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Online Learning Looking Good

May 21, 2008
Many colleges offer online courses for their students. Originally these classes were only popular with students who had to leave school for family or medical emergencies, but now they are widely used by young students and older adults who want to earn their degree but either lack the freedom or desire to attend classes on a college campus.

Limitations that often prevent students from earning their degree include time constraints, insufficient financial means or geographical boundaries. Fortunately, online learning can help people in all of these situations. For example, learning on your own time at home allows a lot of people, who need to work during the day, the chance to take classes they would otherwise have to forego because they are only taught during working hours. Or, if a student can afford the classes, but not the expense of moving to a new area and renting an apartment, online learning solves the problem again by allowing them to stay put. And, since online classes can be sent to a Podunk little town as easily as they can be sent to a big city, geographical boundaries are eliminated too.

Online learning also provides students with a lot of freedom. Instead of being bound to a class schedule and the pace of an entire class, online students can study where, when and how they like. If they want, students can even put extra time into a class to complete the course work earlier than required. Unfortunately, most people tend to procrastinate their online courses rather than propel them forward. Along with the added freedom comes a greater amount responsibility. If you don't have self-discipline, online courses can be a disaster.

If online learning does seem like a good fit for you though, you need to find an accredited online school that offers classes in your field of interest. You can search for schools by their rank, the programs they offer, or the degrees they award, but the most important thing you should look for is their accreditation. There are several unaccredited school, sometimes referred to as diploma mills, that offer students a degree after they complete a few short online courses. These schools usually offer cheaper and shorter programs, but every penny you spend on them is a waste of money because the degrees they send out are unaccredited and worthless. They won't hold up when you apply to other schools and they won't be honored by the employers you want to impress. So make sure you compile a list of online colleges that can give out accredited degrees when you are trying to decide which program to pursue.
About the Author
For a list of colleges that reward accredited degrees to their students, visit Degree Search (http://degreesearch.org/portal/schools). This website also has a lot of information on the benefits and possible drawbacks of online learning. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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