I’m an online student and I have made a list to use for those deciding to pursue an Online Education. I have attended college on campus as well as online and I have put together some tips for anyone considering attending school online. If you’re trying to juggle work, home and family and you want to advance your career, consider online education.
The most important thing is to decide what you want to do. Use your resources, whether you are a high school student about to graduate, an adult planning for higher education or someone seeking to go back to college seek advise from trusted individuals such as guidance counselors, career advisors or anyone that could help give you sound advice. Thoroughly read over the information you receive from the university or college you’re interested in attending. I would suggest if you plan to attend school on campus to go through the campus tours, pick up pamphlets that would help get you familiar with the campus and class locations, before the first day of school. This will make your first day of transitioning from class to class more smoother especially if you have classes back to back. Get to know one of your classmates that may be in most if not all of your classes, you will find it easier and quicker to get use to the routine of campus life by having someone else to share in the experience.
If you have determined that the traditional way of pursuing your studies will not work and you have decided online is the way to go, then one of the first things you want to do is to request information from a few online universities before deciding on a college. Online school selections can be overwhelming so I would suggest writing some school names down along with the programs offered. Another important step is to make sure the school you choose is an accredited college certified by the National Education Association, most schools have this information listed on their website. Accreditation is a process of validation in which colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning standards are set and evaluated by a peer review board. When schools are accredited, this gives you the chance to transfer credits from other colleges and universities. Make sure the college has the correct program you are seeking to obtain your degree in for example, if you are looking to specialize or major in one field such as Management of Human Resources, make sure the degree program covers a set of courses specific to Human Resources and not Business Administration which is more broad and covers multiple subjects. Either degree program would work, but by being specific this will save you money and time.
Make sure the college offers optional Finance programs that work for your situation. Whether you plan to use Financial Aid, or another form of payment, do not assume everything is taken care of, you want to make sure you are involved in how your education is financed. With the economy down and unemployment reaching record high numbers, everyone has to cut back on expenses and unfortunately education is one of those areas. Make sure you read over the agreements and information sent to you before class starts in order to be prepared and ready the first day of class. Get familiar with the school website and use the services offered that can be used to better serve you in understanding what is required of you as a student at the college as well as help you to utilize the opportunities given. I have found that getting familiar with the library tends to help students feel more comfortable seeking information on assignments. Make sure you understand how to use their online class site (Blackboard), which is a common name for many class websites for students. If you choose a school that has team member assignments, make sure you are prepared to work in a group setting on assignments. So, if you are a person who prefers to work alone, you will either have to come out of your shell or choose a school that allows you to do individual work assignments.
Over the past couple of years, online education has continued to grow and the ability to be able to obtain a degree through online education shows that there is no slowing down. According to Statistics, over 4.6 million students had taking at least one online course during the fall 2008 term and online enrollment is continuing to grow. It is estimated that more than one in four higher education students now take at least one online course. Online education has allowed anyone wanting to finish a degree program to finally accomplish that goal and still manage their daily lives.
http://www.50states.com/college-resources/accreditation.htm. March 20, 2010
Allen, Elaine & Seaman, Jeff (2009) Learning on Demand Online Education in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/pdf/learningondemand.pdf