How to Prepare For Online Education
Sometimes, you can’t pursue higher education in the traditional manner. Thankfully, online education has matured to the point where it is a viable alternative. There are tried and tested methods and rules you must follow, just as in traditional on-campus education. These rules and methods prevent wasted time and help prevent bad decision making on your part.
What Field Of Study?
As in most important decisions, your choice of what field to study should be well thought out. Early on, you need to figure out what subjects of interest can build the foundation for your future degree. It is important to remember that learning should be enjoyable. If you pick a field of study you aren’t really interested in, you may be excited at first, but you’ll likely lose that excitement over time. According to many studies, we learn more (and retain what we’ve learned for a longer period of time) if we’re interested in the subject of study.
Do Your Homework Ahead Of Time
Once you have decided in what field you would like to study, you should start looking for where to get an education, or a degree, in that field of study. The internet can help out a lot here. Look online for what’s available. Take detailed notes on each option and put them in a spreadsheet.
Compare and Contrast Your Options
This review should be thorough. You don’t want to rush through this. But you don’t want to take too long, either. Make your list of pros and cons for each school, and pick the best fit for you, your lifestyle, and your goals. Things to consider include cost, graduation requirements, time required for each class, how many classes are required, when they are scheduled, and reputation of the instructors or faculty. If possible, you should set up a phone call with a director of the department you want to study in, and discuss your potential plans with him/her. You can often learn valuable information about a school in this manner. You may even learn the piece of information that tips the scales toward one school over another.
An Accredited School Is Important
Accreditation is very important for an online school, just as it is for a traditional school. Accreditation is a type of a quality control check on the school. If a school is accredited, that means it has met the requirements set up by an independent agency that evaluates schools.
Accreditation will also carry a lot of weight if you apply for grants or loans, especially if you’re applying for a grant or loan from a government agency. The agency considering making you a loan won’t want to give it to you if you are applying to a diploma factory that is barely a real school. You can also transfer any credits you earn to another school far more easily if the school is accredited. If it isn’t accredited, this becomes much more difficult. It is also important to most employers. When you apply for a job, they’ll look at your academic resume and if your school is accredited, it will be more impressive.
How Much Will This School Cost?
When making your pros and cons list, make sure you figure out if each potential school is Title IV funded. This means that the federal government may be willing to make you a loan to go to school. Some people must rely on this if they don’t have funding available from their parents, from savings, or from their employer.
It is time now to complete the online form of your chosen school and send it in. However, your should write down all your questions before the school returns your call.
When they contact you, be sure all your questions are answered. You may request to put it in writing even in an email form. This is the time when you should seek and obtain further clarifications, if needed.
This is also the time to re-evaluate your choices. Some schools might hound you to make your decision. They are also in the business of making money and want to get you to commit first.
Make your commitment only when you are completely comfortable. Online education is a very important decision and should not be made lightly.