As you have already probably figured out, getting your degree online requires a bit of preparation. Part of that preparation is doing your research; since you are here reading this, you obviously know that research is important. That's good. But there are a few other aspects that preparing to earn your degree online requires. To be successful in your online education you need to do your research, prepare yourself mentally, prepare yourself physically and enlist the troops. Confusing? Not really; read on.
Do Your Research
Getting your degree online starts with getting into an online program. Of course, getting into an online program requires choosing what program interests you, what school suits you best, how you are going to pay to earn your degree online, and whether you have the self-motivation and other skills necessary to be effective in distance education. You are taking these first steps now by reading this website; that's good, so continue to read. Think about what you want out of your education, what resources you need in a school and how you will finance this somewhat expensive endeavor. Then, prepare yourself mentally for success.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Preparing yourself mentally to earn a degree online is about setting your own internal expectations. Know that you will spend about 10-15 hours per week, per course on your homework. Oh, don't stress out on me now - this is a lot less than you would spend in a traditional butt-in-the-seat course; remember, you do not have to drive to school, hunt for parking, or sit in a lecture hall. You just walk your little pajama clad self to your computer and start working, about one and a half or two hours every day. Trust me; it will be worth it in the end when you get beautiful paper with your name on it which leads to that dream job. Remind yourself of that frequently.
Prepare Yourself Physically
This is the easiest part, but it still needs to be said: prepare yourself physically by ensuring you have an up-to-date, functioning, internet ready computer with a dependable internet connection. By up to date I don't mean expensive, either. If your current computer is more than a year old than anything you buy in the store now will be four or five times better than your current technology. A $299 laptop will serve you just fine; in fact, I'm an online instructor and I just bought a $299 Gateway three days before I wrote this article and it is working great for all my online teaching!
Enlist the Troops
No, you do not have to hire an army to do your work for you. What this means is that you need to ensure that the important people in your life understand that you are in school and are supportive of your goal. Make sure your employer knows you are going to school and that you know what the work policy is for checking your school email or discussions on your lunch break. Get your girlfriend, boyfriend, partner or spouse to understand that this is important to you and that you have to make time to do this. Your children will likely love that you are going to school too. In fact, doing homework side by side can be a bit of a together time, while still being productive.
If so, you may have some tips to share with others about preparing to earn a degree online. Post your winning strategies in our online forum.