A Guide To Online Learning For Adults

Published on: October 20, 2021

Students who have completed school and are unsure about their future often require a lot of guidance when it comes to further studies. Some have clear goals but don’t know how to reach them, while others might still be undecided or trying to figure out what path in life would be best for them. It stands to reason that there are plenty of guides out there to help these students and offer some assistance when making choices about their education. However, there are also plenty of adults who, for various reasons, might want to continue their studies. Perhaps you want to advance your career but don’t want to stop working to study full time. Maybe a higher education wasn’t something you could afford in your youth, or you find yourself at a crossroads in life where it is time for a career change. Online learning has opened up many avenues for adults to earn their degrees in a way that wasn’t feasible in the past due to technical or physical limitations. If you are a little older and wondering if an online degree could benefit you, this guide will help you better understand what is involved.

Is It Possible To Transfer Old College Credit?

One of the most common questions among adults who want to continue their education later in life is whether or not their old college credits are still relevant. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to this question as there are various factors involved. While credits never technically expire, you will find that their relevance will fade over time, which diminishes the likelihood that they can be transferred. This is usually not an issue with core classes as they tend to stay evergreen, but anything in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field is a different matter. Because STEM is such a fast-evolving field, the longer it has been since you’ve earned your credits, the less likely you will be able to get them transferred. The same goes for graduate courses that might be based on outdated methodologies. However, some good news is that certain degree programs will count real-world experience in the same field or industry as credits. Sites such as CollegeTransfer (https://www.collegetransfer.net/) can help you figure out if your credits can be transferred, but the admissions representatives at the college or university you are interested in attending should also be able to assist you.

How Do I Decide What To Study?

Another concern among adult learners is figuring out what to study. There are a vast amount of degree programs available online, and deciding on one can be overwhelming, especially if it has been a while since you last studied. If you are already working and want to advance your career, it can help to look for a degree program that can immediately benefit you in some way. This means that the course material has to be relevant to the work you are doing or would like to do. Before committing to a degree, two things to look at are the industry standard requirements and the market demands. Make sure that the degree program you plan on completing meets the requirements or that there is a demand for the type of skills you will be sharpening. Another factor worth serious consideration is the flexibility of the courses you want to do. If you work full-time, it will be impossible to juggle the same type of course load as a student studying full-time.

What Are The Most Common Formats For Online Degrees?

After you have narrowed down what you want to study, you can start looking at online degree programs that allow you to complete your work at your own pace. Online courses tend to be either synchronous or asynchronous, and both have their own pros and cons. Online classes can also be self-paced or instructor-led. Self-paced online classes place the burden of studying and completing assignments on you, which means you need a lot of self-discipline and the ability to work independently. Instructor-led courses follow a more traditional format that is comparable with on-campus programs. When taking part in an instructor-led course, students typically learn through a combination of pre-recorded video modules as well as live-stream sessions. These live sessions will usually also be recorded so that students who are unable to attend or want to review the content can do so without falling behind. Some courses also combine online and in-person components for a hybrid program, so make sure you will be able to fit this into your schedule before you commit to such a degree.

Is It Easier To Get A Degree Online?

Although it can be a lot more convenient to earn your degree online, it should be no means be easier than a brick-and-mortar college or university. Earning a degree, especially from a reputable college or university, is something that requires hard work and dedication, so students who think online classes will make it easier are mistaken.

What Are Other Considerations For Adults Studying Online?

Depending on how long it has been since you have studied, it can be a big adjustment to getting into the right mindset again. If you are married and have a family, you will need to involve them in the process, too, not only for the motivational support but also to help with responsibilities. Studying online might require you to shift responsibilities to try and free up more time for your education, so make sure that everyone else in your family is on board with these changes. Studying as an adult can be an intimidating experience, but earning a degree online can help to make the entire process less daunting. There will still be times when you will doubt yourself or second guess your abilities, but try and maintain a positive attitude and don’t be too hard on yourself.

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