For some of us a Bachelor’s Degree is exactly what we set out to achieve and what we need for the career we have dreamed of. For others, grad school is not only important but a requirement of their career choice. When I decided to go to grad school my first thought was, “How am I going to do this while working a full time job?” That is the question that I am sure goes through everyone’s mind when it comes time to pursue a graduate education. While many universities offer evening programs for this purpose, there is another route that can be taken: online education.
Yes, there are absolutely some less than stellar online universities that are not necessarily going to impress a future employer; but there are also some fantastic universities that offer an online option for graduate (and undergraduate) students who may not be able to fit a structured in-class situation into their already intense schedule.
Online work may seem daunting and a bit scary to some people. It requires self-discipline, the ability to learn visually and independently, and impeccable organization. From personal experience I can say, if you remain organized it is not only possible but preferable due to convenience.
Some helpful hints:
- Make a schedule each week – what is due that week, when it needs to be done by, when you can block out time for studying/writing papers and discussion posts, etc.
- Stick to your schedule as best as possible!
- Do not wait until the weekend to do your work. Trust me, it is incredibly stressful and very easy to fall behind.
- Do the required reading. It can feel overwhelming, but online learning is very much a self-directed experience so the reading needs to be completed to ensure that you know the material. You want to be competent, not just sail through. Do you want a doctor who barely passed his classes, or a doctor who graduated at the top?
- If you are working full-time stick to 1-2 classes per semester. It can be tempting to take more to just get it done, but honestly each class requires about 15 hours of work per week on average. Take what you know you can handle and work up from there.
Online education used to be kind of a joke but there are many, not only accredited but acclaimed, universities that offer entirely online degree programs. For someone who wants to take that extra step in their education and work full-time as well, it is certainly a viable route to take.