Every day in every way our lives are becoming more and more complicated. Let's face it, life is hectic! We work. We have spouses and possibly children. We have religious and social commitments. It's a never-ending merry-go-round of activities. How, then, can we possibly manage--no matter how great our need or desire for an advanced degree--to attend and complete graduate school?
Finding the time and the energy for graduate studies is an issue for most people. If you're working or have a family, the few hours in your life that remain unclaimed are very precious to you. However, if you are truly committed to obtaining an advanced degree, you can find a way to earn it without giving up too much of your life to the process.
We're all familiar with traditional education--you commute back and forth from work or home each day to a large university campus to sit in a classroom for 2 1/2 to 3 hours two or more days a week. Then you spend untold hours each week in libraries and computer labs researching and writing. Oh, how this wreaks havoc with your schedule! But there are other ways to pursue your studies.
Many public and private (both non-profit and for-profit) universities are moving courses, and sometimes even entire degree programs, into an online environment. Your whole educational process, from admissions through your terminal course work, is conducted via phone, fax, e-mail and the web. What a wonderful concept!
Before you rush off to enroll, however, stop a moment and consider whether or not virtual learning is right for you.
- Is the class or program of study offered by an accredited university?
- Does this university have a solid reputation in the field in which you will pursue your coursework or degree?
- What sort of training do the instructors have?
- How long will it take to complete a course or program of study?
- Are all of the classes taught online or will you need to attend a real classroom some of the time?
- Is the class taught in real-time (meaning you'd have to log on during specific hours/times/days), or is time management up to me?
- How much will it cost me?
- And, finally, is there any financial aid available to me?
If, after working through all of these questions, you find yourself fully satisfied with the answers, then the online course or degree program is probably a good match for you. If not, weekend or accelerated degree programs may be your answer. If all else fails, its time to sit down and rearrange your schedule and make time for the traditional graduate program.
Whichever program you pursue, however you pursue it, its the end product that makes the means easier to swallow. If you are truly committed to obtaining an advanced degree, you can find a way.
Until next time! Good luck and good will, Lynn.