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Your Guide to Going Back to School Online


Do you want to go back and finish your college degree? Maybe you want to go back to grad school and get your masters? Going back to school online can be a good option if you don’t have the time and money to attend classes in person on campus.

But the process of applying to school can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t been through it before. First, you need to decide what you want to study and whether you want to study part time or full time. Then you need to choose a good school and program, get your application in order, and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). While you’re working towards enrolling in classes, develop your time management skills, because you’re going to need them to succeed as a student in an online program.

Decide Whether to Go Part-Time or Full-Time

Before you even begin considering what degree you want to pursue, you should think carefully about how much of your schedule you can clear to make room for classes. Going back to school full-time will get you a degree faster, but going part-time can make it easier to fit academic work into an otherwise busy schedule.

If you have commitments like a family or a mortgage, it will be easier to go to school part-time while you work a full-time job. But if you have your evenings free, and you’re disciplined, you may be able to juggle the demands of a full course load with those of a full-time job. It’s up to you, but make sure you don’t take on more than you can reasonably manage. Remember that you’ll need to make time to nurture relationships and practice self-care.

Research Schools and Programs

What kind of credential will you need in order to reach your career goals? What skills will you need to learn in your degree program in order to get a job in your field? To make sure you get an education that will truly prepare you for work in your chosen field, make sure you only apply to accredited colleges and universities.

Research graduation rates for any program you’re considering and don’t forget to find out what percentage of graduates are employed in the field within six months after graduating. These statistics will tell you how likely it is that a particular degree from a particular school can get you where you want to go professionally. That way you can be more confident that your degree will actually be worth the time and money.

Fill Out the FAFSA

The FAFSA is free and available to students of all ages. It can help your school determine what financial aid you might be eligible for, including grants, scholarships, and subsidized federal loans. Each school will have its own deadline by which you must have filed to FAFSA, so that the financial aid office has time to put your aid offer together. Make sure you meet this deadline in order to qualify for financial aid. Do your best to apply to outside scholarships and grants you might qualify for, too.

Get Your Application Materials in Order

Applying to an online MAcc degree program is going to require all of the same documentation that you would need to provide when applying to attend classes in person. You will have to take entrance exams, like the ACT or the SAT, and you’ll have to provide your school transcripts. If you’re older and have been working a while, a resume can boost your application, especially if it shows work experience in a relevant field. You’ll also need to produce letters of recommendation and you may need to compose an admissions essay explaining why you chose your desired course of study and what you hope to accomplish in the field.

Develop Your Time Management Skills

If you want to succeed as an online student, you’re definitely going to need to develop strong time management skills. You will need to learn to use a planner, alarms, automated reminders, and tracking sheets to keep track of deadlines and manage your time wisely. Sit down at the beginning of the week every week and block out on your schedule the times when you’re going to need to be working on your coursework, then stick to it. Make time for yourself and your family and friends, too. Taking care of yourself can keep you healthy and on track with your academic and professional goals.

With so many online degree options available these days, anyone can go back to school. Online classes can fit into your schedule so you don’t have to rearrange your life to go back to school. Get a degree on your own terms, and advance toward your professional goals.