Earning an Online Bachelor's Degree
|School Considerations|| Is the school accredited?
What are tuition and fees?
Do you meet admission requirements?
What programs are offered?
Do they offer accelerated programs?
Will credits transfer if necessary?
Will your degree be accepted for graduate study if desired?
|Class/Program Considerations|| Is the program accredited if necessary?
Is the format and timeframe set or is it self-paced?
Is the program fully online or hybrid?
What are the details of any in-person requirements?
Does the class schedule work with your schedule?
How many courses can you handle at a time?
Many online bachelor degree programs are accredited, just like traditional colleges and universities. Students can maintain a career while going to school online in their own time, so these programs are also typically more affordable. The education received through an online program is just as respected and valued as a traditional on-campus education, but there are limitations to the types of programs offered online.
How to Get Started
In order to complete an online bachelor's degree program, students first need to decide on a program of study and choose the best school that offers it as an option. It's important to consider when the courses start and how long each term lasts. Some courses offer specific online meeting times where the students and professor interact via video chat or instant messaging, while others just have students upload assignments by a certain time, so it's important to verify such details and make sure the student's schedule is open to those times.
If a student wants to complete his or her bachelor's degree as quickly as possible, he or she may want to look for schools with classes offered every few weeks or ones that have rolling start dates. Some schools also offer accelerated programs that compress months of class work into weeks.
Plan of Study and Transfer Credits
Some schools provide a plan of study for students. If the school does not provide a plan, creating a plan of study before registering for classes can help students complete a degree more quickly. Find out when required classes are offered and what prerequisites are needed for the program. Then map out the order of classes to take. By organizing classes before beginning, one can ensure efficient program completion.
If you earned any college credits previously, you may be able to transfer them to your new program. By earning transfer credit, you'll be able to complete your program more quickly because you won't need to take as many classes. Students who earned Advanced Placement (AP) credits in high school or who have already earned associate's degrees may be able to place out of most general education classes.
Degrees Available Online
Not every type of bachelor's degree program is available online. Any program involving hands-on experience, such as cosmetology or nursing might be available through a hybrid format that includes an offline component for students to gain hands-on practice within that field. Other, more advanced programs that involve longer hours and lab work, such as advanced levels of biology and chemistry, also aren't offered in a strictly online format.
What to Do Once Enrolled
Determine how many classes you can take at once while considering work and family obligations. Since online classes are usually offered asynchronously, you'll be able to complete all of your work at a convenient time. As a result, you may be able to take several courses at one time. Find out the approximate workload for each class so you know how many classes you can balance at once. Also, check to see if there are any specific meeting times for classes to factor in with the workload.
Once enrolled in the classes you want, make sure to complete all of your coursework and fulfill all other course requirements. Not completing work may cause you to fail a class or earn an incomplete. If you have to retake a class, you may fall behind on your plan of study, which will cause you to complete the degree program less quickly.
With a little planning and organizing, students can complete bachelor's degrees online in a quick and flexible manner.