Online degrees have come a long way and are now an excellent option for those interested in pursuing their degree. You may want to save money by continuing to live at home instead of going into the city and then having to rent out an expensive accommodation option. You may already have a degree and want to specialize further or change careers entirely and don’t need the on-campus college experience.
There are many reasons why you would prefer to choose an online degree over attending a campus degree. From safety to cost to convenience, the options just continue to pile up.
The one consideration, however, is how you can make the most out of your online degree. This isn’t something that is unique to online degrees, either. Many students don’t get the most out of their degrees, period. This is because what you learn in your curriculum is just the start of what your university or college experience can offer you.
What to Look for: Choosing the Right Online Degree
The best way to ensure you are getting the most out of your online degree is to pick the right degree from the outset. If the career you want to get into after you graduate requires a license, then you will need to check that the degree you apply for is not only accredited but also accredited by a body that your state recognizes. Other than that, being open to where you apply can help open doors and be the perfect way to find the perfect degree that aligns with your goals and values.
Covers the Right Curriculum
It is always a good idea to have an understanding of your subject and what it is that you are most interested in. The good news is that course examples, if not the full list of course options, are typically published by the university or college for you. You can ask for this list if it’s not easily available online, so you can go through and see exactly what courses you would want to take.
You won’t want to decide solely on this, but you will want to use the number of courses you are really excited about as a way to shortlist your options.
Has an Excellent Faculty
The faculty who teach you also matter. You will want to look up reviews from other students and even their own resumes and CVs, which you can typically find online. If someone teaching you has worked in your dream job, you’ll have an excellent educator, you will also potentially have a mentor that can help you with your own career goals.
Done with the Right Focus
There are many, many ways to approach each degree. You can have a psychology degree that primarily focuses on research and a more clinical approach to the human mind. You can opt for a Christian psychology degree that combines Christian values and holistic care with psychology and mental health concepts and care. There are numerous ways you can approach the same topic, and finding a course that matches the direction you want to take your education and your career can play a huge part in how much value you get out of your degree.
Has a Reputable Platform
One of the reasons online degrees only recently became popular is that the education platform had been very outdated. Due to quarantines and lockdowns around the world, however, massive investment had to be made by both universities and third-party developers, so today, the online education platform you will be using is going to be intuitive and engaging. If you can, of course, always compare the educational platform between providers. If you find one that is outright hostile to use, consider giving that online degree a pass.
Use All Available Services
Every university offers services like student success coaches, careers services, and more. Take note of all the available services you have access to as an online student, what they can do, and who to get in touch with. You will want to be in frequent contact with these student services to get more out of your degree. Not only can these services help you perform better in your degree, but they can also get you started on your career even before you graduate by sending internship opportunities your way, to even getting in touch with their own network to see about job openings you could apply for before they are sent to the public job boards.
Engage and Participate with Student-Led Projects and Activities
Just because you are attending online does not mean that you are barred from societies, though they may look different than you are used to. If your university has a social board, stay engaged with it. There may be meet-ups in your area, fun projects, and more. You could even organize your own project or idea and have your peers meet up for a fun in-person event that can help you meet new people, make friends, and even build on your own resume.
Build a Study Group
Connecting with peers is very important, even if you are working online. In fact, engagement and interaction with peers are one of the reasons why online degrees today work. Remote and distanced learning has been around for over a hundred years, but before the late 90s, when online degrees really started taking off, there was a massive lack of engagement with peers. Learning together in a social setting can help improve teamwork, help develop ideas, and is a great component towards enjoying your degree altogether.
Build a study group by getting in touch with your other online peers and splitting up the work, organizing zoom study sessions, having a group chat where you can ask questions and advice, and even just vent and blow some steam. For the best results, do all of the above!
Getting the most out of your online degree means choosing the right degree, using all available resources, and connecting with your peers. This is how you will learn better, enjoy the experience better, and also kickstart your career.