While there are many online degree programs to choose from, it is important to find an education program that is right for you. Many universities have online classes as well as full degree programs that are available online.
This means that there is a wide array of options that you can choose from. Whether you are a person looking for an undergraduate degree, or someone ready to go back to school for your Ph.D., online education programs are an efficient alternative to going to an institution. However, there are a few things to consider before deciding which program is right for you. You want to choose a high-quality online program that will ensure your success. Choosing a program that does not meet your needs in the long run will leave you with little direction and could cause you to have to enroll in other programs online, costing you more money. Luckily, there are many online programs to choose from that can help you achieve your academic goals affordably. If you are wondering how to choose the right online education program and what to consider, refer to the sections below.
Ask the Right Questions
When selecting an online program, it is important to ask the right questions during your research. After finding an online education program that interests you, the first question you should research is how long the online college has been around and providing education services. Fortunately, many online schools offered by colleges and universities have been established as legitimate education providers, both in the classroom and online. Earning your degree from an institution with an established reputation will ensure that your degree is credible.
If you are considering an online school with a shorter institutional history, you must pay attention to their relationships and partnerships within the educational community and with institutions, employers and alumni. If a school has a good relationship with their alumni and faculty, chances are it is a good choice.
The next question involves accreditation. You should also be researching whether or not a college or university is accredited. Accreditation can be thought of as an insurance policy that keeps the value of your education safe. The point of accreditation is to ensure that the education offered by institutions of higher education meets certain standards. Make sure you are not investing money in an online program that is not accredited by an appropriate agency. The accreditation of your online school will be of importance when you apply for jobs and can get in the way of you being selected for job positions.
If you are a transfer student that now prefers online schooling opposed to traditional on-campus schooling, make sure your credits are transferable to the online program. When choosing a program, research if the online program even accepts transfer credits. Look for programs that offer a direct route to graduation. These programs typically make it easier to transfer your existing college credits.
Weighing Pros and Cons
If you have never taken online courses or enrolled in an online program, you should know that the online route is not for everybody. It can seem like a simple alternative to traditional schooling but can be complicated. Many students have found that online education programs are a lot more difficult to complete than the traditional route.
When choosing a degree program online, you have to know yourself and know what works best for you as a student. You should possess self-motivation and time management skills, as well understand that you will have a heavy workload and it will not always be easy. Online classes are more convenient and allow you to have a little more room for other responsibilities, but that does mean you will work less than you would if you actually went to a physical institution. For instance, managing assignments is a lot easier when you are in a classroom two or three days out of the week at the same scheduled time. In classes, your professor will remind you constantly of due dates for assignments. You are not granted this luxury with online courses. It is up to you to manage all of your assignments and that can be difficult.
Other disadvantages include:
- The chance that subjects will not make as much sense to you when you learn on your own.
- There is not much of an opportunity to network.
The benefits include:
- Opportunity and convenience.
- Potentially lower costs.
- Faster completion.
While online courses are condemned by some and praised by others, it is important not to rely on others’ opinions of online programs and instead find a program that you feel comfortable in. Doing your own research will allow you to see what works for you and what does not. This will help you determine if you are better suited for a campus or online degree.
Factor in Costs
When searching for the perfect online program, you will find that there is a wide variation in costs for degree programs. There are so many high quality, flexible and reputable programs that can help you afford your degree. You should also take into account that student loans do not make degree programs more affordable. You still have to pay those loans back. To help you avoid high student loans, you should focus on lowering your tuition costs.
For instance, if you were going to a 4-year private college, one year of tuition and fees could be over $30,000, whereas online programs offer competency-based degrees that will cost between $2,500 and $6,000 per year. The courses become even cheaper if you take advantage of scholarships and tuition discounts available through online course providers. Discounts, scholarships and other financial aid options can help you save a large percentage of the total costs of your degree through an accredited online program. Online education courses and degree programs allow you the opportunity to graduate with a degree you want, from the school of your choice, all while paying less than you would if you attended an institution on-campus. In your research, make sure that you are asking the right questions, weighing your pros and cons and factoring in the costs of all of the online programs.