Where do you start to research the multitude of online colleges and universities that are all vying for your business? Do you go with the cheapest? The one that offers the shortest program for your intended course of study? Or the one that sends you the coolest SWAG (which is something I actually considered when I received the coolest travel cup ever from a well known online university)? The answer is, D. None of the above. Investigating and choosing the institution that will be your alma mater and appear on your resume for all of eternity is the first very important project that you will take on as a student of higher learning. Review the tips below, and jump in to your research with gusto!
• Take advantage of the admissions representatives who call you. They are very knowledgeable about the programs that are offered, the platforms that are used, and the requirements of their students. • Will you be able to complete your intended degree at the same school? If you plan on transferring to another school after attending your online college, be sure that your credits will transfer to a traditional college, specifically the one that you have in mind.
• A few years ago as my family was growing, my husband and I started searching for a new home. We had a budget, and of course aimed to stay within that budget. We found a house that seemed perfect for us, for multiple reasons. It was larger than the houses that we had seen up until that point, but it would accommodate our growing family well. My mom pulled me to the side and encouraged me to look at the “big picture,” and how much of a difference it would really make per month. We came to the conclusion that the increased cost meant nothing when compared with the overall benefit for our family. I often reflect on how thankful I am that I decided to go outside of my budget and look at the “big picture.” When looking at online programs, put the cost to the side during your research and figure out what is the best program for you first. There are many financial programs and credits that you may be eligible for.
• Consider whether or not the college is accredited. Accreditation means that the college has to live up to certain standards. And if a college claims to be accredited, don’t take them at their word – actually check it out.
• Start a notebook or folder that holds all of the information about all of the institutions and programs that you research. Even if you are on top of all of the details, everything will start to blur after you have spoken to your fourth or fifth admissions representative.
• Let your fingers do the walking. If you are considering completing a degree online, then now is a great time to get used to finding information by using the Internet. See what students and instructors have to say about the college(s) you have in mind. Does it have a good reputation? Don’t forget that people will be judging your resume, at least in part, by the schools that you attended.
Once you make your choice, dig in your heels and make it happen! Give it your all and keep your eye on the prize!
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