A bachelor’s degree is the recognition a student gets after the successful completion of an undergraduate program. Applying for a bachelor’s degree is a huge step in every student’s life. Earlier, there used to be limited courses, based on which one had to apply to colleges and then shift to a new location. It was expensive, and working professionals had to quit their job to upgrade their skill sets. However, with changing times, getting an online bachelor’s degree is more promising for students and working professionals as well.
Now aspiring candidates have more options to choose from a plethora of online programs. These online degrees allow every candidate to get a quality education from business to history to nursing. Selecting an online degree can be daunting with so many choices. One has to decide the right course that helps progress further in professional life. So, how to choose the best online bachelor’s degree? We are here to help you with sound tips to find the right distance learning bachelor’s degree. Keep Reading.
#1. Research and find your Field of Interest
The first and most important step before finalizing an online program is researching the area of interest. Deciding the course should depend not just on the university reputation but also on a person’s area of interest. It would be best if you consider the subjects that looked more interesting during school times than others. Start by preparing a list of the top three favorite subjects that you were good at, subjects you didn’t like, and subjects you were curious about. You can give the least priority to the boring subjects and keep the rest two rows as the highest priority. These two rows will help in narrowing down the courses that you can explore. An ideal online course should fulfill both objectives: “an area that you are passionate about and “a career that is high in demand”, preparing one for employment opportunities. This area of study is a balance of your passion and market demand.
Some of the most popular field for you to consider are:
- Computer science
- Applied Science
- Social Science
An article estimates that by 2026 there will be a 15 percent growth in the healthcare industry. The field of computer sciences will also see a 13 percent growth by 2026. It is also fascinating to note that 19% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in a year is from business discipline, i.e., either marketing, accounting, HR, or administration.
Research thoroughly and collect these data before deciding a field that you should choose to sharpen the skills.
#2. Select the University/School
Once you decide the field of study, it is time to pick a university. The following are the various factors that govern the quality of online education.
Research well on the online reputation of the university or school. Alumni students share their experience in groups and forums that help the upcoming students batch. Students, after their course completion, also share their post-graduation employment opportunities after the program. Going through these reviews is an excellent way to find out the reputation of a school.
Support basically tells you how keen the school is helping a student with their issues. Is the school taking steps to improve online programs, interactions among students, and placements? Knowing whether the school will take steps to resolve student course-related issues is also an essential parameter before enrolling.
- Financial Aid
Online courses are less expensive than taking a course in a traditional college. Yet, you must always look up for schools that provide financial aid like scholarships based on merit or help with a student loan. Call the university and ask them if they have any such policy of providing financial assistance.
This is an important parameter that shows the status owned by the school, indicating that it is a legitimate institute and maintains the standards set by an accrediting agency. Accrediting agencies look for different school attributes to see that it sticks with the mission of better educating and serving the students. This is important because, during job interviews, employers like to recruit people with a degree from accredited schools.
One can also go through CollegeConsensus that lists the top colleges and universities along with student reviews. There is also a list of top 100 small colleges ranked in consensus. These colleges have small class groups, and their professors and advisors are more involved in every student’s success.
#3. Assess Costs
Even though enrolling for an online course is much economical, it is crucial to consider the expenses involved. A significant advantage of undertaking an online course is that you can eliminate the opportunity cost(relocation, leaving job income). But you still have to consider tuition fees, cost of books and supplies. The tuition fees will largely depend on the university and the program chosen. You should analyze if there is a requirement of loans or chances of getting a scholarship. Student loans come with a lot of pressure as you have to reimburse it with the job income. To avoid this immense pressure parents sometimes opt to take out a parent plus loan for their kids. This solution is faster and the student doesn’t have to worry about making monthly payments. On the other hand, the rates for parent plus loans are much higher and should be dealt with as soon as possible with options like refinancing.
After enrolling in a program, you have to purchase books and supplies, even if it is an online course. Browse online if you can get pdf and digital versions of the books, which will reduce the expenses.
Bonus Tip: Ask Questions
Well, the significant steps are the ones discussed above. But we know that enrolling in an online course can still be a little overwhelming as it is a huge investment both time and money-wise. So, it is okay to discuss with a career counselor about your choice. Most colleges have enrollment advisers that guide online students to decide a course that will help in their career path. It is always comforting when someone with knowledge in your interest area guides you through the decision-making process.
As you struggle between deciding how to manage work, school, and family, career counselors can build a schedule and tell you an estimate of required time commitment.
In the end, the right online bachelor’s degree is the one that interests you and provides employment opportunities as well. Following the above-mentioned tips will help you in tracking down the right course. There are endless online portals that can guide you through information on an online degree. Keep an open mind, be flexible, and take time to research thoroughly. Once your area of interest is clear, narrowing down to university becomes easy.