Most colleges and universities offer at least some courses online now, and in some cases, it is possible to earn a bachelor’s degree online. Online education can be an excellent opportunity for people who are juggling work and family responsibilities. However, there can also be pitfalls. Below are some important points to keep in mind when considering online education.
People who are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree online should do their research into the various schools of interest. First, they should make sure the school is accredited. This might take some digging, and the claims of the school itself should not be taken at face value. Some schools may try to claim a fake accreditation. Students should also find out whether the program they are interested in is best pursued at a traditional brick-and-mortar campus. Some programs will require hands-on or clinical experience. One option in these cases could be a hybrid program that offers mostly online classes but includes lab time or other necessary in-person learning.
Once the right school and program are chosen students may need to take additional steps to stay organized compared to those at a traditional college. Without the requirement to show up in class several times per week, it can be easy to fall behind in an online course. According to Forbes, self-discipline is required to pursue an online degree and may be one of the reasons that many online students are successful. Reading the syllabus fully ahead of time and creating a calendar at the beginning of every semester that includes deadlines can help students stay on track.
Online classes may provide more opportunity for engagement than traditional classes. Mandatory participation on discussion boards is often a component of online classes. The nature of online classes can also improve students’ written communication skills. Students should make an effort to engage with the instructor as well. Just because there are no traditional office hours doesn’t mean that a valuable relationship cannot be built between student and professor.
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Planning is important not just in the context of keeping up each semester but in considering how earning a bachelor’s degree online will fit in with a person’s overall goals. People should ask themselves what career they wish to pursue and how a bachelor’s degree would enhance their opportunities in that area. Many jobs require a bachelor’s degree today that it can be tempting to simply pursue what seems available and easiest. Students will get more out of an online bachelor’s degree that they consider in the context of their overall career goals.
Online education has expanded opportunities for people in all walks of life, and increasingly, the education available is equivalent or even superior to what might be available offline. With careful research, organization, planning and goal-setting, students can earn a bachelor’s degree online and open up a new world of professional opportunities.