Taking an Online Class

By Sarah Jane Udall

Many institutions, including several accredited universities, offer the opportunity to earn your college degree online from the comfort of your own home or office.

These online degree programs are ideal if you are working, or have other commitments in your life that may keep you from being able to attend traditional, on-campus classes, or if you just prefer to have the flexibility to work when and where you want.

Online Classes and Degrees

Online degrees are designed to meet the needs of a variety of students, and to provide a college quality education for those who are seeking an alternative to traditional, on-campus study.

Most online degree programs include detailed course information, module content, study packs, interactive exercises and exams, and access to on-line books and journals, as well as other resources typically available on campus. 

By working toward your degree online, you can control when and where you attend class, and often how long it will take you to complete your degree.

Courses offered in an online degree program typically reflect those that are offered on campus, and can include such areas of study as accounting, business, education, healthcare, technology, and criminal justice to name a few.

While programs may vary from school to school, an online degree program is generally hosted on its own web site. Instructors post lecture materials and assignments on the Internet site along with bulletins and other discussion forums where students may post comments or ask questions. In an online degree program you will complete the majority of your coursework online, and take exams and email assignments to the instructor on designated due dates.

To succeed in an online degree program, you will need to be both disciplined and comfortable working with technology as your interaction with instructors will be primarily via email or through Internet chat rooms and message boards.

Though an online education is no less demanding than a traditional, on-campus education, the option of earning your college degree online can provide you with the opportunity to save time and complete coursework at your convenience.

Comparing Online Colleges

A college education is one of the most important, and one of the most costly investments you may ever make. For this reason you will likely want as much information possible about the comparative merits of the different educational programs, and the different institutions out there, particularly if you are interested in pursuing and online degree.

There are several publications and websites that can serve as an objective guide by which you can compare the academic quality of institutions and online programs in order find the one that is best for you.

These publications rank institutions and programs based on things like graduation rates, student assessment surveys, and other criteria they feel are important in measuring quality in online education. These assessments may be helpful to you because they rate the strengths of the academic programs, and can give you information on key factors to consider when choosing the right program for you.

Choosing a good online program is very important to a lot of prospective students, because a good program from a quality institution can help you get better jobs and gain admission to better graduate programs. But remember, you need to investigate institutions and programs carefully in terms of your own needs and goals as well, especially because the criteria used in objective publications may not always be relevant to your needs or desires.

Online College Classes

When deciding on an online degree program it might be a good idea to look in terms of job outlook.

For example, what kinds of fields require what level of degrees, or in what fields might be gaps in personnel at the time of your graduation? Fields where there will be huge personnel shortages to make up for will provide you with more opportunities to fill in and get a good job easily, and possibly advance more quickly.

Just as there are programs that consistently lead to higher salaries, there are also degree programs that have never been known to lead to high-income opportunities. Still, while jobs will fall in and out of favor, you should not pick a program based on trends. Instead you should focus on what you are good at and what you enjoy.



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My College Match makes the process of finding an online college efficient. Their resources help narrow the numerous schools down. Their site and personal advisors provide you with a list of the best online colleges that only apply to you and the interest of your choice. Search the CollegeMatch directory.

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