People new to the world of online degree programs and eLearning can often be overwhelmed by the majority of options available to them should they ultimately decide to pursue a degree online. But the search for the program that is right for you does not have to be exhausting. Here are a few things to consider as you try to settle on which program to enroll in. Good luck!
Your first consideration is this: you want to make sure the program that you are enrolling in matches your own academic and career goals. How will earning this degree from this particular program help you achieve your goals? What about this program excites you? How does this program parallel your own personal education philosophy? Does the program articulate its own academic and career goals for its students? You want to find a program that you identify with on a gut level. Otherwise, you will have a hard time believing in the program later on, especially if things get tough.
Once you have found a program with which you strongly identify, you will want to look at the specifics of the program. Does the curriculum compare to that of other serious programs, both online and traditional? What about the faculty’s reputation? Examine how they administer courses and what sorts of course modules the program uses. Will these fit with your own learning methods? Can you see yourself succeeding in this kind of classroom? While this sort of research is less glamorous, it is necessary, as it will help you learn how a program implements its academic mission in concrete ways for its students.
Gather a handful of your favorites and compare them to one another. Compare especially the costs and fees associated with each education, including fees that are perhaps harder to pin down, such as textbook fees and so on. What sorts of student resources do the programs provide? Also compare how each online program prepares its students for life after graduation. Is there a career-related resource? Is there a way that you can maintain contact with the program, especially later on, if you need more help finding another job? These are important considerations because they will show you how each program goes on developing its community of students, even after they are students.
Ultimately, you’ll have to make your decision. Take a few nights to think about it, and then go with what you feel is the best fit for you based on all your research and so on. Be happy with your decision and do well!