If your resolution involves taking online courses ask yourself important questions
Updated: Dec 27, 2018
Starting a new year often involves setting personal goals. One goal for many people is going back to school by enrolling in an online program and working toward a degree. But before you take that plunge ask yourself some important questions.
The reasons people decide to return to school vary. The majority of my students are adults with jobs and families who are looking to advance at the workplace or find a better job. They don’t have time to sit in a college classroom several nights a week. If you are considering going back to school and doing so online, please ask yourself some important questions first.
Will this online program help me professionally? – My experience has been that the most successful online learners are those who take courses that help them on the job. Try to align your course of study with your current career or future career goals. Take classes that are applicable or will be applicable to your current job or the job you want. Please don’t take online classes just to take them.
Will employers acknowledge degrees from online programs? - While I do think that an employer will be more impressed with a resume from someone who earned a college degree from a conventional school compared to a distance learning school, I also would like to give that employer some credit in evaluating the applicant. If the applicant earned his or her degree online while working full-time and raising a family, I think that’s all worthy of consideration. So, don’t shy away from online learning.
Which online program is best for me? – Good question. It is vitally important that you do your homework before making a commitment to an online program. There are a lot of questions you have to ask, of yourself and the schools you are considering. Not asking the schools a lot of questions is a big mistake. You need to know about financial commitments and other expectations. You need to know what you are buying into before you commit.
The TV commercial says this school is offering a special deal. Should I hurry and enroll before the deal runs out? – Do not make a speedy decision when choosing your online program. Don’t fall victim to the hard sell. The TV commercial or the pop-up ad on your screen might catch your eye, but spend time thoroughly investigating and determining the best choice for you.
Can I handle being an online student? – This may be the biggest question of all. Not only ask yourself if you want to learn online but also ask if you think you can learn online. Spend a lot of time answering it before making your decision.
How many courses should I take? - Start with one class so you don’t overwhelm yourself with work.
If one of your resolutions is to start working toward a college degree make sure you are well informed first. If you plan on being an online learner be a dedicated and prepared one. Good luck!
(Tim is the author of the ebook What the Online Student MUST Know, available on Amazon.)