Earning a degree on-line is the most convenient way for adults to balance their demands of daily life and further their education. Using an on-line college it is much easier to juggle the stresses of employment, families, and school work. Despite how easy it is to earn an on-line degree, there are still a few important tips to remember.
Make sure the college you are thinking about applying for or attending is an accredited university. Most accredited schools will list this somewhere on their website and you can easily verify this information. This is one of the most important things to insure you do. There are a lot of non accredited schools that are usually cheaper than the university’s and try to convince you that their degree is what you are seeking. Keep in mind that most workplaces and other university’s will not recognize this degree should you decide later to advance your education further.
Make sure that school you are applying for offers the degree you are seeking. While most accredited university’s offer a wide array of degree choices, there are still specialized fields where one may find they do not offer this choice. If the field you are earning a degree in is something like Computer Science but you are also hoping to get some certifications and program courses finished, you may not be able to do those at each University. Look closely at the college of your choice and assure yourself they offer what you are seeking in your education. Another thing to make sure you look at with the college is that the degree you are seeking can be earned completely on-line. Some university’s may offer Internet courses yet, still require a certain amount of hours in a classroom. Or perhaps that one class that has to be met for graduation is not offered on-line. Do not get overly discouraged if there are just a few classes that are not available with this method. Oftentimes you can take those through another university that does offer on-line schooling and transfer those credits to the university you have chosen. But research the offerings of your choice school and make appropriate plans for cases where a few credits may need to be transferred in.
Get your financial aid and finances in order before you enroll. Financial aid paperwork can take forever in the system, however, it is important to at least have all of your information ready and the paperwork turned in before enrollment. This will speed up the process for you a lot more than waiting until a deadline for the aid and possibly risking getting kicked out of the class enrollment before it arrives. When you are looking at the financial issues, figure in the cost of the books. Most of the time you will still need college textbooks to successfully complete an on-line course. These can be quite costly. Another reason to not wait for a financial aid deadline is to insure you have the materials you need to succeed on the day class starts.
One last tip before school starts is to remember not to be afraid to contact the school and find out the status of your admission, financial need, any other special needs you may have. It happens, the application sits in an in box and doesn’t get inputted until the last minute. The financial aid papers magically disappear and need to be resubmitted. These are common errors especially in university’s with high enrollment. Help make sure you do not become one of these cases by politely but firmly asking questions and staying informed.
Do enrollment as early as possible. This insures the class doesn’t fill up and you wind up left out. It becomes even more vital the deeper you get with your education. You don’t want to stay in school an entire semester for one course that was full because of a late enrollment on your part. If you are eligible for pre-registration I highly recommend going that route. The sooner you get your classes the sooner you can plan your materials and not risk being left out and having to choose something else that may not be your first choice.
You have your classes, you have your books, your financial aid paperwork is taken care of or processing. Now it is time to start planning how you are going to accomplish and fit school into your busy schedule. Look at the calendar now or your day planner now. Decide what hours you are willing to set aside without distractions and focus on the course work. Make sure you choose a time when your children are in bed or busy with an after school type of activity. The more distractions you have around you as you are studying the less likely you will be able to focus and give the classes your best efforts.
Make sure you post all of your assignments on time. Deadlines are very important in the grading scale of an on-line university. Let’s call it their attendance checkpoint. In a regular University you showing up to class and being there for a roll call insures your presence. On-line university’s use the deadlines to make sure you are there and participating and focusing on the course. Making sure you participate in the forums with other students and the teacher are also often required. Don’t shirk the required things thinking you can make up for it with a stellar paper or test. Every aspect of your participation and deadlines are important in the success of your degree.
When taking tests, if you ignored my tip on classwork, make sure that you are not being distracted. Unplug the phone if you have to. But focus completely on the test material, give it your best effort, and have it turned in on time.
If you find yourself struggling there is nothing wrong with making use of the school’s tutor and mentor programs. If you find yourself in a hard place with the course, make use of these tools. It isn’t weakness to ask for help, it is weakness not to try.
You made it through your first semester of college. Congratulations! Pat yourself on the back. Then pull out the enrollment brochures and research what classes you are going to need for the following semester. Take a moment to prepare whatever paperwork is necessary with admissions or financial aid offices. If you are confused on what courses you should sign up for, make an appointment with your adviser. Their job is to help you get that degree you are working so diligently to acquire. Did you change your mind about your major? Again talk with your adviser or admissions office and set in place the procedure to change that and get going on the right track again. Also make sure you use the break between semesters to relax, rest, and have fun. After all the work you have done for the past few months you deserve it!