July 6, 2009
For those who want to earn a college degree, but feel like they just don’t have enough time to go to college, or for those who may be stationed far from their chosen school, an online education might be the perfect avenue for getting that college diploma.
Online degree programs are ideal for military members because of their terrific flexibility. Whether stationed in a rural community far from any college or on a ship in the middle of the ocean, the “classroom” is just a few clicks away, available anywhere one has Internet access. The flexibility of online classes extends to scheduling, as well. Each student of an online program determines their own personal course schedule, completing homework and meeting class requirements whenever it is convenient, especially important to service members who do not have traditional work hours and could not attend classes on a college campus. Every year, thousands of active duty service members graduate from online college degree programs.
Online programs are offered at all degree levels, including certificates, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and even Ph.D.s. Schools throughout the US and even around the world offer their programs online. Students can enroll just as if they were enrolling at a campus program, electing to attend full-time or part-time.
Students in online classes have the flexibility to create their own class schedules, whether it be in the middle of the night or weekends. Online class members can “attend” classes anywhere they choose – all that is needed is a computer with an Internet connection. Classes begin with a syllabus and a required reading list, and students are able to purchase textbooks through an online bookstore.
Each class will have its own set of requirements that might include homework, research papers and other projects that can be submitted either via email or through a digital interface in the online classroom. To compensate for what is missed during in-person classroom discussions, many online classes use an online program to host discussions in which students can post comments about required reading and other topics in a message board. Some programs make use of chat features, in which students meet at a designated time and discuss a particular topic.
While most online classes do not require students to be online at a particular time, most classes will have deadlines; students may be asked to make three message board posts during every class week, for example. Online course instructors and professors are readily available to students, and in fact may be more accessible than those of traditional classes, as email is far more instantaneous and easier than tracking down a professor during office hours.
Most online programs have the same admission and financial aid procedures and policies as traditional on-campus programs. Military students who wish to enroll in an online degree program should ask their admissions representative about tuition assistance and GI Bill benefits and make sure they’re accepted at the school or individual program. Financial aid through FAFSA is also available here.
Online degree programs are extremely convenient for military servicemembers with varying schedules and multiple commitments. The flexibility of online education makes it very easy for anyone with a dream of a college education earn a degree.