Today, traditional students and adults have more choices than ever when enrolling in college or career school. The Internet has created a revolution in higher education, and most major colleges and universities-even Ivy League schools-are offering courses and degree programs online. This means that a working mom in Alaska can earn her degree from a college in New York, or a dad in Florida can earn his MBA from a university in California-all without ever leaving home!
But how can you choose an online college? If you are considering a traditional bricks-and-mortar college you can drive to the college campus and see the college buildings and meet with the admissions staff. You might even get to see some classes or meet some instructors. It’s possible, when you visit a college campus, to imagine yourself walking along under the big oak trees or spending time in the student union or in the library. You have a sense of being part of a class with other students.
The downside to a traditional campus experience is that it can be expensive. If you are a working adult you probably cannot afford to quit your job or pay the expense of commuting to a distant college campus. Plus, you are compelled to attend class according to the class schedule. If Tuesday night at 7:00 pm is impossible for you, then tough luck: you’ll have to take some other class or skip the whole idea of going back to college.
Online programs offer tremendous benefits for working adults.
– You have a wide range of choices of programs and degrees. Looking for a master’s degree program in pastoral counseling? Chances are your local college doesn’t offer it, but it’s available online from a prestigious university.
– Online programs offer flexible schedules. Generally, you need to meet certain milestones as your program progresses. It doesn’t matter what time of day you do your work. Does your work shift end at 9:00 pm? No problem! You can complete your assignments on weekends or in the morning or whenever is good for you.
– You save money. No costs for commuting or eating the lousy college cafeteria food. You probably already own a computer and have Internet service (which is how you are able to read this article!). Except for your books or other course material, that’s all you need.
– College instructors spend time online with students. Chances are good that you will have as much personal interaction with your online instructor as you would in one of those big lecture halls on campus.
– Financial aid and other college services are generally available to qualified online students. You may qualify for the same grants, loans, or scholarships that traditional students receive.
Choosing an Online College
The biggest fear people have about online degrees is that they come from “degree factories” and will not be respected by employers. Yes, there are plenty of unscrupulous quickie degree mills where you can buy a degree. This is why you need to find a challenging program at an accredited college, career school, or university.
The best way to see your choices? Click onto a reputable college directory service like the one below. The directory features only accredited and quality career schools, colleges, and universities. Most of the colleges on the site have traditional bricks-and-mortar campuses. None are located on obscure Caribbean islands.
Here’s how to get started. It’s easy to get free information. Simply enter your search terms (such as “online MBA” or “online radiology degree”) and you’ll see a selection of schools that meet your criteria. Choose a few and contact the schools. They will send you free information about their online programs, financial aid, career services, and much more. There is no obligation. Once you have made your comparisons and narrowed down your choices, you’re ready to contact the admissions department. In less time than you think, you could be earning your college degree!