Once you’ve chosen a school and a degree program you feel will contribute to your career success, here’s how to initiate a distance education course:
- Find out if you can transfer credits you’ve already earned elsewhere. Schools have varying policies on which courses they will count towards the degree you will earn from them, and on how many credits they’ll transfer from each particular course. Talk to your academic advisor about it.
- Find out if you can get a refund if you don’t complete your course(s). Ask about getting your money back if you have to stop before completing the course, and whether or not you can re-start your education if you have to take some time off from it.
- Ask if your degree will be the same as what your school grants on-campus students. Some schools offer a variety of degrees. Make sure your online degree isn’t a second-tier one.
- Find out which tests you need to take to apply. Most, though not all schools will want to see an SAT score for undergraduate applicants and a GMAT, LSAT or other professional aptitude test for graduate programs.
- Prepare and submit your application. In most cases you’ll need to send in a transcript of your past school grades and a letter of recommendation – preferably from a teacher you have studied under in the past. Make sure your application and all accompanying materials are carefully written and proof-read. Nothing can kill your chances of getting in faster than an application full of misspellings and bad grammar. On the other hand, don’t be too slick and professional with your essay. School admissions officers like to see essays that have a genuine, personal feel.
- Get any financial aid applications done as early as possible. Whether you’re applying for financial aid from your employer or the state or federal government, get your applications in as early as possible, so you’ll know exactly how much you will have to pay for before you actually start school.