Is an Online Degree the Right Choice for You?

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The benefits of online study are numerous: the flexibility to choose when you study, the reduced cost, and the ability to study at home being among the most touted. Is an online degree the right choice for you though? Here are five questions to ask yourself before jumping headlong into online education.

1. What are your goals?

Taking the online route to getting a degree can certainly save you time and money. It can also help you to advance an existing career. The question is whether if those factors weren’t an issue, would you go to a regular college? Do you really want to earn a degree or are you just doing it because it seems easy to do from home? It’s not easy and it requires a generous helping of self motivation, so if your goals aren’t clear enough, there’s every chance you’ll fall by the wayside.

2. Are you the organised type?

In order to successfully complete an online degree program, you’re going to have to be fairly well organised. There’s an old saying that proclaims “fail to plan and plan to fail”. Never is this more true than when it comes to online study. Some students find it hard enough to turn up to class and do the required work when they’re on campus. Can you definitely sufficiently organise your time to fit in all the work necessary? There’s a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to online degrees, but it’s certainly not without its limits.

3. Can you afford it?

Online degrees typically require less of a financial outlay than a course at a bricks and mortar campus, but they very rarely can be described as cheap. Be sure to check out all of the scholarships and financial aid that may be available to you, or if finances are really tight, look into taking a tuition-free online degree from the People’s University. You really don’t want to get halfway through a course and find that you have insufficient funds to continue with your studies. That time could have been better spent elsewhere.

4. Have you got the tools you need?

Aside from being self motivated, organized, and generally having the right attitude, you’re going to need to have a fairly decent set up tech wise. Beyond a decent computer and of course a reliable and fast internet connection, you’ll probably have to add things like a webcam, printer, and various software programs to your list of must have tools. Telling yourself you’ll make it down to the library to use their facilities every day is a noble thought, but unlikely to happen in the real world.

5. Do you actually like to study online?

If you don’t like doing something, there’s very little chance of you doing it for an extended period of time, not wholeheartedly anyway. It’s a good idea to dip your toes into the waters of online education by taking a free online course first. With thousands of courses available from the likes of Udacity, edX, and Coursera on offer, there’s no limit to the types of courses you might take. See how you get on with a free online course before you start throwing your hard earned cash into the mix. It’s time that’s definitely well spent and you might just end up learning something very cool while you’re at it.

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