Enrolling in an accelerated online degree program is a great investment in your future. If you're like most middle-class Americans, you don't have a lot of time or money to spare. Therefore, it's important to pick a degree program that fits into your lifestyle and budget. Here some things to consider when choosing your program.
Check Out Accreditation
When choosing an online program, you want to make sure your program is accredited through one of the national accreditation agencies. Nationally accreditation means that the program meets certain academic standards approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Another advantage to enrolling in a nationally accredited program is that accredited schools can offer financial assistance to their students. Programs can also be regionally accredited. If you're starting a bachelor's degree program but plan to eventually pursue a graduate degree online, you want to make sure you don't have a problem transferring your credits. Some regionally accredited programs will not accept credits from nationally accredited schools.
Explore Enrollment Options
Some programs only offer online courses. Other online programs, especially those associated with bigger universities, offer a mixture of online and in-person classes. Choose a course of study depending on your own personal learning style. Some people thrive in isolation and others do better in a classroom environment. Figure out how you learn best and find a program that will help you succeed.
Continuing your education comes with a huge pricetag. Tuition is just one of the expenses you'll have to pay when you return to school. Check out a program's financial aid options before enrolling. See if they offer tuition assistance and allow you to pay in installments. Also, it might be worth your while to consult your employer and see if they offer tuition reimbursement.
Accelerated degree programs are extremely intense because you complete a degree in half the time. Before committing to one program, consider the timeline in which you would need to complete your coursework. Think about how the semesters are broken up and how many classes you would need to take in each semester. Figure out how much time you would need to devote to each course and think about how you could fit that work into your day. You want to make sure you are able to manage your time and still take care of your domestic and professional responsibilities.
Online programs rarely have the array of course offerings that you would find at a traditional university. It's important that your program offers classes that will challenge and engage you. Look through the course catalog to make sure that your school has courses that appeal to you.
Some online schools offer their students a number of resources after they've completed their course of study. Ask a recruiter about the resources available to graduates and see if they have any job placement programs that can help you once you're out in the workforce.
Going back to school is a major decision. Make sure you spend a lot of time doing research and thinking about what you need from an academic program. Find a program that makes you happy and will help you either advance in your old profession or get a leg up in a new one.