The benefits of an online education are easily understood. The cost factor is the one that immediately comes to mind, but there are many other advantages to pursuing an online degree. With the exception of perhaps a handful of online colleges that require a student to login at certain times, the majority of online courses offer a degree of flexibility that courses taught at traditional bricks and mortar campuses just can’t match. Not only can students choose when they study, studying online allows students to “attend” pretty much any college of their choosing without geographical limitations or concern for pre-existing work or childcare commitments. It all sounds wonderful, and for most students it is. That doesn’t mean it’s for everybody though. Just like a decision to attend college in person should be made carefully, so should the decision to study online. Here are some factors that students should consider before deciding to pursue an online education.
There’s a lot to be said for online education. There’s the flexibility, the open scheduling, the lack of commute, not to mention the cost savings. It’s an attractive proposition that has seen more than six million students step up to the challenge. One of the few downsides to online education is often identified as a lack of opportunity to socialize with other students and build a professional network. Does that really have to be the case though? If you choose online education, are you really signing up for years of isolation? Not necessarily so. As the old adage goes “no man is an island,” and never does that ring more true than when you are studying an online course.
November 15 saw the announcement of some exciting news for online education. Forbes’ Ilya Pozin went so far as to say the news heralded the solution for the US education problem.
So what’s going on?
2U, named by Forbes as one of the ten startups changing the world, announced their plans to offer online undergraduate courses. So what’s so new about that? With more than six million students now studying at least one course online, the concept of earning a degree online is not exactly trailblazing. Or is it?
Each year, Degree Jungle rates the top online schools to reveal “America’s Best Online College”. In both 2011 and 2012, Everglades University has topped the Degree Jungle rankings. It seems this particular university is worthy of a closer look.
Everglades University: An Overview
A privately owned not-for-profit college, Everglades University has its main base in Boca Raton, Florida. In addition to a full featured online program, smaller branch campuses are located in Altamonte Springs and Sarasota. A student population of just over 1,000 was recorded by Degree Jungle in 2012. Bachelors and master’s degrees awarded by the university are accredited by the Commission on College of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
If you are thinking of pursuing an online education but the cost is making you more than a little apprehensive you might consider studying a tuition-free online degree from the University of the People (UoPeople). Founded in 2009 by Shai Reshef and affiliated with the likes of the Clinton Global Initiative and the United Nations GAID (The Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development), to date UoPeople have accepted more than 1,500 students from 132 countries for their online degree courses.
We’ve all been a student at some point in our lives. Whether your point of reference is decades back when you attended high school or you have recently completed your bachelor's degree in person, you will have some experience of on-campus study. Online learning is a different ball game and requires specific study skills to be in place in order to thrive. So whether you are tentatively dipping your toe into the world of online education by enrolling on a free course or are continuing your studies with an online MBA, it’s worth brushing up on your online study skills.
There are things that need to be done even before the start of your course. Prepare for online college by understanding your obligations in advance, making sure your tech is in order and finding the resources you will need.
Online Student? How to Prepare for the New College Year
It’s that time of year again. Thousands of college students are packing up their belongings with an undeniable sense of excitement, parents are nervously waving their children off on their first real grown-up adventure, and the owners of truck rental companies are rubbing their hands with glee. It’s a familiar right of passage that takes place every fall. But, what if you’re one of the more than six million students learning online?
“Higher education that overcomes the boundaries of geography, time and money!” - Gerald Dicen
Although financial aid and scholarships can ease the financial burden of a college education, it is fair to say that the costs involved can be prohibitive for many potential students. There may also be other factors that prevent you from attending college in person. You might be working full time or be a single parent with little support. While both noble pastimes, neither of those lifestyles will stop you yearning for the higher education you never had. Why not reap the benefits that a world class education can offer and pursue an online education for free? All you will need is an internet connection and a healthy dose of motivation.
Many of the world’s leading universities and colleges offer online courses free of charge. You will have access to the same course materials as those students who are attending college in person and benefit from the majority of the same resources. On successful completion of some of the online courses available, you will receive a certificate signed by the course instructor. You will also have access to a wide range of exciting topics and have the opportunity to broaden your mind and learn new things. Isn’t that what education is all about?
How to Navigate the Minefield to the Pitch or the Pool
The ongoing excitement of the Olympic Games has undoubtedly got youngsters all over the world keen to try out a host of new sports for themselves. If you are up and running with a sport already, you might consider applying for a sports scholarship to help you meet the rising costs of a US college degree. A perfect example of the benefits of earning a good degree while still enjoying the sport you love is that of Missy Franklin. The 17-year-old Olympic swimming sensation has to date refused any endorsements or prize money so she can retain her amateur status and continue to swim in college.
A college education isn't cheap – even if it is obtained through an online college. However, you don't need to pull out a second mortgage on your house or have you and your child take out thousands of dollars in student loan debt simply to put your kid through school. There are several easy ways, including the following five, to put your kid through college debt free:
Fill Out the FAFSA
If you kid don't fill out the FAFSA, they could miss out on thousands of dollars in free educational assistance. Even if you believe that you and your spouse make too much money, it is always a good idea to still fill it out. Because of the downturned economy, the federal government is aware that many families are suffering and are unable to pay for their children to go to college. Aid is definitely available, and even if your child isn't eligible to receive scholarships and grants, they may still be able to receive low interest loans to pay for school if they have no other option.
There are changes occurring in the nursing profession. Employers and State Boards of Nursing are bumping up the educational requirements with the hope of mandating the entry level RN to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN). Almost every online university out there offers a BSN program with most not requiring a clinical rotation. Many employers that are requiring their current Associate Degree RN’s to go back to school to obtain their BSN’s are even offering tuition assistance in some form or other incentives. Obtaining an advanced nursing degree has never been easier or more convenient.
In addition to offering advanced nursing degrees, there are many other types of programs available to nurses. For instance; for those nurses that are interested in staff development or becoming educators within health care facilities, many universities offer the Health Care Education Certification for BSN nurses. Other certifications include; nursing informatics, Critical Care Nursing, Surgical Nursing, Geriatric Nursing and many other specialties. Most of these programs only require between 9 and 16 hours of additional college credit depending on the curriculum of the specific university.
As you begin your online learning experience you will find that at the beginning of each of your courses the instructor will ask that you prepare and submit a 1-2 page autobiography so that you can get acquainted with your peers. In addition there will be an extensive list of other housekeeping items to complete prior to getting into the nitty gritty of the course. In an effort to save yourself time and to make sure that you are consistent presenting yourself appropriately, I suggest that you create an exceptional autobiography that can be saved and used for each of your courses.
With the economy in its current state and the instability of businesses and companies around the country, many potential students and current students find it difficult choosing the right degree to pursue. Let’s face it, regardless of what your educational level is, there is no promise that your current position will be there for you tomorrow. With that being said, students are taking a wiser approach to education and employment plans today.
Online universities are popping up left and right. In fact, today you will see more advertising and marketing of online universities than brick and mortar schools. It is absolutely fantastic that potential students have such a selection to choose from but what do they base their decision on? Let’s face it; the cost of college is one of the expensive investments that a person will make during their lifetime. They surely need to make sure that their chosen school is all that it says that it is.
The price of college can be overwhelming for the young adult or middle aged adult. In many instances it is the cost of tuition that deters people from pursuing their college education. With the interest rates on Federal Student Loans increasing, most potential students will shy away from a college education rather than being deeply in debt in their 30’s and 40’s. Is there an answer to this? You bet.