There are many online degree programs available, and the online degree options increase every day. Online education is providing a more flexible and affordable path to academic and career development. People often question whether or not the online programs are as rigorous as their traditional degree program equivalents. The short answer is that some of them are as rigorous, and some of them are not. This article will explain how to choose an online degree program that fits your needs and goals.
Don’t Expect a Cake Walk
Keep in mind that higher education is supposed to be rigorous, so rigor is something you should look for in an online degree program. Also keep in mind that it is a myth that traditional programs are always more rigorous than online programs. The flexibility that online programs offer does not necessarily translate to easier or smaller workloads. In fact, online programs are more rigorous in the amount of reading and writing to be completed, and in the technological skill requirements for successfully completing electronic assessments.
Online programs are also more rigorous in the aspects of time management and accountability. You must motivate yourself to set and keep a work schedule without the face-to-face reminders of a traditional educational setting. Click here for an article published by U.S. News with helpful tips for how to boost your success in a rigorous online program.
Networking Still Matters
Online degree programs also require a more rigorous system of resourcefulness and networking. If you have chosen a high quality online program, you will be using the same textbooks, reading the same articles, and learning the same material as students in high quality traditional programs. This means that you will have questions and need to seek collaboration. You will have to set aside time and put extra effort into connecting with your professors and peers. You will not have a physical campus library and physical offices to visit for instructional support resources and academic counseling. A quality online degree program will still offer all of these services, but you will need to be more proactive in seeking them out.
Do Your Homework
Ensuring that your online degree program is as rigorous as a traditional program is largely up to you. Research an equivalent traditional program that you know is respectable. Compare course descriptions and course requirements. Compare the textbooks and other learning materials assigned. Compare professors’ biographies and curriculum vitae. Read student reviews of the professors. Check to see what accreditations the online program has, specifically whether or not it has the proper ones for the career you are working towards. Click here for a useful website designed by the U.S. Department of Education to search accreditation information for any institution.
Not all online degree programs are as rigorous as some traditional degree programs, but the one you choose should be. Do thorough research to find an online program that will meet your unique needs while challenging you intellectually. Prepare for the added rigor of planning and personal accountability. Follow the guidelines in this article to ensure that you have the same chance at a successful career as students of traditional degree programs.