There aren’t many students who haven’t taken at least one online class, but if you are one of the few and proud, read on before you jump into an online class or program for the first time. Online classes can be a godsend for students who find it difficult to commit to commuting for one reason or another. However, as with most things in life, there are positive and negative aspects of the online learning experience that you will need to know about upfront.
Dip your toe before you jump in! Before committing to an entire program, choose an online class that you can get credit for. It won’t hurt to “test the waters” a bit in order to find out if online learning is right for you. When you register for one online course, there is not as much at stake as when you register for an entire online program. If you are trying to decide on committing to an entire program of study, ask the admissions representative if you can monitor or survey a class before making a final commitment.
Consider your schedule Just because online schooling is flexible, doesn’t mean that it does not require work and time. On the contrary, online school often requires more time than traditional classes spent on posting on discussion boards, assignments, and research. Try to ensure that you have that time ear marked for your online class before you register and enroll and realize that you don’t have as much time as you thought you had.
Consider your “student style” Do you need to have an instructor standing over you, reminding you to work on both short and long-term projects? Some people need that. If you are one of those people, you may not want to go the online route. The students who fit the online mold the best are good self-managers.
Where do you go from here? If you are considering an entire online program, you won’t have to worry about classes transferring to an outside institution. However, if you are planning on going outside of the realm of your degree program, make sure that you will be able to transfer your online credits to your home institution.
There are many great options in the online world for students – especially for “non traditional students.” Figure out what works best for you, and take advantage of your options!
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