Q:What is the Difference between accredited and non-accredited schools?

A:Accredited schools are audited by national boards of education. These boards thoroughly study the standards of curriculum, faculty and facilities at the school. They only provide accreditation after they are convinced that the school maintains the expected standard. The most important consideration in awarding accreditation is the curriculum. If a certain school is not providing you the course content and skills a graduate of that program is expected to have, the degree has little value. Accredited schools are those that have invested time, effort and money into ensuring they meet all nationally recognized standards. In the case of non-accredited schools you cannot be sure of the quality of the program. Thus graduates of accredited schools tend to be better trained and are more sought after by potential employers.

Q:Is a degree earned online equivalent to one earned on campus?

A:In terms of academic content, a degree earned online can offer you the same skills as those you would pick up in the classroom. Online degrees are recognized by both schools and employers. Empirical studies have established that those who earn their degrees online through accredited programs actually do not suffer in terms of earnings in comparison to those who earn their degrees on campus. Sometimes, you can get the best of both worlds by completing your program mostly online but making occasional trips to an affiliated campus for benefits such as practical work, networking and job placement.

Q:What are the advantages of obtaining a degree online?

A:An online degree is distinguished by the flexibility and convenience it provides to students. Those who complete their degree online do not have to follow a rigid schedule of lectures. They can watch their lectures at their leisure by downloading video content. Students completing online degrees are able to access all course content in an electronic format including lecture notes, assignments and examinations. Students studying online are often able to save a fair amount of money since they do not need to regularly commute or pay for accommodation around campus. The low cost nature of the setup means that online schools are able to offer a much wider range of courses than that offered on campuses. Online degrees are also able to take advantage of cutting edge technology for networking and as such, those who graduate from online degrees tend to be quite technology savvy.

Q:Will I have to attend any classes in person?

A:Many online degree programs do not expect you to attend any classes in person. By definition, all lectures, assignments and examinations can be completed online. But there are other degree programs where the practical component is very critical. For example, students of nursing cannot complete their program with just theoretical knowledge. They are expected to have practical experience and so to complete their training, even online degree programs have to arrange for a component involving practical experience. This could be directly on the physical campus of the online university or through some affiliate setup. Other degree programs that generally expect some form of programs to be completed in person include biotechnology, laboratory sciences and engineering.

Q:Do online college degree programs provide the same quality of education that is found in traditional college degree programs?

A:While there are differences in the format of content delivered online and offline, some institutions are able to offer online quality that is very comparable to what you would experience in the classroom. As long as you limit yourself to pursuing accredited degree programs, you will find that the institutions have developed quality curriculums and recruited solid faculty. Online schools often take advantage of the same textbooks and classroom materials that are found on a traditional campus. This ensures that those who are studying online are not lacking in terms of the exposure they receive in the classroom. Ultimately, the quality of an educational experience is largely dictated by students themselves. So students who are motivated find nothing lacking in the option of pursuing an online degree.

Q:Is online degree education for everyone?

A:Online degrees are not necessarily for every kind of learner. The programs have generally been developed to cater to non-traditional students particularly those who were prevented from pursuing a traditional education earlier in life due to cost constraints or other bottlenecks. Online degree education is also a great choice for those who are already working and see value in education but cannot afford to leave their present jobs. An online degree allows them to continue to earn a stream of income while continuing with their education. Besides these two categories, there are many people who consider themselves lifelong learners and would like to engage in some classes for the sake of learning. For such people, online degrees are a great chance to expand their learning without undergoing the efforts required on a traditional campus.

Q:How can I apply for an online degree course?

A:The first step is to figure out which online degree you are interested in pursuing. This can be judged based on your present academic record, work experience and career goals. Most undergraduate degree programs expect you to have completed the equivalent of high school coursework. Graduate study requires the completion of an undergraduate degree. You next need to research schools to find one that will provide you the curriculum, degree program and research opportunities Most schools will allow you to fill out an online form to request more information. This allows you to find out information about specific degree programs that you might be interested in. Before enrolling, schools will ask for attested copies of your past academic records.

Q:Why online is better than on-campus?

A:For many people, online education is a better choice than the on-campus option. Online study is characterized by variety, convenience and flexibility. We live in an age where knowledge workers dominate the economic opportunities. Your best chances for a solid career are to specialize and develop skills in computing, management, healthcare or any other field that requires rigorous training and experience. The online option means you can study while you continue to accumulate work experience through your job. This combination of study and work experience is a powerful asset when you look to grow in your career. Online is also a great option because it helps make you technology savvy and encourages you to use social networking tools. These are highly marketable skills today and students who are in habit of completing work through online channels already have an edge in the job market.

Q:What type of computer do I need to access the online classroom?

A:You need no special technology to access online classrooms. Any desktop or laptop that can operate a word processing program and access the Internet should be perfect for completing your online studies. You would need a reliable and fast internet connection though. A DSL or cable or Wi-fi setup would be ideal to get the kind of download speed you would need to be able to steam lecture videos without being disrupted. You may find a pair of comfortable headsets to be useful to maintain your concentration too.

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