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7 Essential Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Degree

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If you want to improve your qualifications and career prospects but need to find some balance between your work, life, family, and furthering your career, the good news is that online degree courses are more popular and more accessible than ever before. Studying online is becoming a popular choice for students of all ages and at all educational levels who want to take advantage of the many benefits of online learning. Along with more access to courses that you might not have been able to enrol on due to location, the ability to save money on commuting costs and flexible courses that allow you to take control and learn at times that are most suitable for you, there are certainly many reasons to consider getting your degree online. Degree programs are available online all the way from undergraduate to doctorate degree courses. To choose the right option for you, keep these factors in mind when exploring the range of courses and universities available.

Resources on Offer

One of the first things to consider is the resources that you will be offered to help you succeed as an online student. A course that doesn’t offer that much for online students compared to what students on campus get might not be the best choice for you. Ideally, you should choose a university that exclusively offers online programs or has extensive experience in teaching distance learning students, such as Aston University online where you can get an online DBA and many other exclusively online courses. Consider the learning materials, access to faculty, and student support resources that you will be offered before deciding if a course is the right choice for you.

Student Engagement

At first glance, online learning can seem like quite an isolating experience. And while you probably won’t be out drinking in the student bar every weekend or meeting all of your peers in person at some point, the good news is that a good online program can provide a lot of opportunities for you to engage and socialise with your fellow students. In fact, it is not uncommon for online students to meet some of their future best friends while getting an online degree thanks to the chat rooms, group chats, forums, and other opportunities available for students to get to know each other. If this is something that is important for you, it’s best to avoid any university that doesn’t prioritise connecting students with one another, especially if you want to build your professional network while getting your degree.

Credibility

The credibility of the university and the degree program that you choose to study should be extensively checked before you apply and enrol. Since it’s so easy for anybody to create an online university and offer online courses today, making sure that you’re studying at a credible institution is important for ensuring that your degree is going to be worth something. You can do this by checking sites such as UCAS to make sure that the university appears on there and using university comparison sites to find out more about where the university ranks and what its reputation is like. Check for accreditation from relevant accrediting bodies in the UK.

Flexibility

Another major factor to be sure of before you decide to enrol on any online degree program is just how flexible this course is going to be. If you are currently working full-time, then the last thing that you want is to end up studying for a degree where you’re required to be online for live virtual lectures at 9AM every morning. Online degree courses vary when it comes to the flexibility that they offer, so one of the first things that you should do is make sure that you’re fully aware of how much control you’re going to get over your study schedule. It’s also worth considering just how flexible you need it to be. If you work evenings, for example, then you might be fine to do a course where you need to be online during the day. But on the other hand, if you’re going to be juggling working a 9-5 job with raising a family while getting your degree, complete flexibility will usually be the way forward.

Course Content

Before you commit to a certain online degree, it’s worth taking the time to look over the curriculum offered and make sure that the course content is not only what you expected, but also what you’re going to need to meet the goals for getting your degree online. Any good university that offers online courses will provide further information about each course that they offer and the kind of content that you can expect as a student, including any elective or optional modules that you can study along with the core course content.

Experience

It’s worth looking for a university that has offered online programs for quite some time. While more and more universities in the UK are now offering distance learning programs due to the COVID19 and the higher demand, you could end up struggling if you choose a university that’s still starting out and getting used to delivering distance learning courses. Ideally, go for a university that’s leading the way when it comes to online learning.

Funding and Fees

For the most part, getting an online degree will be the same price as a campus-based degree. It’s worth checking out the fees and funding options before you apply for your course. See if you are eligible for a student loan or grant. If you’re studying part-time, you will usually pay less per year compared to studying full-time, but you may not be able to get a grant to help with your living costs as a student. It’s also worth checking if the university offers any additional financial support you could use. Some offer flexible payment options for students who are self-funding while others have grants that you can apply for based on your circumstances. Online study is becoming easier to access, and for many people it’s the best way to get a degree. Be sure to consider these important factors before choosing the right online degree course for you.