As the popularity of online education continues to grow, an increasing number of students are taking advantage of the built-in convenience and flexibility of getting an online college degree.
Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States, a comprehensive 2013 annual survey of online education in the U.S. by the Babson Survey Research Group, reported that the number of students taking at least one online course increased from the previous year’s survey results by more than 411,000 to a new high of 7.1 million.
Based on responses from a sampling of 2,300 colleges and universities, the Babson survey also reported that a growing majority of chief academic officers rated the learning outcomes for online instruction as the same or better than face-to-face instruction. In 2003, the majority was 57%; by 2013, it had increased to 77%.*
It’s an exciting time for online education, so it’s no wonder you are considering enrolling in an online college degree program.
There are several key factors that can fuel your success as an online student, whether you are pursuing a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, PhD, or professional doctoral degree:
Interest in a Global Perspective – If you’re curious about your profession on an international scale, you will be thrilled with how easily online learning connects you with fellow students from diverse cultures. Online coursework provides many opportunities to collaborate and exchange ideas and experiences with your global counterparts. Your unique position will expose you to an incredible depth of knowledge and insight on an international scale that is certain to enrich your online college experience.
Too Busy to Attend On-Campus Classes – If you’re currently working full time, yet need a degree to advance your career and increase your salary, an online degree program may be the only way you can fit coursework and studying into your busy life. This is excellent motivation for choosing and appreciating the value of an online college degree program.
Your Comfort Level With Computers and Technology – If you regularly use a computer at work and spend your free time shopping online, e-mailing, posting on Facebook, or paying bills, your comfort with computers will make you equally as comfortable learning online, too. There are certain computer system requirements for online courses, so be sure to find out what is required for your chosen online degree coursework.
Being Self-Motivated – Traditional on-campus classes are structured at a set time every week, so you have to attend whether you want to or not. Your professor is there in person as a constant reminder of your obligations and deadlines. By contrast, as an online college student, you’ll need to motivate yourself to do homework and complete assignments on time. Nobody is going to stand over you and make you do it. You’ll have many opportunities to participate in forums with other students in your class and comment on their papers and reports. And you’ll also be able to e-mail your professor with any questions or concerns you may have.
Time Management – If you’re like many working adult students, effectively balancing your time between work and family, online coursework will help set the stage for your success. It’s important to set aside a realistic amount of time to devote to your studies. Even though online degrees are more flexible by design than traditional campus-based degree programs, you still have to make the time to be a good student.
Being Organized – It’s critically important to be organized about your coursework, your homework assignments, and your due dates. You simply can’t perform at your best if you’re writing an important paper at 2 o’clock in the morning after a long day at work. If you don’t have an offline or online organizer (e.g., Microsoft Outlook), be sure to buy one to record your schedule and important due dates.
Check your College’s Accreditation – Not all online degree programs are accredited, so you’ll need to confirm regional accreditation of your program of choice. Current and future employers look for this distinction because accreditation recognizes the high standards established by the institution. For example, Walden University is an accredited online university that had its accreditation reaffirmed for 10 more years in 2013 by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Check Into Degree Acceleration Credits – With guidance from Walden University’s Center for Degree Acceleration, you may be able to transfer up to 75% of the required credits for your bachelor’s degree or up to 50% for your graduate degree from previous and current work, life, and military experience.
Walden University, an accredited institution, has been serving the higher education needs of adult learners for 45 years. Today, more than 47,800 students from all 50 U.S. states and more than 150 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees or certificates online at Walden.
Explore Walden University's online college degree programs and specialized certificate programs that fit your career goals. Earn your degree at a pace that fits your life and schedule.
*Babson Survey Research Group, “Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States,” on the Internet at www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/gradechange.pdf (viewed online May 5, 2015).