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Are accelerated online courses right for me?

July 15, 2019 3:36pm

Online degree programs have caught on in recent years. As working adults with families look to return to school, their flexibility makes them an attractive option. They are in fact extremely convenient, offering learners the ability to complete their coursework on their own schedules and finish their degrees more quickly. However, accelerated programs are demanding and anyone thinking of enrolling in one should seriously ask themselves if they are up for the challenge.

Am I self-motivated?

While you won’t be without an instructor, you will be without a set class time when taking online classes. This means you have to be self-disciplined and motivated enough to complete your coursework on your own and carve out enough study time into your schedule. Time must be set aside in order to stay on top of due dates, projects, papers, and other coursework. Instructors are there to facilitate the course and help out when needed, but keeping up with classroom work and staying organized will be something you have to stay on top of.

Do I have the right technical skills?

You don’t have to be a computer expert to attend college courses online. However, you do need to have a few basic computer knowledge and skills, and knowledge of navigating the Internet in order to be successful. Anyone considering an online college education should also have dependable Internet access, a reliable laptop, and access to printers and scanners when necessary. As long as you can check those boxes, you should be able to manage your coursework with minimal issues. Many colleges will provide learners with an online orientation in order to familiarize them with their coursework format and learning management system. Whether this is optional or mandatory, it’s in your best interest to take advantage of these offerings in order to put your best foot forward.

Can I find the time?

The payoff of enrolling in an accelerated online degree program is earning your degree much faster. This saves you money on tuition and gets you into your career and earning more money sooner. However, accelerated programs mean you have to have more time to study. Since classes can be offered in six or eight-week increments, this makes them more intense. You can expect to devote an average of 15 to 20 hours per week per course on studying. Can you do this? Absolutely! But you have to be willing to find the time. This can be challenging if you are married, currently serving in the military or have a spouse serving, have children, have a full-time job, etc. There are tools, such as a Time Management Worksheet and online webinars that you can refer to for help. The truth is you will have to make some sacrifices to be successful in shorter college classes. The good news is those sacrifices won’t last long and WILL pay off on graduation day.

You might also enjoy reading these articles:

Signs it’s Time to Finish Your Degree
What to Look for When Choosing an Online Degree
How to Make College More Affordable

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