Should you attend an online college

Is online college for you?

Should you attend an online college?

The decision to complete an online college degree can change a person’s life for the better or for worse depending on that person. According to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), only 32% of people enrolled in for profit education systems graduate (NCES, 2016). Traditional four year college graduation statistics average 60% (NCES, 2016). Why are online colleges failing to see their students through to a diploma? There are multitudes of factors that determine the success of college students. We are going to explore a few factors that determine success as well as other factors you might want to consider when pondering college options.

Is it easier to complete an online degree?

If completing an online degree was an easy thing to do, then the graduation rate wouldn’t be 32%. It is a misconception that people are passed to generate revenue. I had classmates that dropped out after failed classes or not understanding materials. There were also people who dropped out because then never understood the format of the online class, I imagine many of these people lacked computer literacy. Of course the toughest classes were during the Master’s program.

Just as in any college, there are challenges to being an online student. A misconception about online college is that you can go at your own pace. Online classes have a syllabus just like a traditional college, there are due dates daily and weekly. When the ad says online college is “go at your own pace” they mean you can take a week off in between classes sometimes. They do not mean you can take six weeks to finish a paper. The flexibility of online college is that you can get class work done at midnight rather than having to attend a class.

While I cannot speak for other colleges I can give you an idea of what an average week was like in my online class. Three days of the week I had to post a minimum of three posts in my class concerning topics for the chapters we were reading. These posts were a minimum of 300 words each and had to substantiate our thoughts and position on the subject using APA formatting and a minimum of two references. If your posts were weak then you missed points and got a lovely email from the instructor. At the end of each week, papers or projects were due.

These were cited and referenced 3,000-5,000 word essays or PowerPoint presentations. All of our instructors had PhD’s. These people were not messing around, they took our assignments seriously. Every paper was run through a plagiarism checker. If a student copy and pasted anything, they were put on academic suspension. We were assigned into peer groups where assignments were split up and if your “team” didn’t perform then you were held accountable and it affected your grade.

Not only did we have to check our own work, we had to review each other’s work. We didn’t have a cool lab to go study chemistry or an instructor to visit. Basically you were on your own to learn what you needed to learn. Final class projects were huge; I remember a 14 page written assignment for one of my smaller classes. Do you know how much you have to expound to get 14 pages out of the Milgram Experiment? A lot! The first trait you should possess if you want to complete an online class is you had better be a self-starter. No one is going to hold your hand.

Why do online colleges have a bad reputation?

There are several contributing factors when it comes to the reputation of online colleges including expense, recruiting practices, and lack of accountability. My Master’s degree was almost $100,000.00. Did you choke because I did? In 2013 DeVry was hit with legal action for giving bonuses to recruiters, University of Phoenix faced the same law suit in 2012. There are several deceptive practices that for profit schools use to recruit students. One of the deceptive practices is that recruiters tell you grants will pay for most of your college tuition (this is right before they have you sign and say you understand that you will have to pay for it). Not only is it not true, the college sends you money “left over” from your grants, causing you to go higher into debt without explaining that you will be paying later. Recruiters and counselors are turned over frequently and many of them really do not understand how the system works.

Four times during my degree I was sent money and within months the college told me I was short $200-500 on my class. None of the answers I ever got from the accounting department made sense. They should have paid my classes before acquiring loans; however that is not how they do it. If you qualify for the loan, they will use the loan to pay for your classes and send you the remaining grant money.

A class that costs $300 at a Junior College will run you $900.00 to $1600.00 at a for profit online college. The question you have to ask is what will that degree be worth in the job market when you graduate? If you are going for a degree that only pays $30k a year after graduation, rethink it. Another thing to consider is that even though counselors play up the scholarship options, I could not find one scholarship I qualified for in eight years. Most scholarships have age limits and I was way beyond those limits. My second disqualifier was my income. At the time I was already making over $40,000 a year. If you are young, scholarships are great, for someone my age that was not an option.

Another deceptive practice used by online colleges is that they help you obtain employment after you graduate. I was constantly told that UOP would place me after graduation. When I graduated, I was sent job offers in which I was completely overqualified, such as: ATT Sales Manager for a location over and hour from my home. I was a sales manager at the age of 18; I didn’t need a Master’s degree to get that job making $9 an hour. The jobs you want in the field are not going to come from your college unless you want to work at your college. Here again we see why online colleges create their own reputation.

In 2006, I started my first online college class, Creative Writing. There were 25 people enrolled in that class, of those 25, only 16 people completed the class. Why did so many give up so quickly? At the beginning of each class people posted a biography and spoke about why they were in the class, some were inspirational, others involved rehabilitation from chemical dependency, divorce, and even personal tragedy.

Reading through the bios on the first day of class, I saw that many of my classmates had limited writing skills. Many of my classmates wrote in incomplete sentences or their writing was incoherent. One student had no knowledge of paragraph structure and she was irate when the instructor explained it to her. How did someone who could not write end up in a college class? The answer is simple; the college didn’t have any type of entrance exam or SAT based qualifications. Literally anyone with $1600.00 or a qualifying grant could go to the college. Obviously these people were not making it through the first class, but that lack of qualifiers made the college $14,400.00 on people who didn’t complete the class. The absence of screening contributes to the horrible reputation that online schools have in the academic community.

At the end of my Bachelors of Science was a horrid math class that required us to complete problems online. Half way through that class the instructor quit the class without notice. Most of us were failing the class due to the fact that none of our papers were graded. When the college finally realized what happened they put an instructor in the class. The new instructor could not access our previous work to correct papers. The outcome was that we all failed the class. UOP should have refunded us for the class and let us retake the class with a new instructor, which is not what happened. My academic counselor told me not to worry because we would be able to retake the class and it would cancel out the first grade, this also was not true. That grade is still on my transcripts. If you start talking to online students similar stories seem to surface. The absence of accountability that online colleges have to their students is completely unethical. Be aware that you may be told what you want to hear , record conversations or communicate through email.

What roll does life play in your decision?

In a traditional college setting most students attend college as their only or primary responsibility. In other words the life focus is not a job or a family but rather completing classes and scholarly success. Students who attend online schools are more likely to have families and jobs. While I attended University of Phoenix almost all my classmates were working fulltime. Many of these people were single moms and/or had small children. Having extra responsibilities greatly decreases the graduation rate before you even get to other personality factors. Carefully consider your life situation. Are you buried in responsibilities that are going to hinder your success? If so you may want adjust your life prior to starting an online program.

How much support is available?

When you start a degree program you get a counselor. The counselor’s job is to look at your degree goal and make sure you take the appropriate classes to graduate. Just as in any college you have the option of dropping a class or retaking a class. Your counselor is not going to help with homework; they don’t know anything about your class. Over the eight years I was attending University of Phoenix I had some spectacular instructors and I had some duds. In this respect online college is not any different than a traditional college. Most of the instructors wanted you have a full comprehension of the materials, they worked with you. In reality college is always about what you put into your studies. Since online classes require you to read all the materials, rather than sit in lectures, you should have reasonable reading comprehension skills if you plan to succeed.

Tips to succeed if you start an online program:

Challenge any class you can challenge. You can challenge a class by taking a test. I should have challenged half of my bachelor’s degree. This is true of any college.
Read through your syllabus as soon as you can access it, know what big assignments you have for the class and start them early.
Print out your reading material and take it with you everywhere (or load it on an iPad). I use to read paragraphs waiting in line at the bank, grocery store, kids’ baseball practices, and at lunch. Use your time wisely.
Highlight key points in books and tab the page with a sticky note so you can find it easily when you post in your class.
As one of my instructors taught me SQ3R:

Survey your reading material (skim through see what’s there)

Questions what you have read (this helps you to process the practical application)

Read the material

Recite key points

Review the material

I used a simple mental formula to write papers: Establish key points, use only one direct quote about technical information (make sure you cite it), Tell what you are going to say at the beginning, and tell what you said at the end. If your word count is low dig deeper, find out details and exploit them!
Last tip: if you can’t find something to post about in a class for participation , find a classmate’s post and reply to them taking the opposite view point, defend it even if you do not believe in that point of view. It makes the class more interesting and you will never forget the topic.

My online degree was completed while working 45 hours a week and raising kids. I did this by staying up late. Homework was completed between 8pm- midnight every night after the kids were in bed. If it was slow at work, I would read at work or post in my class (this was cleared through my employer).

Is your online degree worth anything?

The misconceptions concerning an online degree are all over our American culture. People think of online college as a paid for degree rather than an earned degree. The truth is it takes more drive to complete an online degree than it does a traditional degree. How do I know this? There are no gold stars in online colleges. No one is cheering you on, you don’t have student support systems, and you don’t have the gradual sense of accomplishment that comes from standing looking at a grade posting with your peers. In other words, people in online programs are self-motivated self-starters. Completing an online degree is tough on family and often results in a lack of support from spouses and others affected by your absence.

The world should appreciate the online degree more than a traditional degree, however that is not reality. The answer to the question is that it depends what you want to do with that degree. There will always be employers who have no idea what it takes to complete an online degree. You will have to be as persistent in your efforts for employment in your field as you were in completing your degree. The job market is tough to matter what you decide, be prepared to continue to fight for what you want. Good Luck!

Top 10 Online Colleges in 2017

If you’re looking to get your education online, there are several colleges to choose from, each with their own degree programs. Choosing one of the top online colleges is important because a degree from a great college means a lot.

There are so many commercials and websites that talk about the various programs and offerings, but the task of picking the perfect college can still be very daunting. There is no option that is perfect for everyone, so it’s important to research your own needs before selecting a particular school.

This is a ranking of the best online colleges that was created in order to help you find the perfect school that offers an online degree you’d be interested in working toward!
#10 Salem International University

Salem International University is ranked among the top online colleges because of its HUGE financial aid program that covers 100% of its students, because of it’s great student-faculty ratio of 13, and because of the many years it has been accredited.

The campus is located in Salem, West Virginia. If you’re interested in pursuing a degree from Salem International University, you can choose between an associate’s, bachelor’s, or even a master’s degree. If you’re looking to earn your bachelor’s degree, you can choose from the following majors:

Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Information Technology
#9 Western Governors University

Western Governors University has the special recognition of being the FIRST university to offer degrees SOLELY online to become accredited. Also, this is the only university with 100% of its degrees online to make this list! Because Western Governors University does not have a physical campus, it is 100% dedicated to students pursuing online degrees.

This university offers financial aid to approximately 80% of its students and also has a high retention rate. Western Governors University also has a huge number of degrees available online for those seeking both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Those wishing to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Western Governors University can choose from one of the many teacher licensure degrees or the following programs:

Accounting, Business, Health Informatics, Information Technology, Marketing, Nursing, Sales
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#8 Dickinson State University

At number 8 comes Dickinson State University located in Dickinson, North Dakota. This university is ranked highly because of its financial aid programs which covers 91% of students, the number of years it has been accredited, and its great student-to-faculty ratio (19.) While offering degrees at a number of campuses, Dickinson State University is ranked especially high because of the online education it offers.

Online courses are available for students 24 hours a day which is perfect for those with hectic schedules. Those wishing to pursue an online degree from Dickinson State University also do not have to worry about ever stepping foot on campus as these degrees are 100% online. This university offers a number of degrees, but those wishing to pursue a bachelor’s degree can choose from the following majors:

Agriculture Sales and Service Equine Management, Business Administration, Finance, Human Resource Management, International Business, Technology, University Studies
#7 Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University is ranked highly as an online university because of its high acceptance rate, financial aid packages, the number of years it has been accredited, and the student-to-faculty ratio. Because of its high rankings in those areas, Grand Canyon University is not only one of the top 10 online colleges, but it is also ranked among the top 10 Christian universities. This university offers several types of online degrees including both master’s and bachelor’s degrees. Those seeking to obtain a bachelor’s degree online from Grand Canyon University can choose from several majors within the following degree programs:

Business, Education, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts, Nursing
#6 Liberty University

With an astoundingly high acceptance rate, great financial aid programs, and a good retention rate, Liberty University has been ranked very highly among online universities. Liberty is a fundamentalist Baptist university based out of Lynchburg, Virginia that bills itself as the world’s largest Christian university. There are a wide number of degrees available from Liberty University online, but those wishing to pursue a bachelor’s degree online have the choice of the following majors:

Accounting, Aeronautics, Business, Christian Counseling, Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, Finance, International Business, Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Multidisciplinary Studies, Nursing, Psychology, Religion
#5 LeTourneau University

LeTourneau University is ranked very highly because of the comprehensive financial aid programs offered. This university is also one of the best because of its high retention and graduation rates compared to other universities with online degrees.

Based out of Longview, Texas, LeTourneau University offers bachelor’s degrees in business and management, but also offers a wide variety of associate’s and master’s degrees online. Those wishing to study on campus have a wider variety of degrees to choose from. LeTourneau is fully accredited and allows students to transfer credits to allow for a more affordable online degree.
#4 Upper Iowa University

Upper Iowa University is known for having quality degrees that can really take a graduate to a well paying job. This school, founded in 1857, has a physical campus but offers a wide variety of online degrees for those who cannot attend the beautiful campus in Fayette, Iowa.

One of the many aspects that make Upper Iowa University a great choice is that they offer great financial aid programs to those wishing to attend. Also, this college works with a large number of companies who wish for their employees to be able to attend Upper Iowa University at a huge discount. There is also a wide variety of degree programs offered by Upper Iowa University which include majors in business, computers, IT, health & medicine, nursing, social sciences, and criminal justice.
Links to the Top Online Colleges

Nova Southeastern University
Regent University
Champlain College
Upper Iowa University
LeTourneau University
Liberty University
Grand Canyon University
Dickinson State University
Western Governors University
Salem International University

#3 Champlain College

Champlain College is a highly ranked private college out of Burlington, Vermont. Like many other online colleges, Champlain has a physical campus where students can study, but offers online degrees where students are never required to be on campus. There are a myriad of degrees offered here as students can choose from a number of certificates, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree programs. Those wishing to pursue a bachelor’s degree from Champlain College can choose from the following majors:

Accounting, Business Management, Paralegal Studies, Professional Studies, Computer & Information Systems, Computer Forensics & Digital Investigations, Management Information Systems, Network Security and Administration, Software Development, Web Design & Development, Health Informatics, Healthcare Management
#2 Regent University

Regent University is ranked highly because of the educational opportunities it offers. There are over 70 degrees that online students can choose from. Like Nova Southeastern University, Regent has a physical campus where students can take courses, but those wishing to get their degree online never even have to set foot on campus. This Christian University has asynchronous courses which means that those enrolled can work at their own pace. This is great for those who are trying to balance their coursework with their job and personal life. Those wishing to receive their bachelor’s degree online from Regent University can choose from the following majors:

Biblical & Theological Studies, Christian Ministry, Communication, Criminal Justice, English, Government, History, Information Systems Technology, Organizational Leadership & Management, Psychology, Religious Studies
#1 Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University had been ranked number one by the Online Education Database (OEDb) based on several criteria including financial aid, acceptance rate, graduation rate, student to faculty ratio, and accreditation. Not only was Nova Southeastern highly ranked with OEDb, but it also was listed by the Princeton Review as one of the best distance learning graduate schools.

This university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as a number of professional degrees. As Nova Southeastern University has a physical campus as well as online courses, the degrees do vary based on whether a student chooses to attend classes on campus or online. Those looking to get their bachelor’s degree online from Nova Southeastern University can choose from the following majors:

Applied Professional Studies, Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Education – Child Development, Elementary Education, Exceptional Student Education, Family Studies, Finance, Management, Pre-kindergarten/Primary Education, Psychology, Substance Abuse Studies

Those who choose one of these top online colleges are guaranteed a great education, but there are still many other colleges and universities out there that can offer a top notch degree online. It’s important to research the many programs a school offers before making a decision. Finding the right college can mean all the difference in not only the quality of education but whether or not the learning process is challenging and rewarding. Choosing the best online university can be just as difficult as finding the perfect brick-and-mortar college, so it’s important to have an idea of the different online degrees available.

To those who have an online degree, where did you end up going to school? Did you find your degree to helpful in your career path?

Best Online Colleges For Computer Science and Programming 2016

What Are My Options For Online Degrees In Computer Science Or Programming

A lot of people ask this question and based on how you type it into Google you get a lot of different answers. There are a few options out there now and Universities across the country are giving into the idea and adding their own online programs. What kind of Universities are considering this? Stanford is currently debating how it will admit students into the program it plans to launch in 2017. Yes, the same Stanford that Google, Microsoft, Apple, and AMD stand outside of worshiping it’s grads and offering them six figure salaries to start. Let’s break down online colleges a bit before you we take a look at our options. Please research colleges to determine if they are for profit or non profit after deciding if you want to join them.

We Have Two Types of Colleges Online:

For Profit- These colleges are in it for the money. They do not have to meet certain standards and most are not nationally accredited as result. They are instead only regionally accredited. The courses of these colleges rarely transfer and very few offer a degree that doesn’t have a big fat ‘ONLINE’ right on your diploma. YUCK. The education levels of these programs vary but in general, since the market for computer scientist is so needy right now, you can obtain employment with them. Just don’t expect that 4.0 to impress too many people if you got it at a for profit school. In recent years we have seen colleges like Everest take on large lawsuits for charging students rates that were entirely too high per credit hour and giving them a degree that wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. Yes , there are some success stories from for profit colleges and the University of Phoenix does post okay job placement numbers but you are going to be paying 30-80k for four years of college and you must ask yourself if okay is good enough.
Nonprofit Schools- Okay , the thing that gets me the most is that many nonprofit colleges online do not require too much to join. Some require pretty high scores or past college performance but others are almost as easy as a community college to get into. Nonprofit Schools are almost always accredited nationally and must meet the standards of education. These schools are usually accredited regionally as well and carry a lot more weight than for profit colleges. The cost of these schools can vary but you can find really good deals as I will outline in this guide. These schools also vary on their approach to teaching online. Some will give you books and material and expect you to pass the course as if you were in class but without the aid of a teacher. Others will offer YouTube lectures, summaries of material, discussion chat rooms, and other material to help you. Almost all of these colleges offer free online tutoring so that is a plus. For profit you will pay for your tutor and you will pay handsomely. The last perk is that since most of these schools have a brick and mortar campus that many students attend, they do not list if your degree was obtained online and there is no way for an employer to find out either. Some employers are very reluctant to hire people with online degrees. Yes, even in the tech industry and even in 2016 sadly.

Break Down Of Price Differences Between For Profit and Nonprofit Schools
Why Do People Choose For Profit At All?

For most it is because for profit schools advertise to them the most. You rarely see a college or university advertising on the radio, tv, or online but you often find for profit schools doing so. There seems to be a veil on nonprofit colleges available online and people’s understanding of how grants and scholarships as well as student loans work. Some people figure because they only have a GED or High School Diploma, they will not qualify for nonprofit schools. This is far from the truth, however. Your VA will gladly be accepted by for profit as they will point out to you but a nonprofit school will not only accept it but they will offer you the full benefit and probably give you a huge discount(up to 30%) with no application or enrollment fees.

For profit schools just want your money. This is the bottom line of their objective and their mission statements and loyalty is pledged to investors and not the students. You are a customer to them and even though they may tour local Forts and job fairs with the promise of a better life, the reality is that most for profit students drop out or can not find steady employment.

I may seem bias in my opinion but this if for good reason and as a computer science/programming major, to be you, will realize that the numbers don’t lie, only the people who manipulate them do.
Things to Consider When Comparing Nonprofit and For Profit Colleges
So What Are The Best Options For An Online Computer Science Or Programming Degree

In this section I will list several nonprofit and a few for profit options for obtaining a degree online in programming or computer science. The choices you make will depend on a few things. If you have a good SAT score or went to community college and you have a good GPA, you can consider more options than if you are just starting out. Most of these schools are completely flexible. Some run 16-12 week courses while others run a 10-3 weeks program depending on the credit hours accredited. Transferring credits is always complicated but most online schools will take community college credits and most online nonprofit schools will transfer all credits to other schools but some schools will be picky about a few courses and you may have to appeal to get them included. That being said here is the list of your top 5 options.

For Those with a High SAT Score or High GPA to Transfer from Community College

University of Illinois at Springfield- This college got a top ranking based on its low cost, low drop out rate, great reviews, and post college employment numbers. It will be the smallest school on this list but this school has a good reputation in the job circles.
Oregon State- This college is a great place to start and has very high reviews in its education. It also has a very high cost for those from out of state. It will be a bit costly but it’s the number two option due to its program overall.
Florida State- Florida States online degree programs are relatively new. The cost of the school is low compared to most major universities and the quality of its degree is considered high. This is a great place to start your path online.
Cal State- Not only do they have an unpredictable football team but they also have an online college. Yes Cal is a great school to attend but it will not be cheap. You should consider this college your number one if you live in California.
Lamar University- Okay so Lamar isn’t a big name University with a tier one sports program. So what is Lamar? A school posting a 71% graduation rate , best in the country, and a 85% job placement rate within the first year of post education. That is pretty good when combined with its low cost education. These numbers may be inflated by the fact that Texas is a high demand place for programmers but hey, the degree is great and it should be considered.

If You Have a HS Diploma, Some College, or a GED and Just Need the Flexibility Nonprofit Online Schools Bring this is Your Top 5

Troy University- Why Troy? Because its cheap, highly accredited, and a top ranked online university. This school offers great education and flexibility via the blackboard system. This school is a good place to get your degree.
Southern University and A&M College- Cheapest college on the entire list and it’s easy to get into. You take a basic exam to see where you stand in core educational sections. You then proceed on as if you were in a community college. They will offer you classes to learn subjects you may do poorly in and the tuition is great.
Baker College- This school is located in Michigan and it’s super easy to get into. Like the rest of the colleges on this list there is no ‘online’ on your degree as Baker has been a brick and mortar school since 1923. The cost is very low at only 235 per credit hours and to get in you only need to test the core subjects and proceed based on the results. This college works on 6 weeks courses so you will be taking a lot of courses but they fly by. You need 196 credit hours to graduate which is a lot but this degree covers a ton of areas in computer science and is considered one of the better online degrees. Prepare for calculus 4 because this college loves math.
Regis University- This school ranks number two on the overall list of most blogs online. I do not agree however. While the school has a great rep, the cost of attending this school will be extreme. It is located in Colorado and it has a brick and mortar campus as well as its online program. You will not have ‘online’ written on your degree but you will not get out of this college with a four year degree for less than 90 thousand. It is some what prestigious and its requirements for joining are a bit more complicated than the schools above but it’s also a private nonprofit school which makes the cost of the school much higher. On the other hand you will get one on one attention at this college and you will have the ability to talk to professionals and teachers 24/7.
Old Dominion University- This is a well known school in VA and it has a horrible football team as most fans of the game will know. They did have one historic upset and that’s great but it doesn’t matter in this context. This school is some what expensive and you will pay around 70k to get out of it. It does offer a great degree program and honestly it’s worth it to attend. You could get a degree here for 35k in student loans after grants and such and that wouldn’t be horrible. The student to professor ratio is actually pretty nice and its rather easy to get into. Staying in will require a 2.5 GPA vs other schools that only require a 2.0 so keep that in mind.

Ambition Of Becoming A Computer Graphic Designer

Careers in graphic design are expected to be one of the largest and fastest growing job markets through 2014. Most careers will be in graphic design, website design, and computer animation design. Though there might be many jobs available but there would also be many contenders to compete with in the computer graphic design career. Some people love it as a career, for others purely as a hobby while some may like to use it as a part time freelancing tool. To become a computer graphic designer, a four year college degree or a Bachelors Degree is sufficient. Some technical jobs can be obtained if you complete a two years college degree or Associates Degree. Unless you get more education, you can not expect this type of career to progress. If you want to pursue this career it is important to realize how critical formal education is.
Nearly 3 in every ten of all those working as computer graphic professionals work as independent freelancers. Half of all the freelancers would be holding regular jobs in either any computer graphics company or any other computer related profession. Freelancing is definitely a viable option for those pursuing this career, as small businesses and individuals continue to have more need for their services, but cannot afford the rates of most graphic design firms.
There are many other careers in computer graphic design. The print media like books and magazines, audio media like advertising or electronic media like films and television are some of the viable career options in front of you. Not so much in terms of variety but you could expect a steady stream of work if you seek a career in a large or small specialist company. This can only make your clients happy and make them offer you new projects.
If you wish to pursue this as a career, a college degree, desire, and knowing where you want to go is not enough. You need to develop skills using graphic design software and other computer related skills. You will also need to develop a portfolio, which is a collection of your best work. So the contents could come between your getting the job or not.
Your aim after finishing college and deciding what you want to do is to get that first entry level job. Computer graphic design jobs can be found at various places. If you are looking for opportunities as a freelancer, then look through online job boards, classified ads as well as job for hire boards. For design careers work for hire boards work better than other careers. Here is wishing you all the best in your hunt for a graphic design career.

Student Loan Consolidation Interesting Article

Finding specific information about Student Loan Consolidation might not be easy but we have gathered very helpful and relevant information about the general subject matter, with the ultimate aim of helping you out. Even if your search is about other Student Loan Consolidation information, such as students loan direct, average college student loan debt, college students misusing credit cards or even direct student loan services, this article will prove very helpful, to say the least.

You have a couple of choices when you are looking for financial help for your college studies. The first thing which students look for is a scholarship because it will pay for some or all of their education expenses. Those who are not able to get any scholarship then they have to explore the option of student loans.

Student’s loan consolidation is a common thing for you if you have more than one student loan. In this process, you can combine all your loans together into one complete loan. This process is very similar to other types of debt consolidation in which you get a loan from a consolidation company which will pay off all other student loans and gives you one loan to handle.

You can work out with your student loan company to find out ways in order to pay your loan back. You have to find out the right person in the company to do this job. Most of the time lower-level employees are not authorized to make the arrangements that you are looking for in order to repay your loan.

Don’t forget that even if your immediate Student Loan Consolidation quest isn’t answered in this article, you could even take it further by doing a search on Google dot com to get specific Student Loan Consolidation information.

Bad credit student financing options are an easy, almost safe and sound way for students in bad credit to simply get their preferred loan. There are many lenders and firms that can identify your case and are willing to make it easier for you with your education. They do not check at your credit history and accept you on basis of your other qualifications – similar to your educational background.

You can look for an internship during your summer vacations. If you save that money than it will certainly help you in reducing your student loan debt once you are graduate.

These firms offer variable repayment plans. Some give up to 15-year time period while others provide up to 30-year term. The loan rates they charge vary as well as their fee structures.

A lot of well-meaning people searching for Student Loan Consolidation also searched online for government grants for college students, federal student aid, and even pay federal student loan.

Studying High School Courses Online

One of the most popular forms of education nowadays is online schooling. It is becoming the norm, since more and more students have been entering online schools each year. Online schools were originally patterned to meet the needs of college level students and students taking up their master’s. Eventually, online schooling was integrated with high school and middle school curriculum as well. The focus of this article is online high school courses.

As we all might know, online schools, whether online colleges, online high schools or online middle schools, have benefits and disfavors. Being a student enrolled in online high school courses is beneficial to a lot of people including high school students and adults who have not graduated from high school.

High school students benefit, because they can enroll in advanced courses, so they can graduate faster, or in remedial courses, so they can catch up to the required academic progress. Online high school courses are also wonderful options for undergraduate employees, because they can finish their high school education without having to sacrifice their present jobs.

Student employees will find online high school courses to be very helpful and convenient because of their flexibility and lenience especially with timetables and work schedules. They will allow you to study at the time that is most convenient to you. You will be allowed to study whenever you are free to do so.

Another advantage of studying online and enrolling in online high school courses is being able to work at your own pace, because the syllabus of each and every course and subject will be given to you at the beginning of each term. This will allow you to work at the designated pace, faster so you can graduate earlier, or at a slower pace so you can digest the lessons better. Having your syllabus will also allow you to do advanced reading on subjects and go back to previous lessons. Through online schools, you are able to make the most of your education and money.

Being flexible is not the only advantage of an online school and online high school courses. Another plus factor of studying in an online school is that the whole of the internet is equivalent to your library. All internet resources are available to you. Because your schooling is done online, it is only reasonable and logical that aside from your given modules and text material, you rely on and make the most of internet resources too.

Nevertheless, online schools have their disfavors. Critics have said that this is the lack of interaction. Because you so not study in a classroom with a teacher and co-learners, you are unable to interact. Studies have shown that peer to teacher and peer to peer interaction improves the learning and understanding of the student. But this may not be true to everyone, since each person has a different learning style.

It is never too late to go back to school. Online schools and online high school courses give you the opportunity to finish your education. If you enroll, be sure that the school you select has the right accreditation and will allow you to make the most of your money and education.

What Are the Best Online Colleges?

For many people attending a traditional four year brick and mortar college is neither practical nor possible for a variety of reasons. In previous times this meant resigning oneself to accepting only a high school education, to being stuck in a dead end career and perhaps never pursuing the college education that one truly desires. Fortunately, times have changed. These days anyone can obtain a college degree in a wide range of subjects and make their dreams come true. But with so many options and so much variation and quality in online education, it can be a daunting task to decide not only what degree to pursue but what online college to enroll in. This article should help as we ask the question and try to come up with an answer of just what are the best online colleges?

The three factors that should go into the decision making process of choosing an online college are; the quality of the education, the reputation of the school and the cost and suitability of the program. Online colleges come in three variations. The most plentiful are those online colleges that exist only in cyberspace with all learning and course materials conducted purely on the internet. The school does not have a bricks and mortar location available and all questions, coursework and interaction is conducted exclusively online. Some popular examples of some of the larger ‘online only’ colleges are Capella University, American Public University, Westwood College and Walden University, which was recently rated by US News as a top choice in online education.

Online only colleges can offer some of the most cost effective degrees but they also fall short comparatively when it comes to reputation as well as quality of instruction. Sometimes, depending on the degree being pursued, it can be quite valuable to have at least some in person instruction or classroom interaction with a trained educator. This is particularly true in those disciplines where some of the learning is necessarily experiential or hands on like nursing or social work and not purely academic or theoretical like mathematics.

The second variation in online colleges are those that are primarily online but offer at least a partial brick and mortar experience that is either optional or required for part of the degree program. These tend to be slightly more expensive than the online only colleges but they also generally offer a better known and more respected degree. Some examples of online colleges that offer an optional in-person component include The University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, DeVry University and American Intercontinental University (AIU), which has campuses worldwide in addition to those in the US.

The ability to add classroom instruction and to interact with professional educators makes this a more fulfilling experience than simply completing all your coursework over the internet with no in-person interaction. In fact some believe that certain areas of study necessitate in person instruction in order to fulfill the requirements of the degree. While slightly more expensive than the online only colleges, a good argument can be made that it is worth the extra cost.

The last variation of online colleges are those that are adjunct or part of an established, sometimes even famous and world renown brick and mortar university or college. Some people are surprised to hear that such famous institutions such as Syracuse University, Golden Gate University, Boston University, and even MIT and Stanford offer online degree programs in various disciplines. Some of these online degree programs are very highly rated and the beautiful thing about obtaining one of these degrees is that once you receive your diploma nobody except you needs to know you pursued your degree online. The full reputation of these prestigious schools can then go to work for you to obtain a great career advancing job and to appear as a linchpin of your resume for years to come.

Many of these top notch schools require some of your education to be done on-site, but again this depends on the specific course of study you are pursuing and information needs to be gotten on a case by case basis. The one downside to pursuing your education at a famous name online college is the cost. These schools are very aware that their names hold tremendous value in the marketplace and thus charge substantially more than similar degrees from lesser known online schools. However, depending on the degree program, the cost of an online degree can still be much lower than attending the school full time, especially when savings of room and board as well as loss of income if not working are figured into the equation.

With the plethora of options available today there is really no excuse to not obtain your college degree. Research shows that college graduates earn more money and lead more satisfying careers than those without a higher education. With options ranging from low cost online only to higher cost famous name online universities, the only limit is your own drive, determination and dreams.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3802497

Finding the Best Online Colleges

Before I go into the explanation of these colleges and about what they offer let’s go over a few things with regards to starting an internet education. When you go to a traditional college you have to go to class and set time aside time to meet up with teachers at a later day or to use the classroom space.

With a web school environment you have freedom to make your own schedule and you have extremely easy access to all your class information. With an internet college you can also put your focus on the other stuff in your life like work and making money. Online college is also extremely helpful when you have children and you have to do school at really odd hours.

There are quite a few online colleges now. They are becoming more popular every day. One of the best and most well known online schools is The University of Phoenix. There are upwards of 16 different schools in this university. They have around 200 campuses all over the united states and in British Columbia. It takes about 20 months to complete school. It was founded in 1976 and is now one of the largest online accredited schools in the world.

Kaplan University would be second next to UOP. There are 9 area’s of study including nursing, business, and health sciences. They were founded in 1937. They are ahead of time in teaching methods and the use of educational resources. Regarding payment, they have many options for people in the military on top of financial aid and grants.

DeVry University is in a close third to these school’s. They have 5 different, very specific colleges. They offer different options for schooling. You can go into a class, work online or do a mix of both. But the flexibility works with all kinds of people. They also offer a variety of different payment plans and grants. With 90 locations in the US and Canada it can be a bit harder to get to a campus, but the online portion is by far the best.

Online colleges are a lot less expensive than traditional in the classroom colleges. They are more convenient and work well with almost anyone’s schedule. With the different school and the option to go to a campus as well that also helps. When looking into your online college options the price and what they offer are really important, but the fact that they work so well with different lifestyles and people makes them a great option for anyone who is looking to get a degree.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4458745

Five questions to ask before choosing an online college

Before you invest your time and money into your career, you should learn how to recognise and find online degree programmes that are valuable and useful for your education and your future career.
Five questions to ask before choosing an online college
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Luckily, there are many online degree programmes available that can help you to achieve this, but sometimes recognising them can be tricky. When you search for a college online, usually there will be a lot of information available, but making sense out of it is not always easy. This is why I’ve created a list of the most important questions you need to consider when choosing an online college.

1. How long ago was the online college established?

A lot of online degree programmes are part of universities and colleges that have been around for a long time, and in most cases, these institutions were founded over 100 years ago. When you get an online degree from an established institution with a high reputation, the degree you receive will have proven value. If you are considering schools that have a shorter history, you should look at their established partnerships and relationships with other institutions, their employees, and community. You can gain valuable knowledge from a certain school’s partnerships with other schools and how it treats students.

2. Is that university or college accredited?

A college accreditation is similar to insurance policies; it protects your degree and defends the value of your knowledge. It usually won’t do you any good to invest money in schools that are not accredited. For example, if you take some medical training from an unaccredited educational institution, the degree you get will likely mean nothing when you try to get a job.

3. Can that programme help you in your career?

There are simply too many students who get burdened with unnecessary and excessive credits. They spend too much money and time getting their degrees without any real need for them. Even though they’ve invested a lot into their online degrees, they still get little and sometimes, even nothing in return. Besides analysing programmes, you should also analyse your own career goals and how a certain online degree fits in with your plans. Before you even think about enrolling, make sure that you ask for a degree plan and review it thoroughly. Make sure to see what the student placement and employment rates are and understand how much this degree is really valuable to potential employers.

4. What kind of support is available to online students?

A good support team can help a student get any academic support he or she needs. Make sure to check all of the online tutoring possibilities and the access you have to student advisors. You should avoid basing your decision solely on a certain programme’s sales pitch. Make sure that you have the equal right, support, and opportunities as an online student as all other students. Be prepared to experience some technical issues occasionally. This is why an online programme should also have good technical support that can help you by offering multiple methods for going through those issues.

5. How much is the average student debt and what’s the cost of studying?

The variations in prices for online studying can be huge. However, there are lots of high-quality, reputable, and flexible online programmes that can earn you a degree for a respectable price. But, be careful. Just because you are able to pay for a certain programme with loans doesn’t mean that programme is actually affordable. You must consider that student loan and whether you will be able to repay it in the future.

An online degree programme gives you the ability to study from your home and attend classes when you see fit, without the need of getting out of your house. They offer a lot of flexibility and, for example, if you are working at the same time, you can organise yourself better to finish all of your daily obligations, without having to sacrifice your education or your job. A lot of people have gotten their degrees online, what’s important is to ask these questions and find a respectable course.

A degree simply isn’t enough anymore

In South African society, university degrees still hold high social prestige. They’re a mark of affluence, privilege, and intellect. But despite all of this, degrees don’t hold the same value in the labour market as they once did.

For most employers, a degree just doesn’t cut it anymore—which is why successful professionals are relying more heavily on some of the following strategies to demonstrate their professional credibility and build their careers:

Developing credentials

A degree simply isn’t enough anymore
From 1994 to 2014, annual university enrolment numbers across South African universities almost doubled from 495,356 to 938,201 (SA Government News Agency). While this is a boon for the South African economy in general, it conversely means that holding a university degree doesn’t distinguish you as much in the labour market as it used to.

Increasingly, it is those who hold additional—more current and more specialised—professional credentials that are sought out by employers.

Professional organisation membership

While registering with a professional organisation is not a requirement for all professions, membership to such an organisation undoubtedly helps your career—regardless of what industry you are working in.

For example: If you complete an ICB bookkeeping course and join the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Accountants (ICBA), you will be able to increase your standing with employers in the following ways:

You will be able to use the ICBA professional designation after your name.
Your professional membership will show employers that you take your career seriously, and that you are part of a respected professional community.
You will be required to have a certain amount of work experience before you qualify for membership, which means that membership status is a mark of professional accomplishment.
To retain your membership, you will need to complete 20 hours of annual professional training, which will show employers that you are committed to continuous professional development.

Professional certifications

Professionals in the IT industry are no strangers to the importance of certification. While a BSc Computer Science degree can act as a strong foundation for your career, in this industry you will need an array of professional certificates to show that you are competent in areas of specialisation, new technologies, individual software packages and platforms, and coding languages.

But it’s not only the IT profession that benefits from professional certification. For example:

Project managers can benefit from the PMI’s Project Management Professional Certification
Accountants can benefit from SAGE Pastel Certification
Occupational Health and Safety workers can benefit from OHSAS 18001 Certification

Certification not only increases your earning potential, but also your employability. According to the Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey, PMP certification holders earn 20% more than their non-certified project management peers. And in Manpower South Africa’s 2015 annual Talent Shortage Survey, 30% of South African employers cited the lack of industry-specific qualifications or certifications as a challenge in filling vacant positions.

Expanding skillsets

According to the same Manpower South Africa survey mentioned above,
47% of employers cited the lack of technical competencies or hard skills as a reason why they struggled to fill vacant positions.

While a degree programme might equip you with certain work-related skills, there is often a mismatch between those skills and the vocational skills employers actually want. Few undergraduate programmes, for example, will give you the concrete management skills required for nearly half of the 829 000 job vacancies in corporate South Africa (Manpower South Africa).

Skills development, in its various forms, is thus an essential career development tool for the modern professional.

Diversifying skills

The demands of a fluctuating global economy, shifting modes of production, and rapid technological changes place a lot of pressure on modern businesses. Consequently, employers look for versatile, multi-skilled professionals as core employees, while regarding single-skilled labourers as more expendable.

Taking a short course in a field related—or even unrelated—to your profession is the best way to expand your skillset, take on more key responsibilities, and increase your value as an employee:

If you are working in marketing, you can develop your journalism skills.
If you are a HR representative, you can enrol for a legal studies course.
If you are a manager, you can expand your skillset with basic accounting training.

The best way to make yourself indispensable to your organisation is to ensure that your employer will need to appoint two different people to replace you.

Upskilling

There is a rising distrust of degrees amongst South African employers. This stems from an increasing fear of inflated grade averages, lowered institutional standards, and wide-spread credential fraud.

Upskilling can help build on your degree by equipping you with tangible skills related to your field of study. Moreover, the benefits of upskilling include:

Expanding your current skillset
Updating old skills
Catching up with new industry advancements
Revitalising a stagnant career with new skills

You don’t need to do your master’s degree to upgrade your skillset, however. There are many distance learning colleges, such as Oxbridge Academy, that make it easy for professionals to complete a variety of skills development courses on a part-time basis from home.

Soft skills

There is a difference between a qualified employee and a good employee. While a degree might give you expertise in a certain field, most degrees don’t give you the core “soft” skills you need to become a successful working professional.

Oxbridge Training Institute defines soft skills as a “cluster of personality traits, social skills, communication skills, personal habits, and leadership qualities” that will “improve your efficiency and productivity, thereby increasing the likelihood that you will be able to achieve your organisation’s goals, as well as your own career goals.”

Soft skills include:

Business etiquette
Business writing
Change management
Communication
Creative problem solving
Motivational skills
Negotiation skills
Presentation skills
Proposal writing

Impressive workplace skills and practiced professionalism can set you apart from other degree-holding employees. In a 2014 survey by CareerBuilder, for example, 77% of surveyed employers said they actively seek candidates with soft skills, while 16% went as far as to say that these skills are more valued than ‘hard’ skills.

Engaging in online learning

Insurance Manager Graeme Gallichan became Oxbridge Academy’s first online short course graduate earlier this year. Upon completion of the course, we asked him what the biggest benefit of online learning is:

“I believe in our pressurised lives where we have very little available time for learning, that online learning is a very worthwhile tool as you can study at your own pace and when you have time available. It is easy enough to have access from anywhere and do bit by bit when you can.”

Online learning has become the perfect tool for professionals who want to expand their skillsets without wasting time. Moreover, there is an endless array of digital mediums and platforms to facilitate online learning—from online colleges, to YouTube channels and open learning websites.

Why continuous development matters

All of the above strategies for career advancement pivot around the idea of continuous development. As Graeme Gallichan—who already holds a BCompt degree—motivates his decision to enrol for an online course at Oxbridge Academy:

“Any course I do is mainly for my personal benefit and then hopefully will have a positive effect on my career. I do courses to keep up to date with new ideas. I think continuous skills development is extremely important in today’s working environment.”

While earning a degree might have helped you kick off your career, advancing that career will rely on what steps you decide to take next. Continuously developing as a modern professional means that you will have to keep your skills sharp and your credentials updated.