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Online Degrees Do’s and Don’ts


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Online Degrees - Do’s and Don’ts explains critical parameters which should be evaluated by potential online students considering enrolling in an online program. Complying with these dos and don'ts would ensure that the overall experience of prospective students turns out to be fruitful.

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Online Degrees Do’s and Don’ts

  1. 1. Online Degrees - Do’s and Don’tsIf the 2010 annual report published by Sloan Consortium on the state of online education in thecountry is to be believed, the rate of online enrollments continues to surpass the total number ofstudents pursuing higher education.Online education is a reality, and those who are still prejudiced against it need to keep pace withthe times. However, equally real is the danger of falling into the trap of less than credibleeducational institutions operating under the garb of online colleges and universities.So if you are considering online degrees to realize your dream of acquiring higher education,there are certain do’s and don’ts you can follow to make sure that your overall experience turnsout to be a positive one.Do’s of Online DegreesEven before you start marking down colleges that offer online degree programs, make sure thediscipline of your choice can be taught via this medium. While it’s true that degrees in almost alldisciplines are now being offered online, but you should know that some are better suited for thismode of study than others. There are certain fields like engineering that are best learned in aclassroom and should not be attempted online.Once you have figured out that your field of interest can be taught effectively via this medium, youshould start short listing colleges and universities that offer this discipline online. While listingdown colleges, the most important factor to consider is accreditation.Another crucial consideration when choosing an online college is financial aid. It’s commonknowledge that skyrocketing tuition has put college education beyond the financial means of a lotof people.However, help is available in the form of federal and state sponsored financial aid. Make sure thecollege you are planning to attend participates in these financial aid programs to help you fundyour education if you qualify.Now that you have decided to pursue an online degree program, make friends with technologybecause you’re going to be using a lot of it during the course of your education. Whether it’s realtime online discussions or interaction over email, you will be using technology pretty much all thetime to complete your coursework. A word of advice here – get a fast speed Internet connectionbefore you begin classes.Don’ts of Online DegreesWhatever you do, don’t ever make the mistake of thinking online degrees are a cakewalk. You’llbe surprised to know that they follow more or less the same curriculum as traditional degrees andsometimes are a lot more intensive. Be prepared to work hard and stay committed all throughyour education.Another thing you should never do is jump headlong into online degree programs withoutassessing your own suitability for it. Like everything else, online education is not for anyone. Itrequires certain characteristics to succeed and primary amongst these are self-discipline, focus,and perseverance.If you don’t have the discipline to fight the temptation to procrastinate, the focus to set and followa study schedule diligently, and the perseverance to juggle education with your othercommitments without collapsing out of sheer exhaustion, it’s best to steer clear of onlineprograms.
  2. 2. Last, but not the least, do not get yourself into a situation where your education seems to bestretching into years you can ill afford to spend on it. Make sure the program duration ties in withyour personal and professional goals. Many online degrees are available on flexible schedulesthat provide you the option of graduating in a shorter than normal completion time, and it maymake sense for you to explore such programs.