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Higher Education: The Best Online Options

Jan 13, 2014 09:52PM ● By Erin Frisch

Many people choose to continue their educations after taking a hiatus. That may mean they finished high school but didn’t go directly to college; they started college but didn’t finish for any number of reasons; or they decided that continuing their education was not a priority for one reason or another. It is hard to deny the benefits of a college education, but it isn’t possible for everyone to go the traditional route of attending a bricks-and-mortar school with a campus and classrooms. Work, family commitments, hectic schedules, and more can make getting to a classroom at a specific time an overwhelming feat. But you don’t have to give up your dream! Online education is no longer the future—it’s available now. With more online colleges gaining accreditation and offering a variety of degrees, it is easier than ever to get an education from your living room (or kitchen table, office, or wherever you prefer). Read on to find out about some of the top accredited online colleges.

Completely Online – No Campus

● Walden University. Walden has been around for over 40 years and provides education all the way through the doctoral level as well as certificate level education and individual courses. It has an extensive number of bachelor’s degree programs and majors in different areas (child development, forensic psychology, human services, information technology, to name a few). Most of the student population is satisfied with the education they receive through Walden and would recommend Walden University to others. One notable aspect of this school is that they will work with each student individually to determine tuition costs based on the student’s specific needs so that you can avoid graduating with massive debt.

● Capella University. Capella has been offering online education for 20 years at all levels. Bachelor’s degree options include business, health care, psychology, information technology, nursing, and public safety. Higher degrees include education, social work, health care, and more. Capella offer 5-, 10-, and 12-week course options and a “flex-path” program with certain majors that gives you the freedom to move as quickly or as slowly as you want; coursework is tailored to your learning speed. Capella also offers a free weeklong mini course to help you figure out if online learning works for you—a “try-before- you-buy” option!

Completely Online but with Physical Campuses

Some people feel more comfortable knowing that their online education has the backing of a school with a program they can attend at a physical campus. The following programs offer all the required coursework for program completion via distance education courses that incorporate Internet-based learning technologies. On campus orientation may be required. Test-taking is generally done online, but some programs may require an in-person proctor either on campus or at a site previously approved in your area.

● Pace University. Admission is rolling for both US residents and international students. All classes are recorded and archived online, so students can access lecture material at their convenience. The maximum class size is 20, and instructors teaching the courses online have an average of 10 years experience doing so, so you are less likely to hit snags and have communication problems as you might with instructors who are less familiar with the online format. Pace offers bachelor’s degrees in business studies, communications, and technology, as well as associate degrees in arts and sciences. Federal financial aid only is available.

● St. John’s University. Admission here is also rolling, and all classes are recorded and archived online for access at the student’s convenience. The maximum class size is 25, but the average online teaching experience of instructors is just two years. However, this school offers a wider variety of degrees with the most popular majors being liberal arts and sciences, criminal justice/law enforcement administration, and business administration and management. Both institutional and federal financial aid are offered.

● Daytona State College. Similarly, Daytona state offers rolling admission and recorded and archived classes. The maximum class size here is 35 students, and instructors have an average of 10 years of online teaching experience. Top majors include business administration, management, and operations, as well as engineering technologies and other related engineering fields. Institutional and financial aid are available. What really makes this school stand out is that, being a public institution, it offers in-state tuition for its online program, which most private college programs do not.

In addition to these, there are numerous options for accredited online education at any level from certificate programs all the way through doctoral degrees. Online education is a great way to continue learning within the constraints of your busy life, but each program is different, and one may appeal more to your method of learning than another. These are some of the best online learning options available, but do your research to find out which one best meets your needs before you apply.

Did we leave any out? Let us know if you have any online programs that you would suggest.

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