography are also important to consider. Most skills require the ability to speak, write, and understand English. Others are only available to students within the U.S.

You will have to submit an application, same as if you were applying for a traditional college. This may involve an application fee, essay, resume, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts.

If you have attended college before, find out if your credits are transferable. This will prevent you from having to retake courses that you had previously finished.

You will also need to take some standardized tests, and most of these are only available at a school location. These might include: the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) which allows you to earn credits for courses with passing scores, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) which is generally required for students entering college, the American College Testing Assessment (ACT) which is also generally required, and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) if you are planning to enter a non-business field or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) if you are entering business. Check with your desired school for which tests are required to apply. Additional tests may be required for specific fields.

Plan ahead. Once you have gotten accepted, plan out everything that you need to do to finish your coursework in the allotted amount of time. Schedule in study hours into your day. Decide where you are going to work and when. If you are going to be using the library, look into the times of day that it is open and find out when the best time to get work done will be.

Now you are well on your way to earning the degree of your dreams and reaching your goals!

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