Getting an online degree is a serious commitment, in both time and money, so it’s not something to be considered lightly. Following are some factors to weigh when evaluating online degree programs and the schools that offer them.
Are You Interested in College?
The concept of pursuing a gap year after high school is becoming more and more popular. Post high school graduation, millions of students desire to work, travel, or explore their interests before college. For some, the thought of leaving home to attend college can also be daunting.
For students in this situation, an online degree program is a great option. Online students are provided the opportunity to earn a degree without a dramatic shift in their everyday lives, and determine for themselves whether the ‘full experience’ is worth it.
What is the Digital Learning Environment Like?
Because online students are missing out on core college facilities like libraries, laboratories, and tutors, and other resources, it is critical an online learning program ensures high quality support and study materials. An emphasis on interactivity, such as videos and quizzes, can enhance the learning process.
Virtual platforms that enable you to communicate with professors and fellow students is also a plus.
Is it Accredited?
Only accredited and nationally recognized online learning programs lead to an academic certified degree. Some employers may be skeptical of a degree achieved from an online school, so it is very important to inform yourself of the legitimacy and recognition of your online school.
How Extensive is the Selection of Majors?
One of the most important decisions you’ll make either before or after you start college is what major you’ll pursue. Most colleges require that you select a major by your sophomore year in college, but an online school may operate under different rules. Regardless, you should only consider online programs that offer courses in your interested fields.
How Long Should it take to Complete the Online Degree?
Prospective students should inquire about a roadmap to graduation from their online school to guarantee they will earn their degree as planned. Knowing when you will graduate will also determine how many online courses you can take and how the academic year will be divided.
If there is flexibility, consider how many classes you can take against how many you believe you can handle. For students with a job, family, or other preoccupations, determines how much time you are willing to devote to online classes. If the academic year is divided quarterly instead of semesterly, you may also find break periods where you can work.