15. consider online
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Want to earn an accredited degree through your chat rooms, discussion boards and more.
Many traditional schools offer at least one online or Consider online if…
distance learning bachelor’s degree. • You’re self-motivated. Online students need self-
However, online degrees are “as difficult to gain discipline and the ability to ignore the lure of TV, IM chats
admission to and complete as campus-based options,” says and cell phones to get through class assignments.
Vicky Phillips, professor and founder of GetEducated.com. • You want to work on your degree from anywhere. If
If you’re considering a non-traditional degree, there are you love your city and aren’t ready to venture off to College
important factors to consider: accreditation, cost, residency Town, an online degree will allow you to stay home while
requirements and type of instruction. you earn your degree.
• You want to pursue other ventures. Commuting, sitting
college night handouts
• Accreditation in class and preparing for class takes time that you could
Make sure the degree you’re considering is from a college instead spend on a job, internship or a rock star career. With
that is regionally, nationally or state accredited. If the an online degree, you won’t be trekking to class from a dorm
college claims you can “earn your degree in 30 days,” or that room or sitting in traffic waiting to get to school. (And think
earning your degree is “cheap and easy,” then cross that of the money you’ll save on gas!)
school off your list. Earning a degree is not easy, but it is
worthwhile. Reconsider online if…
• You don’t have a constant Internet source. If you don’t
• Cost have it in your home, ensure that you’d have open Internet
Just because a degree is offered online doesn’t mean access from somewhere else. Programs that use video and
you’ll get a price break over traditional tuition. Ask if your book downloads may not work well with dial-up.
potential online program accepts the FAFSA, • You prefer to interact face-to-face. Attending class
scholarships or other forms of federal online means contact with students and professors is limited.
financial aid. If there is a problem with a grade or you don’t understand
the material, you must be comfortable calling or e-mailing
• Residency requirements your professor to ask questions.
Residency requirements “As an online student, I have found online classes to
differ from program to program. be harder than face-to-face classes,” says a coordinator of
Some programs offer “low student support services for distance learners “The student
residency” options where doesn’t have the benefit of verbal and visual interaction with
students must stay on or the instructor.”
near campus for up to two
Excerpted from “Is an online degree for you?”
weeks once or twice a year.
By Jessica Burkhart.
Other programs require no
face-to-face contact and are
completed exclusively online.
to do Learn more about online courses at
• Types of instruction
Instruction in online
courses may be Internet-based
or may use a mix of technology
to deliver the material. Many
online degrees are composed
of Web-based classes that offer
This Step-By-Step handout is sponsored by
instruction via e-mail, school DeVry University, devry2.com/nextsteps
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