Even before that first elementary school career day, life goals start to percolate: teacher, firefighter, nurse, police officer. By high school’s end, the choices are boundless and the list of colleges is long. For some, it’s a straight line from a high school diploma to a college degree. Other students choose to delay their college education in favor of taking classes at a community college or entering the workforce in order to gain valuable experience and income.
But regardless of the path taken, all those on the journey to a bachelor's degree are likely to ask themselves somewhere along the way, “Am I ready?” Here are five ways to gauge if you are:
You’ve laid the foundation
It’s been some time since you graduated from high school or earned your GED, and as one of the growing number of adult learners ready to earn a degree online, you’ve already accumulated valuable life experience since your secondary school days. As you explore degree options, you may be eligible to earn credit for college courses you’ve taken previously, or for life experiences ranging from military service to professional development.
You’ve discovered your passion
A 2016 study showed that 55% of students surveyed had settled on a degree before selecting an online university for postsecondary education.* You’ve inventoried your interests, skills, and talents, and examined projected post-graduation career outlooks. If you are still caught between passions, a career services center can be useful in helping you clarify your ultimate goal.
You’ve found the university that’s right for you
After researching a wide range of online schools, you’ve decided to pursue your degree within an accredited university that provides the exciting and challenging mix of educational opportunities you seek. An online education puts learning at your fingertips 24/7, and can also offer residencies and practica and internships to give you valuable, real-world experience. Earning a degree online will also provide the flexibility you seek, allowing you to blend your studies with the richness of your everyday life—a job, family, friends, hobbies. Students cite flexible class schedules as one of the top reasons for choosing online courses.* Flexible start dates and learning formats are among the options that will help you maintain harmony in your busy life.
You have the support you need
If you spent time wondering how you would navigate this new adventure once you begin, you’ve also looked into what types of support are offered by the university you’ve chosen. The best online universities offer a host of services and resources designed to support every step of your academic journey. The list should include personal advisors, an online library, research support, a writing center, an academic skills center, and even a career services center.
You’re ready to invest in your college education
You’re also eager to review all available opportunities for financial aid as you look for the tuition-funding plan that works best for you. Students often draw on a mix of sources that may include scholarships and grants and loans. Some employers may offer tuition assistance. A financial aid advisor or the bursar's office can help prospective students find answers to questions about fees and tuition.
Determining that you’re ready to begin a degree program might be the first step, but it’s also one of the biggest. From there, you might just find that your decision has the power to uncover hidden talents, build professional confidence, and truly change your future. From a BS in Accounting or Computer Information Systems to a BS in Public Health or Psychology, in the world of higher education, there are options to fit every future.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering online bachelor’s degree programs along with a variety of undergraduate minors. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
*Clinefelter, D. L. & Aslanian, C. B., (2016). Online college students 2016: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc. On the internet at www.learninghouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/OCS-2016-Report.pdf
Walden University is accredited by The Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.