If you’re a parent, working professional or just about anyone else desiring a flexible mode of education, you’ve probably considered studying at one of the many accredited online colleges. The online diploma and degree environment is taking an increasing chunk of the education pie each year – one study cites that the number of students enrolling in accredited online colleges is currently growing up to 17% faster than the total higher education pool. The growth can be attributed to the online classroom’s portability and flexibility.
Having the freedom to build your college schedule around other important areas of life is an attractive trait for anyone and a critical factor for many. Professionals who are required to put in face time at the office between 9 and 5 don’t have the option of attending an on-campus school unless all classes take place in the evening, and these time slots may have limited offerings. Obtaining a degree was often little more than a pipe dream for single parents until online learning became a plausible option.
Although the online trend is being widely adopted it is still a relatively new approach to education. The different platform requires a little tweaking to fully maximize the learning experience. We’ve gathered a few tips to help you achieve a fulfilling education that will culminate with a diploma or degree at one of the accredited online colleges.
Choose the Right School
Although good online schools hold their own against traditional institutions with high standards of education, it can be more challenging to choose between online providers because their reputations may not be rooted as firmly in the academic community. The first step towards being a discerning student is to ensure you are applying only to accredited online colleges. There are many non-accredited online schools floating around the web who will boast about their low tuition fees and fast-tracking programs. The downside is that you’ll have nothing to show for all your efforts at the end of the road. Only accredited online colleges are eligible to issue you a diploma or degree at the culmination of your program.
Manage your Time
The flip side of the flexibility factor is the temptation to procrastinate. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to abuse the freedom and find yourself with weeks of material to catch up on come examination time. The key to success in online colleges is to make your own structured plan, tailored to your life circumstances, and then treat at as completely compulsory. It might require a little mind trickery to convince yourself that your schedule is non-negotiable. However, it will be an essential part of your college experience as one of the pitfalls of self-directed learning is the tendency to procrastinate and fall behind in your studies.
Get involved in the Community
A big part of the on-campus experience is the wide array of extra-curricular actives. Frosh events, group projects and sorority parties take up a considerable amount of time and can help students find their social niche. Most prospective attendees of accredited online colleges have established circles outside of the educational arena and aren’t looking to the classroom as way of supplementing their social networks. Although the motivation may be different, there are still some valid reasons to interact in the online community of accredited online colleges. As in the bricks and mortar classroom, students with regular professor contact tend to be more engaged and informed and fare better in their final standings.
Additional insights and clarity are often uncovered during communications with professors and regularly asking questions can actually strengthen the thought process and stimulate the memory of the student. Many online professors have a 24 hour turnover guarantee for student questions, which is a promise rarely offered in traditional colleges. Connecting with other students in forums or online study groups is another great way to navigate speed bumps or blocks by drawing on the collective knowledge.
A diploma or degree with one of the accredited online colleges can qualify you for many careers, and in some cases it is possible to transfer credit to an on-campus school if you want the live classroom experience again. Make the upfront investment to research the reputation, credentials and total cost of the school you are considering and enquire about eligibility for federal funding and credit transfers.
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This article was written by Mark Winthrope, who believes that if you’re planning to do a course online, then you need to look for accredited online colleges. Non-accredtied ones pose too many difficulties when the time comes to land a job.