Frequently Asked Questions: Online Degree Completion Programs
Is an Online Degree Program the Same as an On-Campus Program to Employers?
Many students go straight to work after graduating from high school, and some do very well. If they are dedicated enough to complete a trade program, learn all the ins and outs of the profession, and become great at it, they can make an honest living. Taking steps to further their education beyond the years of trade school degree often has the effect of increasing their salary, and making them more valuable to employers. Especially if they are advancing within the trade, in which they are already experts.
Earning a degree after trade school or an associate’s program can turn a simple job into a lifetime career. These programs that are often completed in under two-years are called degree completion or bridge programs, because they take what has been learned in a two-year program, or at the beginning of a forsaken bachelor’s, and apply that education to another bachelor’s program. Because of this, the degree at the end is a simple bachelor’s, nothing different. The only way an employer might ever know is if the graduate tells them, or if the job is one that requires a college transcript.
What is the Difference Between an Accelerated Online Degree Completion Program and a Non-Accelerated One?
A Bachelor’s degree is the most common degree in higher education. The way students go about obtaining one these days is becoming more and more varied. There are online schools and programs, hybrid models, accelerated programs, one-year programs, distance learning schools, low-residency models and many more formats. The steps students should expect to take to gain entrance in these programs begins with assessing what the kind of time commitment they can make.
The differences in the formats of these programs could be the difference in success and failure. An accelerated program, for example, may condense 16 weeks of coursework into an 8-week program, effectively getting it done in half the time. This can mean twice the work, and if the student is not able to keep up that pace, they may need to change some things to be successful. Regardless of the type of program the student chooses, keeping track of application deadlines is crucial. Because of the way that accelerated programs work, there are not the typical spring/late summer deadlines like for traditional programs. Missing the application deadline for a school that you want to go to is a bummer, but many online degree completion programs are forgiving in their process, by offering several start dates throughout the year. It may seem obvious, but having a fast working computer or laptop is a critical key to success when it comes to online schools.
What are Some Characteristics of Online Degree Completion Programs?
The best online degree completion programs are not always the fastest online degree completion programs. Having this option, however, often makes a program more accessible to individual students. Programs that have a staff person or online success coach to assist students in setting reasonable goals are often able to direct these weaknesses into strengths. Many accelerated online degree programs for working adults also employ financial advisors who meet with students to help explain ways to get funding less stressful and easier to understand. They may also provide information about possible scholarships and financial aid available to students.
Degree completion programs that accept more credit transfer options are helpful for bachelor’s completion programs because you not only keep the work you have done, and can get credit for it, but you also do not have to pay for it again. Sitting down with an academic advisor, either virtually or in person, can also help students ease into the process of transitioning into a not traditional format of learning. Academic advisors can help students express their interests and ideas of specific majors. Having a broad scope of benefits may help a student open more opportunities for learning. Conversely, having a clear picture of what the student is hoping to get out of their time in school can help things go quickly too.
It is essential in any program to know precisely why you are going to school, and what you plan to achieve from the courses and the degree earned. No one wants to waste money and time, so knowing precisely the right classes to register for will help you plan an exceptional schedule for success. The best schools have options for deciding these major choices with dedicated staff to make all of the options clear and easy for adult learners to weigh.
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