Summary: Many people find the flexibility of an online bachelor degree appealing. The old barriers to getting your degree such as interference with your work schedule or the commute aren't issues with online classes. However, online education carries with it some barriers of its own. Here are four things you absolutely have to have in order to successfully pursue an online bachelor degree. 1: An up-to-date computer. In a traditional, classroom-based environment, no one has to know ...
Many people find the flexibility of an online bachelor degree appealing. The old barriers to getting your degree such as interference with your work schedule or the commute aren't issues with online classes. However, online education carries with it some barriers of its own. Here are four things you absolutely have to have in order to successfully pursue an online bachelor degree.
1: An up-to-date computer. In a traditional, classroom-based environment, no one has to know you wrote your assignments on a ten-year-old computer. The same can't be said for online education. When pursuing your online bachelor degree, your computer will be the most important instrument of your education. You will most likely need recent computer software, as well, such as an Internet browser with which to access your online classes' websites, Microsoft Word for writing assignments, and any industry-specific software pertaining to your classes.
Many libraries and schools have computer labs for the use of patrons and students. However, if you are pursuing an online bachelor degree you are strongly advised not to rely on public computers as your only machines. For one thing, saving files can be extremely tricky, as precautions against viruses prevent many public computers from connecting with data storage devices or downloading files. Also, by depending on a public computer lab you are confining your studies to the lab's hours of operation, eliminating one of the main advantages of an online program: being able to "attend" class and complete coursework at any time of the day or night.
2: Reliable Internet access. You simply cannot pursue any online degree without the ability to get online. High-speed Internet access is also desirable, if not downright necessary. Dial-up Internet access is simply too slow to be very effective in today's virtual world. Because you have to access complicated web pages and transfer large amounts of data, high-speed Internet access will save you a lot of time. Also, dial-up Internet is not always reliable, and the last thing you want while taking a test is to find yourself getting kicked offline.
Many prospective students consider publicly available Internet access, such as WiFi hotspots, as an alternative to having access of their own. However, online students are strongly discouraged from relying solely on being able to access the Internet at another location. For one thing, such a setup takes away all of the advantages of online classes, such as not having to commute and being able to complete coursework at any time of the day or night. Having to travel every time you need to access your class will also make it more difficult to find time to do so, and may result in poorer performance in the class.
3: Time to devote to your education. Although an online bachelor degree is much more flexible than a traditional, classroom-based degree, you still need to be able to set aside enough time for your studies. Unlike a traditional program, however, this can be any time of the day or night. Many schools recommend that you plan to spend three to five hours a week on each class, but this may vary for different programs. Be sure to check with your school to see how much time you should allot each week for each class.
Getting an online bachelor degree admittedly takes a little less time than pursuing a traditional program. This is because you do not have to spend several hours each week sitting in a classroom or commuting back and forth. However, many people make the mistake of assuming online means easy, and fail to realize how much time they will need to commit to their studies.
4: Self-motivation. For most people, probably the most difficult aspect of getting an online bachelor degree is relying on their own motivation to get the work done. In a traditional classroom setting, you have class several times a week and your teacher's reminders to keep you on track with the coursework. You also have the instructor's lectures to help you learn the material. In an online program, however, it will be entirely up to you to learn the material, remember to log in regularly, and keep up on the reading and assignments.
An online bachelor degree has many advantages over traditional degree programs. The flexibility is especially appealing for many people. However, one should not assume that just because online education is more flexible, that means it will also be easier. In order to successfully complete your online bachelor degree, you still need to be able and willing to invest your resources in your education, just as with any traditional degree program.