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                     Complete Informational Guide
To Help You Choose The Right Online Degree For Your Career!

Is online education the most suitable option for you?
What are the advantages of applying for a distance learning course?
Why I shouldn't apply for an online degree?
What is credit for life experience and how can I earn it?
Is financial aid available in online education?
What’s accreditation?
What should you look for in an online school or college?
Are all online degrees have same value?
How can I apply in an online school?

Is online education the most suitable option for you?

If you have been considering about further education but wondered how to manage a tough full-time job, family and social life, and the responsibilities of every day living, then you should thank the 21st century as all you need is a computer, an Internet connection. Your inquisitive mind will research the right online degree program present in a large number that clicks with your future aspirations.

These accredited online classes and degree programs have sprung in the last few years, and many traditional universities and colleges have also leaped onto the online learning bandwagon. Although this kind of education is free from interaction and face-to-face communication, you will communicate with the instructors and other students through e-mail, chat rooms, bulletin boards, and instant messaging. You may even be required to work virtually with your work study group or team like environment to solve problems and create case studies.

What are the advantages of applying for a distance learning course?

There are many significant advantages of applying in a distance learning course; some of them are given below:

Ease and Mobility

Courses are accessible on your schedule
No physical attendance
Learning is based on your pace ( fast or slow its your choice)
You're unbound by time - courses are available 24/7
You're unbound by place - study at home, work, or on the road
Read materials online or download them for reading later
Best for disabled who face mobility problems, they can easily log on to study           online

Cost and Selection

Choice of wide range of courses to meet your needs
Degree, Vocational and Certificate programs
Continuing Education
Individual courses
Wide range of fee structures to fit your budget
Zoology to Arts, you can do it all online without burdening on your budget.

Higher Retention

Online Education solely depends on students’ preference hence they will be drawn to topics they like and enjoy. Research studies show that students taking online courses often have higher retention rates because of the variety of learning and delivery methods that are used to reach them.

Greater Group Effort

Technology tools enhance and make it easier for students to collaborate. Many projects in online education involve collaborative learning, and here the online environment is far easier (and often more comfortable) as students do not have to be face-to-face.

Comprehensive Global Opportunities

With the help of online learning, whole global learning community is at your fingertips. The technologies used give online instructional designers the ability to build in tools that take you to resources which you may never come across in an offline classroom.

Why I shouldn’t apply for an online degree?

As compared to the advantages, the cons of an online degree are not much but still they are significant. We have discussed them below:

The biggest disadvantage of getting an online degree may be that the educational            institution or your employer may not accept your online degree and the institution            from which it is taken.
School is expensive and your salary increase may not be able to pay back your           tuition for many years
Perceptions/Reputation -- while slowly changing as more and more mainstream           colleges and universities embrace distance learning, there still is a stigma attached           to distance education
Some careers require hands-on learning and cutting open a cadaver just won’t           work online…yet.
If you’re not self-motivated, online learning may be a struggle.
You can’t flash your best smile to that cute girl/guy across a crowded classroom.

What is credit for life experience and how can I earn it?

According to definition course credit is recognition by a college or university that a course of studies has been successfully completed; it’s typically measured in semester hours. Credit for life experience is your in-depth knowledge acquired through various sources like:

Attendance of seminars/workshops/conferences
Licensure or certifications
Professionally authored books or papers
Community service
Military service
Specialized training
Work experience
Various tests or other assessments

Life credits offer the potential for you to reduce e-learning class time required to complete your degree. Some universities transfer your previously earned life credits according to their assessment process.

Is financial aid available in online education?

Many online universities participate in various federal and private student financial assistance programs like traditional colleges and universities and technical schools. These financial aid programs are specially designed to provide assistance to students who are currently enrolled or accepted for enrollment but who are unable to meet the full cost of their education. Additionally, alternative financing is available through a variety of directories and books and students can avail them if they need it.

What’s accreditation?

Accreditation is a system or process for providing public confidence and a tool for improvement used by educational institutions. It is process that ensures the school has been reviewed in terms of its academics, recruiting, admissions, faculty, and more. It signals students that the institution will provide quality education and continuously work to improve its overall effectiveness and student outcomes. When you see that an institution is accredited by a recognized authority, you can be sure of its integrity and commitment to students.

What should you look for in an online school or college?

Before you pursue a certificate or degree, there are a few things that must be solved out and must not be taken lightly. If you want the best possible online education, then here’s a checklist of questions that you must ask from your prospective school or university.

• Is the school accredited? Is the program of study accredited? Remember that accreditation by one of the six regional accrediting agencies is a formal recognition that a school provides a quality education. If the school is not accredited by one of the six regional agencies, be sure to check with CHEA or the U.S. Department of Education to see if the accrediting agency is real and recognized.

• How many online courses does the school offer? Generally, the more online courses that a school offers, the more experienced it is.
• This means you have a better chance of getting instructors who know what they're doing technologically. How long has the school been offering courses online? The more experience a school and its instructors have had, the better the chances that they've straightened out twists in their virtual courses.

• What are statistics of students taking courses online? If you have special concerns and want students who can relate specifically to your situation, then you'll probably want to look for a program where the other students enrolled share similarities with you. You may find a similarity with them and it might make the learning process easier for you.

• What’s the student to instructor ratio? It may be unmanageable, if the class is too large, especially if everyone logs online at the same time and tries to participate in a course-related chat. Additionally, if there are too many students then it may be difficult or even impossible to get personal attention from the instructor.

• What are the direct costs to take courses from the school? You'll want to know exactly what you can expect to pay for your courses. Ask specifically about tuition, fees, and supplies.

• What is the school's refund policy? It's a good thing to know ahead of time whether you'll get some or all of your money back should you need to withdraw from a course.

• What kinds of financial aid are available to you? This is a very important question if you haven't planned financially for your college education. You want to find out what types of aid are available (grants, scholarships, loans), what their sources are (federal, state, institutional), and whether you meet the eligibility criteria.

• Does the school accept transfer credits? What are its requirements for transferring credits? If you've earned credits from another school, be sure to inquire whether you can transfer them to count toward the degree or certificate you now wish to pursue. Transferring credits can save you from having to take duplicate courses.

Are all online degrees have same value?

No, they don’t! It’s similar to buying anything online, extensive research is important before you go for nay online degree. According to the rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true then run!

There are institutions which claim to be certified, authorized, and/or accredited and you will have to decide it for yourself by doing some investigation and contacting your local state department of education to determine if the site has the credentials that it says.
If you don’t, then you might end up wasting your precious money and time for a costly piece of paper.

How can I apply in an online school?

In general, you'll be required to submit a completed application, an application fee, an essay about your intentions and goals, a current resume, letters of recommendation, official transcripts for any college courses you've already completed, and official copies of standardized plying to a particular program of study depends on the level of certificate/degree (undergraduate, graduate, or professional) and the field of the program (such as business, education, or engineering). Since testing requirements vary by school and by program, contact the schools that interest you to determine their testing requirements before you register to take any of the tests. Below is a list of the most common standardized tests and information about them.

• College Level Examination Program (CLEP) The CLEP offers general and subject-specific tests to assess knowledge at the undergraduate level. Schools award credits to students with passing scores, allowing the tests to fulfill course requirements in particular fields. They are offered in paper form and must be taken at a testing site where a proctor oversees the examination.

• Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)-The SAT is generally required for students applying to undergraduate programs. The general test assesses your potential or aptitude for college study.

• American College Testing (ACT) Assessment The ACT is another test that is generally required for students applying to certain undergraduate programs. It assesses your educational development and aptitude for college by testing your abilities in English, mathematics, reading, and science.

• Graduate Record Examination (GRE)-The GRE is usually required for admission to all non-business graduate programs. The general test assesses your analytical, quantitative, and verbal skills. It is offered in paper and electronic forms.

• Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)-The GMAT is generally required for graduate level business and administration programs. It tests your analytical, mathematical, and verbal abilities. It is offered in an electronic form.

• Miller Analogies Test (MAT)-Some schools require the MAT for applicants to graduate programs in psychology and related fields. It tests your ability to reason using analogies and is offered in paper form.

• Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)-Most schools require students whose first language is something other than English to take this test for any program of study. It tests your ability to comprehend written and spoken English, and is offered in a paper form. Generally, you'll be required to score above a 500 to be considered for admission but some schools require a higher minimum than 500.

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“I wasn’t aware that a degree can change one’s professional life until I earned an online MBA degree from Rochville Univer-
sity. Since then I have received an interview call from majority of the agencies where I apply. It’s just great to be an MBA without hassles of going to the campus. I’m really glad that I went for it.

Stephanie Brown, MBA in Advertising

 Did You Know?
Over a lifetime a degree
holder can earn over
$1 million in extra income.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Population Surveys, March 1998, 1999, and 2000

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