6 Tips to Get Back on Track with Online Colleges and Universities Part 3

Tip 3: Determine your educational gaps. You need to assess where you stand academically. If you know you have some holes in your educational background, fill them before spending money on tuition for classes you aren’t prepared for. You can take college preparatory courses in subjects like introductory algebra to developmental writing or even Student Success , a course designed to establish baseline proficiency before you take college courses for credit so you can be successful when it is time to do so. If you know you need to take some developmental classes, an online education provider like StraighterLine, where you take online college classes on a $99/month subscription basis plus a $49 one-time registration fee per course, can be an excellent starting point. For many, it’s a reality-based approach towards going back to college without sacrificing academic quality or going into debt.

Tip 4: Determine your current college credit situation. In your past post-secondary educational experience, you may have amassed enough college credits to be partway towards earning your college degree. There’s no reason to retake courses you’ve already taken, revisit material you’ve already mastered and pay tuition for classes you’ve already taken and paid for. Perhaps you are only a few credits shy of completing your degree. Know where you stand -- and know what courses and credits you need to complete your degree.

Fortunately, you can take individual college courses for credit online -- and have those credits transferred where appropriate in order to complete your degree. It is, however, up to the individual college whether or not they will accept credits for transfer. Know the credit transfer process where you have been previously and where you’d like to go in order to maximize your tuition dollars. The StraighterLine College Transfer Center is an excellent place to start.

Tip 5: Get credit for life experience. You can earn college credit by passing College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams and taking Prior Learning Assessments (PLA) . The more college credits you can obtain for work learned on the job or through job training, the quicker you will be able to earn your degree. And the less time it takes for you to obtain your degree means more money in your pocket to spend on financial obligations other than tuition.

Tip 6: When you are ready, transfer your credits to a college where you ultimately plan on finishing your degree. Many online programs, such as those at Excelsior College, University of Phoenix, Albany State University, Western Governors University, American Intercontinental University, or University of the Incarnate Word have written transfer agreements with StraighterLine, allowing you to seamlessly transfer any credits earned at the online course provider. Also, take a hard look at your past transcripts for any previous college courses you have taken. Many universities and colleges accept transfer credits for ACE-certified courses, helping you get just that much closer to finishing your degree.

A College Degree Matters

A college degree or at least a post-secondary education certificate, in today’s economy, may mean the difference between a decent living and falling far behind. Earning your college degree can help you switch careers or get considered for promotion within your current field. A college degree can help increase job security in your current position. In some fields, job requirements have changed -- and you must work towards a degree just to retain your job.

Whatever has brought you to your decision to finish your degree, it doesn’t really matter. In the long run -- working towards your degree is a smart choice. Becoming a college graduate will give you career options, and allow you take an active part in the workforce now and in the future.