Distance Learning

Distance learning is not a new way of attending college. For decades students have been able to complete their education requirements via ‘correspondence courses’. This type of distance learning allowed adult students to fulfill their work and family duties while completing their education at home. Today, with the advanced technology available at most universities and in many American homes, students can use their computers to complete a degree in many different majors using distance learning.

With the availability of so many universities, both online and traditional, that have distance learning programs, it may be difficult for a potential student to know which school is right for them. The first thing to check out when one is considering a school’s distance learning program is whether or not the school is accredited. Graduate students need to make sure that the university offers a program that will allow them to practice their profession. Some programs, such as counseling, need to be done through certain schools that have accredited programs and becoming licensed is not possible if a degree is earned through a non-accredited program. Potential students should check the requirements for their state if there is a question. Talking with the distance learning advisor to be sure that the degree you want will actually lead to the career you hope to have is the first important step in distance learning.

Affordability is another concern for students considering a distance learning program. Most distance learning programs cost more than traditional on-campus classes at the same university. The convenience of distance learning has a higher cost. Most distance learning programs qualify for Federal Student Aid. Speaking with the school’s financial aid advisor is key in determining what steps to take to apply for financial aid. For most working adults there are many different types of federal financial aid available.

For some distance learning courses, a proctor will be needed for test taking. Usually this person is another professor at a local college or a teacher at a local grade school. Ministers and other trusted professionals are sometimes used. In some cases, tests must be taken on-campus. Other distance learning programs use open-book tests or rely strictly on the honor system and allow students to test via the internet.

The biggest question of all when considering distance learning as an option for education should be whether or not the student has what it takes to be successful with distance learning. Being a self-starter is extremely important for distance learning students. Most programs work by giving the student a learning contract to be completed in a certain amount of time. All of the work is outline and the student must be motivated to start the work and keep momentum until it is completed. Because many distance learning students are also holding down full-time jobs as well as caring for children or having other commitments outside of their education they have to be able to manage their time well.

Making a schedule for each day and carving out time to concentrate on school work is very important while pursuing a degree via distance learning. Distance learning students should plan to spend some time each day working on their courses. It is much easier to get the work done if it is given attention on a regular basis. If a distance learning student finds that is it not possible to work some each day on their courses, they should set aside larger chunks of time four-five days per week.

Distance learning is a great way to earn a college degree when one has conflicts with attending daily lectures. Successful distance learning does require that students be very motivated to learn and have a good support system at home that allows them to have the time that they will need to work on their distance learning classes.

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