Q. Is there an admissions test to get into College?
A. Generally speaking, the only admissions test typically required for degree programs are those relating to the standardized exams such as SAT, GMAT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc., which may be required. You would need to inquire with the college as to the specific standardized test that you must complete to be eligible for admissions into a specific program. For example some Master’s Degree programs require the prospective student to submit GRE scores, whereas others may require GMAT scores. Certificate courses, and/or professional development courses do not typically require any type of admissions test.
Q. What other documents may be required at the time of application?
A. Each college may have different requirements. These may include:
1. A completed application along with the submission of an Application Fee
2. Official Transcripts
3. SAT scores
4. Sample Essay
5. Recommendation letters
So be prepared to have the above available, but check with each individual college you may be applying to.
Q. Do you have any tips for completing my admissions application?
A. Your admissions application is your first impression on the college. To the extent possible, you should take your time and read over the entire application in detail before you begin to complete any of the sections. The next step after reading the application, is to locate and have handy any and all documents that you may need to refer to when completing the application. When you begin filling out the application form try to be as neat as possible. (This is not merely a test of your penmanship, but it prevents avoidable misinterpretations by the reader!) You also need to make sure that you use proper grammar and spelling.
Using poor grammar is the equivalent to wearing a dirty suit to an interview. It leaves a poor impression of you as a candidate. This point is especially important in regard to your essay. Additionally, remember that admissions counselors read hundreds of applications. So, while keeping the essay professional is a good idea, you should also try to include something original or unique so that you stand out. When it comes to the other sections, if you are not certain as to what is being asked, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call and admissions counselor at the college. They are there to help you. Actually, building an open line of communication with one of the admissions counselors at a college that interests you may be a good idea, as in essence, you may end up with an advocate at the college. Finally, once the application has been submitted, be patient. If you have not heard back from the college in a few weeks you should call them and verify that your application has been received.
Q. What is accreditation?
A. When a college states that is it accredited by a specific accreditation body, that means that the college has participated in a review process conducted by the accreditation body and was found to have met that entity’s accreditation criteria. It is important to note that all accreditation bodies do not use the same criteria. Some accreditation bodies have very low standards whereas others have very strict and comprehensive requirements. The best practice with regard to this point is to conduct your own independent research to verify the authenticity of the accreditation body that is identified by the college. A good rule of thumb is to see if the accreditation body is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Below you will find the names of some of the main regional accreditation bodies that are currently recognized by them:
· Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education
· Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools
· New England Association of schools and colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
· New England Association of school and colleges, Commission on Technical and Career Institutions
· North Central Association of colleges and schools, The Higher Learning Commission
· North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and school improvement, Board of Trustees
· Northwest Commission of colleges and universities
· Southern Association of colleges and school, Commission on Colleges
· Western Association of schools and colleges, Accrediting Commissions for schools
· Western Association of schools and colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior colleges
· Western Association of schools and colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior colleges and universities
So the easiest way to do your research, would be to visit the above accreditation body online that geographically applies to your school, and conduct a search of your school there.
Q. Will I be able to transfer past credits to my new school of choice?
A. Transfer policies vary from school to school. You should ask your admissions counselors to explain their transfer policy if this is something that you intend to seek. Be clear in understanding the number of credits that may be transferred into the specific program that you are seeking to complete. This number may be different from the number of credits that may be transferred from other programs. Additionally, you need to make sure to understand the process that must be followed and more specifically, the timing of the process. Some colleges require you to transfer in credits prior to starting classes and may not allow you to do the transfer after you start. As a result, make sure that you discuss this point in detail with your admissions counselor so that you may avoid any unwanted surprises.
Q. Can I get life/work experience transferred into credits?
A. This is something that is being allowed by more and more colleges today. It is a recognition that on the job experiences may equate to course training. This can be a tremendous cost and time -saving opportunity. Essentially you would need to speak to the college admissions counselor and follow the directions they provide as to how you should go about obtaining academic credit for your work experience. Policies vary greatly from college to college, so be sure to inquire with multiple colleges so that you can make a proper decision. Again, this can really be a tremendous cost and time- saving opportunity, so be sure to take advantage of the on the job training you have acquired over the years.
Q. How much does it cost to get an education?
A. The cost of an education depends on the program and level of study and may vary greatly from college to college. It can be based on whether the college is private or public, or whether you are going to be considered as an out-of-state versus in-state student. Generally speaking, certificate programs are the lowest in cost. They also may or may not provide you with college credit. Public colleges are generally less costly that private colleges, and in-state rates are generally lower than out-of-state rates. Finally, the higher the degree level the higher the cost of tuition per credit. For example, per credit tuition cost for an Associate’s degree program is lower than that for a Bachelor’s program. The cost per credit for a Master’s level course is higher than a Bachelor’s and the cost per credit for a Doctoral program is the highest.
Q. Do I need a special computer?
A. Many ground based colleges now require its students to own a computer. Owning a computer for an online program is a must. To take the point further, it is a good idea to make sure that you have a relatively powerful computer and reliable access to the internet. Access to a back-up computer is also important in this environment. This may make your experience a lot more manageable. If purchasing a computer is a concern, you should inquire with the colleges financial aid department to see if the cost can be included in your financial aid package.
Q. Will it show on my diploma that my degree was attained online?
A. The certificate or credential awarded after the completion of an online program does not typically indicate how you earned the credential. However, if this is a concern, it is a good idea to ask upfront. Again, you should do everything in your power to avoid after the fact unwanted surprises.
Q. Does an online degree cost less than a traditional campus-based degree?
A. The actual tuition cost per credit of attending an online program may or may not be higher than for on the ground programs. It really depends on the specific college you are planning on attending. You should however, compare not just per credit cost of tuition but also the total cost of attending. On one hand, you will not have to worry about commuting cost if you are attending online. You also may be able to better schedule your course work around your job if you attend online as most of online programs allow the student to log into their learning management system at the student’s convenience. Last but not least, attending online may allow the student to study from the comfort of their home without having to look for an apartment close to the college.
Q. How do I know if an online education is right for me?
A. Generally, distance learners are from all walks of life. If you have a busy lifestyle and are time constrained and cannot attend a “brick-and-mortar” institution, or you would like to have the convenience of earning an education whilst in the comfort of your own home, then you should definitely consider obtaining your education online. At the same time, online learning is not for everyone. Courses taken online may require more effort than on the ground courses because the student is required to study most if not all of the material independently. In the ground based programs, students often rely on the professor to move the class forward and can easily turn to classmates for assistance. In the online environment, students must be more self motivating and must reach out to the professor if they need assistance. As such, it is important that you figure out your personal approach and how it will fit with the type of program you are planning. Some students choose to start slowly to see if online is a fit before taking a high course load.
Q. How computer literate do I have to be?
A. You do not need to have a computer degree or be Lightening Mc Queen on the computer, As long as you can type at least as fast as you write, and do basic searches on the internet and answer emails, you should be well qualified for an online class. Of course, it also depends on what type of class you are taking online. Is it one that involves lengthy live chats or essays, or is communication primarily via email. Find out requirements for each class and see what is comfortable for you,
Q. I have not been back to school for many years. Do my old college credits ever expire?
A. More students are returning to school after some time of absence, and as a result many schools have administrators who focus on re-entry students specifically. These counselors would be able to answer questions as they pertain to the individual school’s policy.
Q. What is the average age of a distance learner?
A. The average age of a distance- learner is 33 years old.
Q. How many hours do degrees require weekly?
A. This varies depending on the level and nature of the program as well as on how many credits you take and how fast you want to go. Before you begin a program of study you should explore your time availability and make sure that you are able to put in the number of hours of weekly study so that you are successful.
Q. What is the purpose of the placement exam?
A. Some colleges require that you take placement exams so you may be appropriately placed in the level of class to suit your needs. These placement exams are designed to identify your current level of skill. They typically do not impact actual admissions into the college. Taking placement exams ensures that you are not placed into a class that would be a repeat of something you have already studied, and that the course content is not beyond your academic reach.