If you’ve been thinking about returning to school to get your degree, you may be wondering whether an online degree program would be a good fit for your personality and lifestyle. While most people can find an online degree program that will match their schedules and learning styles, online education is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all proposition. A little self-evaluation and some research will help you find the program that is right for you. Here are some things to consider as you make your decision.
Do You Prefer a Lot of Structure or a Little?
Some people are self-starters and others thrive on deadlines. The amount of structure you will encounter in an online program will vary greatly from school to school and even from program to program. Ask questions until you find a school that is a good fit. Some schools will let you see sample lessons and even allow you to take a scholastic test drive before you enroll.
Do You Want to Socialize with Other Students?
If you’re an extrovert by nature, you’ll probably want to interact with other students in your program. Many programs offer discussion boards so that students can discuss the material that is being covered and even do group projects together. If that’s not enough for you, look for a program that also offers social networking opportunities just for students that will allow you to hang out online with your peers or even to arrange to get together face-to-face.
How Do You Learn Best?
If you learn best from reading a text or doing online activities and exercises, there are a number of online programs that will be the perfect fit for you. If you prefer to have the material explained to you by a human being, look for a program that offers live or video lectures or interactive seminars that you can attend from home. There are also programs that combine all of these elements.
Does Your Schedule Allow You to Devote Regular Blocks of Time to Studying?
If you work a regular schedule each week and don’t have to worry about sick children or school vacations taking you away from your work, a program with a traditional, strict schedule may be ideal. If your work is crazy and your home life is crazier, however, you may need something a little more flexible. For example, the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers online accounting degrees that are flexible and customized to fit your individual needs, making them ideal for people whose schedules would never allow them to attend a traditional Bachelor’s degree program.
Your determination to succeed is the most important factor in your success as a student. However, finding a program that is the right fit can make the entire process a lot more fun.