The Five Questions to Ask Before Pursuing an Online Degree

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The Five Questions to Ask Before Pursuing an Online Degree

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College accreditation certifies a distance learning program provides the same quality education as a traditional campus degree, making the fear of getting a college degree online a moot point in the recent decade. The other challenges of attending college online, however, are still very real. Before pursuing your higher education through a distance learning program, ask yourself the following five questions.

1. What goals do you have that require you to enroll in an online school?

The intentions behind why you are going to school online will help determine if you have the dedication to succeed. Are you going simply to expand your personal knowledge, or do you have a concrete goal to reach a management level position and/or obtain a raise that is only possible through obtaining a degree? If you are trying to enrich yourself, step back and ask if a college degree is the best decision, or if self-education through your local library or book store would have the same result. If you are going back to school to further your career, a distance learning program is an excellent choice.

2. Are you financially ready for your online education?

College is expensive. In order to afford your tuition, you will have to look at your finances not just for the semester, but for the long-term. Will you be able to afford every semester up until your degree? Fortunately, over fifty percent of large corporations offer financial reimbursement for a degree relating to a person’s career. Consult your employer to see what financial aid they offer for your education. Affording college might be much easier than you think.

The Five Questions to Ask Before Pursuing an Online Degree

3. Do you have the support of your employer and family?

Beyond the financial support an employer provides, you also must make yourself aware if your employer will support your life change as you take on being a college student. Will your employer be alright with you working on your online discussions during your lunch? Your family’s support is also a tremendous help. Parents with children should talk with them about the changes that will happen due to the change in your schedule as you earn your degree.

4. Do you have the time available?

A three unit course, on average, takes 10-12 hours a week. In a campus environment, three units translates into three hours of classroom time, and nine hours of reading and homework time. In a distance learning program that provides the quality education you need to meet your goals, this should amount to about the same portion of time per week—except you have the luxury to determine the when and where of every hour.

5. Do you know how to take hold of your future?

Online education takes fierce dedication. You will have to plan out your online degree’s schedule and set time aside for forum discussions, homework assignments, and readings. Be prepared for your television time or your other recreations to be changed into time to study for school.

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