5 Things to Consider Before You Pursue an Online DegreeJanuary 08, 2018

A university degree is a great achievement, yet many have a traditional view about obtaining it. Perhaps there can't be anything more rewarding than attending a lecture, listening intently, to be followed with a serious, if not engaging, discussion (or debate) with professor and coursemates. Technology would change the rules of the game, though. Anything is possible, as long as one is tech savvy. Having an obtaining degree can be considered a miracle to some while others would see it as a convenience that should have happened a long time ago.

More companies look favorably on an applicant with an online degree, and none of those reasons don't relate to global warming. Your university of preference is too far away from where you live, but there can be a Plan B (if circumstances won't allow you to find a flat near the university). You have a job that you can't afford to lose at the moment. Another possible scenario is a not-so-demanding occupation, which leaves you lots of free time. You don't have to think long and hard about a sideline. The lecture room doesn't stimulate you to learn, if not motivate you to focus on the lecture. All of these reasons are valid enough, and you're looking at the future with a big smile. But wait.

Pursuing an online degree is not so different from attending a university (to obtain a degree). There's always the issue of money, if not questions on your motivation. And you don't choose an online degree program randomly. It requires planning, and there are decisions to make here.

How to Find a Good Online Degree Program

The reputation of the university does matter, but there's something else. You want an online degree from Monash. You're also thinking of an Ivy League school, if not a close equivalent to Harvard. It won't take an hour to do an online research, if these top-tiered universities offer online degree courses. It doesn't mean that the rest aren't worth your time. Find out if these schools are accredited. If the answer is yes, then there's no need to rely on your gut feeling. There are other factors to be taken into consideration, though.

It's all about statistics. Does your university of choice has a low completion rate? It's an indication that the school doesn't have a strong academic support for students. Does it have a high loan default rate? If that is the case, then you can't expect financial support (when you need it). It will be foolish to take these numbers for granted, which say a lot of a particular university. You don't want to end up in a diploma mill, so this is worth the trouble.

There must be a support service. The Internet may be filled with unlimited information, which is why you need guidance. Have you made your shortlist (of universities) hastily? Didn't you give too much thought to your preferred online degree course? What will happen when you make a wrong move in the application process? This can overwhelm you, which shows that there are some things that remain unchanged. Make the necessary inquiries, which will ensure that you won't get lost along the way.

Make sure that your credits can be transferable. For some reason(s), you want to transfer to another university before your first year is over. If not the school, then you have a change of heart. You must change courses. It can be an arduous process if you're studying in the university, and it's not so different if you're an online student. There won't be a waste of time and money if you have made inquiries about it before you embark on the program.

How about your schedule? If you're currently employed and thinking of pursuing an online degree, then expect your sacrifices to be noticed sooner or later. It says a lot about your commitment and discipline, and employers will like it. There will be a long road before reaching that goal, and it will test you constantly. Can you manage it? If you have a family, then you can expect their support. However, there will be instances when something must take a backseat. Someone will be disappointed, if not upset, when something goes awry along the way. If it happens to be the online program, then you should know the names (and contact details) of the people in charge. If you can notify them in advance, then it will be better.

And the big WHAT IF

Some employers are traditionalists, such that they prefer a framed diploma on the wall. Your parents are skeptical about your pursuing of the online degree, and they may have your interest in their hearts. (There's no such thing as social media during their younger years, but it won't be detrimental to their social life. On the contrary.) And then there's the problem with money.

There won't be any issues if you have assessed your options. Moreover, you must anticipate what lies ahead. If you show the persistence and diligence (to obtain an online degree), then anything is possible. Convenience always comes first, but you have priorities.

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