Online degree requirements need to be carefully evaluated before you actually begin your education. There are a variety of aspects to getting your degree online that you need to be aware of before you begin your first course.
Obviously, you need to know how much your degree is going to cost you. And don't let yourself think that because you are getting financial aid that this does not matter - it does. First, only a small portion of your financial aid - if any - will come from grants that do not have to be paid back. Most of it will come in the form of loans that you have to start paying back after you graduate. Never take out more loans that the annual salary you expect your first year after your degree is complete. Avoid loans altogether if possible. Read more about student loans on this site - they are not to be taken lightly.
This is probably one of the online degree requirements that you have thought about most, and it is important. Be sure you know what courses you will be required to take, what the prerequisites are for those courses (classes that you have to take to prepare yourself for a required course), and if there is a specific order that your courses have to be taken in. Also, ask about scheduling - it can be really disappointing to get to your last semester where you only need one more course to find out that the course is not offered that semester, it is only offered every other semester. Plan these things out with an advisor. Also, if you desire to get your online degree fast be sure to discuss timing with your advisor as well.
Internships or Practicums
Internships, sometimes called practicums, are when you must get a job in the field and work while also taking courses. Many schools require internships in your final semester to give you a boost of real-work experience when you are almost ready to head out into the work force. Be sure to ask if these are required and if your school will help you locate a suitable internship.
Residencies or Seminars
Residencies, sometimes called seminars or colloquium, are live learning events that you are required to attend on campus. Many graduate level programs require you to attend a couple full day seminars or even weekend long events as part of your online degree requirements. These can be incredibly informative and actually excellent opportunities to meet some of your instructors and classmates live; do not shy away from these. But, you do need to know about them so you can plan for the costs or time away from work to attend. Programs that require these are usually flexible in when you attend, but they do require you to do them.
Be sure you are aware of the policies in your school or which apply to your financial aid. For example, if you earn Federal financial aid there is a strict drug policy and you can lose your loans if you are found to be on drugs. Some schools have strict late work policies. Other online degree requirements can include the need to interact in the first week of class or else be dropped from your online program.
Check to see what the minimum computer requirements are for your school and that you meet or exceed them. Some schools online degree requirements include certain software or things such as a video camera; be sure you meet all requirements.
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