A Guide On How to Go Back to College: Part Three (Page 2)

Graduation Matters

If you start along the college path, you want to graduate. Plain and simple. There’s no point in investing time and money in college if you just sort of want try it out and see what happens. When you enroll in college, you want to be prepared. Obtaining that college degree matters, for example:

  • In the current recession, unemployment rates are twice as high for those with just a high school diploma (10.8%) compared to those with a bachelor's degree or higher (4.9%).3
  • Increases in the proportion of a region's population with a bachelor's degree result in wage increases for all workers in the region, regardless of education level.4

Your Due Diligence

When considering going back to college, take your time and do your due diligence. If flexibility is essential for you to take classes, and ultimately graduate, you owe it to yourself to at least take a serious look at the opportunities that online programs offer. The time you put in now will payoff down the road with a degree program that is best suited to you, your goals, your finances and your lifestyle -- and as a result, you’ll gain a better chance of graduating as planned.

College is not a one-size fits all medium. And students aren’t widgets. Students, like you, have lives, dreams, and goals. They have budgets and schedules and families. Given your unique set of considerations, you need to find a program to fit who you are and your current lifestyle so you become what you want: a college graduate with a fulfilling career.

Where is Online Education Today?

Believe it or not, if you are like most students going to college, you took some time off from school after high school, are working, and have a family and other obligations on your time. In fact, these days students who graduate from high school and immediately go to an on-campus, full-time college without working are the ones in the minority.

If your current life requires flexibility and convenience and your budget requires a low cost, then earning college credit online using the anytime, anywhere technology provided by an online virtual campus may be your best college option.

Online colleges have come a long way. No longer perceived as a novelty, online college courses are becoming more and more mainstream because they give students what they want and need. In fact,

  • Over 6.1 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2010 term, an increase of 560,000 students over the previous year.
  • The 10% growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 2% growth in the overall higher education student population.
  • 31% of higher education students now take at least one course online.
  • Reported year-to-year enrollment changes for fully online programs by discipline show most are growing.
  • Academic leaders believe that the level of student satisfaction is equivalent for online and face-to-face courses.
  • 65% of higher education institutions now say that online learning is a critical part of their long-term strategy.5

3 Complete College America, The Completion Shortfall
http://www.completecollege.org/completion_shortfall/

4 IBID

5 The Sloan Consortium, Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011, Summary
http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/going_distance_2011