College Degree Programs: Find One Online

There are countless college degree programs in existence and with a degree becoming increasingly necessary to land a job at a decent salary, millions of people are trying to choose the one that's right for them. 

If you're one of these people, look no further than the computer you're reading this on right now.  Just about any program of study imaginable, from astronomy to zoology, can now be accessed online, thanks to the World Wide Web.  In fact, more and more traditional colleges and universities offer college degree programs online as an extension of their educational mission.

The opportunities for online study are practically endless, and more become available every week.  A few decades ago this would have been impossible to imagine, as most people had never heard of the Internet.  Even just a few years ago, as the Internet took off in popularity most people didn't recognize its potential as a game changer by making college degree programs available online. Sure, there were a few schools offering college degree programs online, but for the most part the degrees were limited to business or general studies.  There simply weren't that many options if you wanted to earn a degree over the Internet.

In the last few years, though, that has changed radically.  Online degree programs are exploding.  As more and more people are enrolling in them, more and more programs are being created online to meet this growing demand.  That's tremendous news for everyone looking to improve their education.  Today it's possible to earn an online degree in just about every concentration imaginable without leaving the comfort of your own home.  No matter what your chosen field of study is, no matter if you're interested in an associate, bachelor, or a graduate degree, there are now a multitude of college degree programs online to choose from.

Is an Online College Degree for You?

If you're considering going back to school, you've surely seen many an ad offering online degrees.  If you're like most people, the convenience of getting a college degree over the Internet is no doubt very appealing to you, especially if you're older and have already started a family. 

Picking up roots and going to a traditional college would mean a drastic change to your way of life, and even attending a local community college would put all kinds of stress on your home and family life, to say nothing of your job.  There's a bunch of different reasons that online universities are becoming so popular.  It’s important, though, to be realistic. Online study is not the universal answer.  Not everyone has the drive and determination it takes to earn a degree online. 

Do you have what it takes?  You'll need to take an honest look at yourself to answer that question, because you're the only person who can.  Getting online college degree will take a lot of self-discipline.  You'll be studying at home, on the computer, and you will constantly be surrounded by real and potential distractions.  If you have a family, life will be going on all around you while you study, but you'll have to continue to focus on your studies through the daily minor catastrophes.  It will also be extremely easy (and tempting) to surf the Internet, play video games, watch funny videos, chat with friends, check your favorite social networking sites, and so on.  If you can't resist these temptations, then it's going to be difficult for you to complete a college degree online.

You will also need to be a self-starter with a high degree of motivation. There will be nights when you won't feel like studying, and would prefer to watch a ball game or a sitcom.  That won't work if you're going to complete your degree.  You’ll need to be able to set a fixed and firm schedule, and then stick to it religiously.  You'll also need to be able to deal with spending a lot of time alone if you're going to make online study work.  You'll need all these qualities if you hope to earn an online college degree.  If you're lacking them, you better start developing them now, or just accept the fact that traditional college is a better choice for you.

What Is a Distance Learning College Degree?

If you're considering pursuing a college degree, you’ve probably run across the term distance learning college degree and wondered what it was.  The term refers to a college degree earned without the student physically being on campus.  Several decades ago it meant a college degree earned by correspondence study through the mail.  The student received the lesson plans by mail, completed the coursework, and then sent it back to the school via the Post Office.

However, with the growth of the Internet, distance learning college degree programs have migrated online. This is simpler, faster, and more convenient than correspondence.  There are no long delays as both sides wait for materials to arrive, and there's zero danger of a student's hard work being misplaced or damaged by the Post Office.  Lessons can be read online or downloaded and printed out.  The Internet has truly revolutionized college education, and we're only at the beginning of this revolution.  Some experts say that traditional brick and mortar colleges will become extinct, as they’re just too inefficient compared to online study.

In fact, if you're considering getting a college degree, an online degree program may well be your best option.  You can get your degree much faster than you would by attending a traditional college or university, and depending on which program you choose, you can do it at a significantly lower cost.  It's not necessary to leave home and family, and if you have a job you want to keep while you improve your education, there’s no problem.  Plus, degrees from online universities are as respectable as those from traditional schools.  Whether you call it an online college degree or a distance learning college degree, it's a great way to go back to school. 

Do a College Degree Search Before Choosing a Program

It's imperative that you do a college degree search before deciding which college or university to attend, and what major to pursue.  Did you know that the average person who earns a bachelor's degree takes more than four years to accomplish it?  It's true; it now takes the average college student over five years to complete a degree, and it won't be long before that number is over six years.  A big part of the problem is that every year, thousands of students enroll in colleges that aren't a good fit for them, or after attending some classes they realize that they want to major in something different.  This results in long delays in completing their college degrees. While it can't always be helped, in many cases a college degree search could have prevented the wasted time and money.

Using the power of the Internet, it's easy to explore colleges and majors in depth before committing to a particular school.  Every legitimate college or university has a website set up that's packed with information you can use to weed out those that won't be a good fit, create a short list of the best schools and majors for you, and narrow the decision down to the one that's just right.  Not long ago, this would have meant spending countless hours thumbing through hundreds of college catalogs, but now it can all be done with a few clicks of the mouse.  You can compare the curriculum requirements of one college versus another for the major you want; this is vitally important information, because each school has its own focus when it comes to courses.  Some will offer courses that are right up your alley, while others will give you the basics but leave you hungry for more.

You should also compare tuition costs, room and board, extracurricular activities, campus life, and so forth.  Going to school for four years at College A can be an entirely different experience than going to School B or C, and you can learn a lot about what it will be like over the Internet.  There is an unbelievable amount of information available online about colleges and universities, and you're cheating yourself if you don't take advantage of it by doing a college degree search before embarking on your college career.

The Importance of Accredited College Degrees

If you're thinking of getting an online degree, keep in mind that accredited college degrees are the only kind you should consider pursuing.  Accredited schools are those that have been approved by an outside educational authority after a thorough examination of curriculum and faculty has proved the school is legitimate and capable of offering quality education.  A degree from an accredited online college or university will be regarded by prospective employers as the real deal, on a par with a degree earned at a traditional college.  If the school is unaccredited, you'll have a tough time getting anyone to give you the time of day, because the school is likely to be regarded as a diploma mill.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that many fake colleges and universities are well aware that they need to be accredited in order to attract students, so many of them have set up phony accrediting agencies to lend themselves a stamp of approval.  Needless to say, their diplomas won't be seen as accredited college degrees.  How can you tell the difference?  Just do a little investigating.  There are many websites that list real, legitimate accrediting organizations, so it's easy to find out which agencies are on the up and up, and which are simply paper outfits created to fool unsuspecting consumers with their impressive sounding names.  Fortunately, there aren't that many of these fake colleges around anymore as people have gotten wise to the scam and the Internet makes it simple to check these schools out.  Some people are still getting fooled, however, so make sure that the school you're looking at offers legitimate, accredited college degrees before you spend a dime.

Last Updated: 07/28/2014