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Do Some Research Before Enrolling in an Online Program

Online degree and certificate programs have become increasingly popular in the last 10 years. They're convenient, inexpensive and allow you to gain an additional notch on your belt while working elsewhere. Despite all the perceived flexibility of such programs, this weekend's New York Times offered some good advice for anyone considering signing on: before you enroll you should understand the commitment that will be involved. Here's more:

  • How long will it take to get a degree? Before you make the leap, be prepared to spend at least 10 to 20 hours a week, for at least one or two years, on your online learning — and possibly more, depending on the degree.
  • How much will it cost? The price varies widely, but in many cases tuition fees are comparable to those at brick-and-mortar schools — minus the added cost of things like room and board.
  • How will it compare to college outside the virtual world? Professionals who opt for online degrees will almost certainly miss out on many of the impromptu lunches, barroom debates and other serendipitous learning experiences that occur on a college campus. You may also be less likely to make lasting personal and professional connections with your online classmates.

Have you ever taken (or considered taking) a class or certificate program online?

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