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15. consider online courses

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					15. consider online
            courses
                                     Find more steps to college at nextSTEPmag.com/StepByStep
                  college planning


   Want to earn an accredited degree through your                       chat rooms, discussion boards and more.
computer?
    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
                                                                                                nextSTEPmag.com/Online


                                          • 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

                                                                                                           nextSTEPmag.com • Next Step Publishing

				
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