How to Enroll in an Online College

You want to take some college courses or pursue a degree but don't have time to attend on-campus classes, so you decide online studies would work best for you. What's the first step? This article will outline how to enroll in an online college.

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Online College Enrollment Steps

Great, you're ready to join the more than 3.1 million students who take college courses exclusively online. How would you enroll in such courses? Would you follow the same enrollment process as you would for on-campus programs?

For the most part, yes. So, where do you begin? Check out the enrollment steps and considerations outlined below.

Register

You'll need to first complete a registration process before you can start enrolling in any classes. Once you've chosen your college and successfully applied, the next step is to register. It is during the registration process that you'll remit payment of all tuition and fees.

After you've completed the registration for the school of your choosing - whether it be a traditional school or online-only institution - you're ready to enroll in the courses you've selected.

Check Your Technical Requirements

It's a good idea to make sure your computer meets the technical requirements of your particular school before enrolling.

You will likely need to have newer operating system and meet requirements regarding available memory and processor speed. A high-speed internet connection is also a must. You might need to update versions of specific applications or software to meet technical requirements.

Additionally, individual courses might require that you have specific software or hardware, such as media players and a webcam. Check to see if any of the courses you're interested in taking have any of these requirements.

Check Availability

You'll need to check course availability just as you would if you were taking on-campus courses. Some schools might hold courses for online-only students for a longer period before allowing those pursuing hybrid degree programs to take an online course.

For instance, the University of Kansas's College of Liberal Arts & Sciences states that students taking only online classes are generally given first shot at enrolling, as the online format is the only way in which they can take courses. The school says that spots for online classes are reserved for a two- to three-week period for online students so they can arrange their enrollment schedules; after this time, students in a hybrid program can then seek to enroll in classes.

Choose Your Courses

Unlike enrolling in traditional classroom courses, where you might sit with an advisor to determine accessibility and availability of the classes you want to take, you'll scroll through courses on your own as a prospective online student.

You might be asked to select your degree level and course of study. Once you've done so, you can gain access to a list of courses. If you cannot enroll in a specific course, chances are it's full (or possibly blocked for fully online students, as stated above). Try to find a similar course or find a course in another area that you might need to fulfill the requirements for your particular program.

You might also be able to put your name on a wait list for a course; the school will contact you via email once you're able to reserve a spot for that online class.

While you won't be sitting alongside your advisor if you're enrolling in classes on your computer at home, you can contact your advisor via email if you have any questions or difficulties during the enrollment process.

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