Online Degrees – Do’s and Don’ts

October 21, 2011 by  
Filed under About Online Degrees

Online Degrees – Do’s and Don’ts

If the 2010 annual report published by Sloan Consortium on the state of online education in the country is to be believed, the rate of online enrollments continues to surpass the total number of students pursuing higher education.

Online education is a reality, and those who are still prejudiced against it need to keep pace with the times. However, equally real is the danger of falling into the trap of less than credible educational institutions operating under the garb of online colleges and universities.

So if you are considering online degrees to realize your dream of acquiring higher education, there are certain do’s and don’ts you can follow to make sure that your overall experience turns out to be a positive one.

Do’s of Online Degrees

Even before you start marking down colleges that offer online degree programs, make sure the discipline of your choice can be taught via this medium. While it’s true that degrees in almost all disciplines are now being offered online, but you should know that some are better suited for this mode of study than others. There are certain fields like engineering that are best learned in a classroom and should not be attempted online.

Once you have figured out that your field of interest can be taught effectively via this medium, you should start short listing colleges and universities that offer this discipline online. While listing down colleges, the most important factor to consider is accreditation.

Another crucial consideration when choosing an online college is financial aid. It’s common knowledge that skyrocketing tuition has put college education beyond the financial means of a lot of people.

However, help is available in the form of federal and state sponsored financial aid. Make sure the college you are planning to attend participates in these financial aid programs to help you fund your education if you qualify.

Now that you have decided to pursue an online degree program, make friends with technology because you’re going to be using a lot of it during the course of your education. Whether it’s real time online discussions or interaction over email, you will be using technology pretty much all the time to complete your coursework. A word of advice here – get a fast speed Internet connection before you begin classes.

Don’ts of Online Degrees

Whatever you do, don’t ever make the mistake of thinking online degrees are a cakewalk. You’ll be surprised to know that they follow more or less the same curriculum as traditional degrees and sometimes are a lot more intensive. Be prepared to work hard and stay committed all through your education.

Another thing you should never do is jump headlong into online degree programs without assessing your own suitability for it. Like everything else, online education is not for anyone. It requires certain characteristics to succeed and primary amongst these are self-discipline, focus, and perseverance.

If you don’t have the discipline to fight the temptation to procrastinate, the focus to set and follow a study schedule diligently, and the perseverance to juggle education with your other commitments without collapsing out of sheer exhaustion, it’s best to steer clear of online programs.

Last, but not the least, do not get yourself into a situation where your education seems to be stretching into years you can ill afford to spend on it. Make sure the program duration ties in with your personal and professional goals. Many online degrees are available on flexible schedules that provide you the option of graduating in a shorter than normal completion time, and it may make sense for you to explore such programs.

Scott
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