I want to go back to school for a master's degree, but I am very busy with work and family commitments. How can I fit graduate school into my schedule?
Many graduate students who have busy lives go to school part time. Plenty of master's degree and other graduate-level programs offer evening and Saturday courses to accommodate working students. Another fantastic option for busy students is an online program. Going to school online allows students to study at their own pace, from the comforts of home. Online students create their own schedules and complete lessons and assignments when it is convenient for them. Busy working students often find that an online graduate school fits easily into their lifestyle. Take a look at "Advance Your Career With an Advanced Degree" from Monster Learning for more about benefits of returning to school.
Is there a difference between online graduate degrees and on-campus graduate degrees?
Most online programs are extremely comparable to their on-campus counterparts. In fact, the only distinguishable difference between most programs usually is where classes are held. Online degrees offered by traditional colleges and universities typically are indistinguishable on a diploma; employers are generally unable to tell the difference between an online student and a traditional one.
How can I tell how reputable an online program is?
While most online graduate programs are absolutely reputable, there still are those that are not. Accreditation is a great way to check on an undergraduate program's accreditation, but currently, there is no accreditation for graduate schools. One way a prospective student can check on a program's quality is by looking at the career placement statistics. Most colleges and universities will have reports on the number of graduates working in their field within six months of graduation. They may also have statistics on graduates' opinions of the program. For more information about the quality of distance degree programs, read "How to Check for a High Quality Online Degree Program" from our partner site, OnlineSchools.net.
How do I go about choosing the best online program for me?
The choices can be quite overwhelming when it comes time to choose an online program. A great approach a student can take is to make a list of what factors are most important, such as cost, format, course selection, and instructors' qualifications. Many schools' admissions representatives are available for live chat via the school website, which is a great resource for students to use when they have questions. Many students also factor in published rankings. Consider reading "Ranking Online Schools and Choosing the Right One for You" from our partner site, OnlineSchools.net, for more information about school rankings.
What kind of financial aid is available for online graduate schools?
Students eligible for financial aid from campus programs are generally eligible for financial aid for online programs. Graduate aid programs from the federal government include Stafford loans and PLUS loans for students. Graduate students may also be able to receive tuition reimbursement from their employer. More information on financial aid is available from FinAid.org, and a scholarship search is offered by FastWeb.
How long will graduate school take?
That depends on a number of factors, including the type of program you are enrolled in and how fast you can work. Many online programs are designed to allow students to take one class at a time, starting each new course immediately after completing the last. This method permits students to work at their own pace and determine the length of time they spend in a graduate program.