dcsimg



Schools in the USA

About Online Colleges

While most post-secondary institutions in the US are proud of being part of a long historical tradition, online colleges are proud of just the opposite. Distance and correspondence courses have been around for a long time, but online or e-learning has only developed in the last 20 years or so and continues to grow. A recent national conference on educational technology predicted that by 2019, more than half of all post-secondary courses will be offered online. Online colleges can be community or career colleges offering vocational training designed to get students ready for direct-entry into employment, or universities offering everything from professional certificates to doctorate degrees&all with the click of a mouse and a lot of regular university-style hard work. So what does this relatively new and growing tradition of online study have to offer you, and why should you consider it as well as the oh-so-hyped campus-based universities and colleges? Read on.

Definition
There are many ways to study online. Some options include stand-alone online schools, online divisions of major campus-based universities or colleges, specialty schools in fields such as business, education, nursing, criminal justice, legal studies, art or health care. They can be big private companies running different programs in the US and Canada, individual private career colleges, divisions of public state universities, divisions of private campus-based universities, faith-affiliated institutions. Yes, there are Christian and Catholic online colleges! Accredited online universities and colleges provide degree programs, including bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees as well as shorter academic certificates and diplomas. These programs are designed to be equivalent to the credentials offered at traditional campus-based colleges in everything except the requirements of time and place. Online colleges also offer individual courses for those looking to fill gaps in their education, and bachelor's completion for those with an associate's degree is also one of the main programs offered at online colleges.

Delivery
How does it all work? First you have to find the right program and school for you: there's a lot of variety in the kind of courses and the way they are provided. Subject areas at the undergraduate level include education, human services, business administration, management, information technology, psychology, religious studies, security, criminal justice, fine and applied arts, design, fashion, liberal arts, real estate studies, hospitality management, sports and health sciences, and more. Some of the possible degrees you can pursue are Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Applied Science (AAS), Associate of Science (AS), Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS), Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). You can also take shorter certificates and diploma programs (as little as 9 months) in a wide variety of the above fields of study. Specialization options are also available within a degree: for example, you can earn an Associate of Science in accounting, business administration, general studies, or paralegal studies. Or, in the Bachelor of Science in Accounting, you can pursue a concentration in finance, international business, project management, human resources management, marketing, etc. In terms of time, the pace may be largely up to you or set more rigidly by the school.

How do you actually learn? Online divisions at traditional universities or colleges may be fully online or available in a "blended" format. Blended degrees require students to spend some part of their degree time on campus. Nursing degrees are typically offered in this way. Start dates also vary: at some institutions courses start monthly, while others follow a traditional fall/ winter term schedule. Content may be delivered via virtual classroom courses, lectures, streaming videos, podcasts, discussion boards, chat rooms, group projects, students buying or downloading materials and other methods. Virtual classrooms offer students the convenience of working remotely, but are fully web-based and not simply an email exchange. Therefore, the interactive learning approach encourages-even demands--participation and virtual mingling and collaboration with peers. Methodologies are constantly evolving with an institution's technology, creativity and innovation.

Programs at accredited online colleges are creative, demanding and relevant to current industry demands. They are designed by industry-experienced faculty in conjunction with industry leaders and delivered by industry-experienced, professionally credentialed faculty: it's not just anybody on the other side of the computer telling you what to do! Credentials earned online can be terminal and used to go on to the job market, or can be used for university transfer or lead into graduate study (either online or on-campus). Since online colleges and divisions are still relatively new, be sure to check into an institution's articulation agreements specifying exactly how transfer credit will be accepted from one institution to another.

Demographics
A detailed study by the US Department of Education for the 2000-2001 academic year showed 2,876,000 enrollments in college-level for-credit distance education courses. That's a lot of students! And even though you likely won't meet any of them, it's interesting to know who you'll be learning with.

Statistics show that online or e-learners encompass a diverse group of students at different stages in their lives. This group includes high school graduates who haven't been fully served through traditional means; working adults without the time or access to a campus who want to take degree or training programs to open new career doors; high school grads who already have jobs but don't want to give them up to study; parents who have children and plan on returning to the workplace in the near future; students choosing to earn some of their college credits online before transferring into a bachelor's program; students at traditional colleges or universities who want to take summer classes while still going home; students who face obstacles to completing a campus-based degree due to medical conditions. The average age of online learners is therefore somewhat higher (generally around 32) than for students in undergrad programs at traditional colleges and universities. But this makes for a dynamic, rich learning environment in ways you might not expect.

Difference
What's so unique about online college other than you not having to attend class? For one thing, the virtual classroom allows you to work with peers from across the nation and around the world in a collaborative learning environment. How cool is that! It also means you don't have to worry that a course you sign up for will close due to low enrollment. The more flexible format is more convenient for everyone, and in many cases you complete your degree in as much or as little time as you have available. Many offer accelerated programs as well, and most online degree programs don't require students to take elective classes unless required by their major. Therefore you study is focused and relevant to what you want to do in your career.

Since many online colleges are private, their reputation is only as good as their graduates. Career placement, an always-available online library, 24/7 technical support, instructors who are accessible by phone, e-mail or online chats are all central to the online college mission of providing a good education that gets you where you want to be&affordably. Students studying online usually don't have to worry about the cost of textbooks because most programs enable them to download all materials needed for their classes including lectures, assignments, additional notes, and other materials. The amount of stdent debt for students at online colleges is usually less than for students at traditional colleges, and financial aid and scholarships are still available. Plus, you also save on the cost of commuting and can feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis!

Deciding
So how will you decide? First you have to decide what you're interested in--in terms of both study and pace--then you have to find an online institution that offers it. Other factors such as scholarships, tuition costs, affiliation with other colleges and universities and possibly church affiliation may also be factors. Schools in the USA's database of online colleges in the US can help get you started. Once you've spotted a school that seems to suit your interest, check out their website. The site will tell you what they offer and who to call or contact for more information. Then call--don't be shy! Check out the "Choosing an Online College or University" section here on Schools in the USA for more ideas on how to narrow down your choices. This is your education, so take the time to explore to help you get on the right path for your future!
 



Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
George Washington University

At the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences, we prepare progressive leaders across disciplines to meet the challenge of developing and delivering health care to diverse populations. Our flexible, online programs are designed to advance the careers of health professionals in the areas of Clinical Research Administration, Health Care Quality and Regulatory Affairs.

Programs Offered:
  • Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design
  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Leadership and Administration
  • Graduate Certificate in E-Learning
  • And more...

 
Platt College
Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.
Programs Offered:
  • Veterinary Technology Alternate Route - Certificate
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Veterinary Technology - Associates

 
South University, Online Programs
As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.
Programs Offered:
  • Nurse Educator (PGC)
  • Healthcare Administration (AMBA)
  • Nursing (RN to BSN)
  • And more...

 
The University of Scranton

The University of Scranton has grounded its education in Catholic and Jesuit principles based on intellectual growth and integrity, all of which shape the online master’s and certificate programs. You can choose one of five degree programs from a selective institution ranked among the top 10 master’s universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report.

Programs Offered:
  • MBA - Operations Management
  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Business Administration
  • And more...

 
University of Illinois at Chicago

Study for your graduate education with University of Illinois at Chicago.

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

 
Boston University - MSW

Founded in 1839, Boston University is one of America’s largest and most respected private research universities. It offers a unique combination of academic excellence and social relevance for its more than 32,000 students from 135 different countries.

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Social Work - Macro
  • Master of Social Work - Clinical
  • Master of Social Work

 
Our Lady of the Lake University

Our Lady of the Lake University is a private, Catholic university with a deep connection to the history and community of San Antonio. Founded in 1895 by the Congregation of Divine Providence, we have developed a reputation for our personal teaching style. Since 2011, OLLU has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. We are a university that helps students develop their full potential in an environment that's encouraging and stimulating.

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Business Administration: Healthcare Management
  • Master of Education in School Counseling
  • Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree
  • And more...

 
Maryville University

Maryville University is a private university in St. Louis County, Missouri.

Programs Offered:
  • Online MHA Concentration in Population Management
  • Online MHA Concentration in Senior Services
  • Online General MHA
  • And more...

 
Post University Online

At Post University, we believe you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold to further your education.

Programs Offered:
  • Graduate Certificate in Alcohol & Drug Counseling
  • B.S. in Human Services / Human Services Management
  • B.S. in Management / Entrepreneurship
  • And more...

 
Ashford University

Technology changes everything®

You’ve found Ashford University, where school comes to you

Programs Offered:
  • AA/Early Childhood Education
  • BA/Early Childhood Education Administration
  • BA/Education Studies
  • And more...

 
Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Oregon
University of OttawaYork University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
Music
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Policy Statement | Site Map | Cities Site Map

Copyright 2003- 2017 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.