Online College Courses and How to Take Them

Online College Courses and How to Take Them


Online courses are nothing new with millions of students enrolled in them from around the world. The Internet has opened up education possibilities and options that did not exist a generation ago, enabling individuals to pursue undergraduate and advanced degrees alike. While online classes do open doors, there are still some points to consider when taking them.

1. Determine. Simply because courses are available online does not mean that you should take them. Lots of schools promote their courses, but some may be a waste of your time. If you are pursuing a degree you want to ensure that those courses come from accredited colleges. They should also be transferrable too — avoid those schools that tell you that your credits will most likely not transfer. Contact your state’s department of higher eduction to confirm accreditation separately.

2. Explore. You’ve nailed down your list of schools that are accredited, now it is time to find out which ones are a good fit for you. Explore the various programs offered and carefully read the requirements for each one. For instance, if you are interested in getting a degree in social work, you want to find out if a B.A. is offered. If so, read the course outline and the descriptions.

Depending on the program that you are taking, you should look into the availability of a practicum. If you take the Master of Science in Education in Special Education online, for example, a practicum and some student teaching will go a long way towards helping you find permanent employment. The more experience that you have before applying for a job, the better chance you will have of being hired. Student teaching will help you plan for student needs, implement learning plans, establish a classroom culture, and interact with parents and students. Remember to incorporate all of these aspects before selecting a school. Contact your state’s department of higher eduction to confirm accreditation separately.

3. Affordability. Online courses should cost the same as in-class courses. That means you need to be aware of the costs for taking these classes and what aid, if any, you might be able to secure. Just as students attending class on campus apply for financial aid, so can you. Fill out a FAFSA and await your SAR to learn what your costs will be. You can apply for both federal and private student loans as well. Keep in mind that these loans must be repaid.

4. Exclude. Eliminate from your list those schools you cannot afford or are otherwise are not a good fit for you. Those schools lying outside of your budget should be removed. Exclude any other schools that just are not providing to you what you want. Be choosy here — you have many choices in your higher education pursuits, especially online.

5. Apply. You can apply for college online and take classes online too. In fact, you just may never set foot on campus. Follow the instructions for filling out an application and submit yours. Many colleges and universities allow students to do everything online, although you may have to have referrals and a college essay sent in separately. Be mindful of deadlines!

Following Up

Once your college application is in you should hear back within two weeks. If you do not, then contact the college by phone to learn the status of your application. You should also send in whatever required transcripts, forms, and recommendations are needed and a copy of your test scores. Once you are accepted, then enroll. Settle your financial requirements and begin to take your online courses.


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Categories: Academics