Christine Paul Cardenas is a graduate of Herzing University. She shares her personal and professional experience of becoming a nurse to help other nursing students discover the best pathway in their nursing journey.
There are many benefits to choosing an online degree program. Some people appreciate the flexible class schedule and the ability to learn from home. In a lot of ways, a virtual learning environment is like learning in a classroom. Through online learning, you’ll have assignments, tests and lectures to listen to, only now it will all be held online. Much like face-to-face classes, what you get out of the course is related to how much you put into it, but there are factors to consider before enrolling in an online program.
Online learning is not for everyone because everybody learns differently. It can be a convenient and flexible way to earn a degree and get one step closer to the job of your dreams. It is best to assess yourself first to know if online learning is for you.
Here are some things to consider if you are wondering if online classes are right for you!
1. Be comfortable with technology
Are you comfortable using computers? As you can imagine, being an online student means that you will spend a lot of time on your computer. Because of this, it’s important to have a reliable device equipped with Microsoft Office Suite and strong internet service. The last thing you want is to have your computer crash and be unable to do your schoolwork!
You will be using your email often during online schooling. You’ll attend online meetings to connect with other students and staff. As an online student, the internet will be your best friend, so if you are someone who feels lost at the keyboard, you may benefit more from in-person learning.
2. Be independent and self-driven
Do you need the routine of going to class to stay motivated? Online learning is different from going to classes in person. As an online student, you will be doing a lot of studying on your own. The curriculum for an online platform can be rigorous and is best appreciated by responsible, independent, self-motivated, organized, and self-driven professionals.
Because you’re not seeing people face-to-face, you are responsible for holding yourself accountable to deadlines. It can be difficult to balance multiple responsibilities independently but there are many resources available to students. You get out what you put into your online education- these resources depend on what you put into accessing and using.
How’s your schedule? Are you very busy every day? Are you juggling work, family, finances, household chores, and school? There are a lot of time management skills required for online learning. Self-discipline is a must to thrive in a virtual learning environment. For mature professionals, online learning can be a great choice.
3. Know yourself
Do you need a new job? Do you want a change in your career? What are you looking for in an online program? Why do you need to go back to school on an online learning platform? These are some questions to ask yourself before enrolling in an online program.
Online classes are not easy but they’re also not impossible to pass. With the right time management skills, self-discipline and motivation, you will succeed. If attending an online school sounds like it’s a good choice for you then you shouldn’t hold back on getting your degree.
4. Know the school
When considering an online school program, it’s important to examine all aspects of what they have to offer. As a student, you will benefit from having a strong support system. Does the online school you’re trying to get into offering any support, help, and assistance with your academics, mental health, financial aid, or clinicals? Do you have to look for your preceptor? Are there any scholarships available? Is a GRE required? You must know all of it before you decide to enroll at a school.
Know what the students, faculty, and university graduates are saying about the school’s reputation and performance. Ask the ones who’ve experienced it such as current and former students and faculty about their experience with the school.
5. Do your research
It’s important to make a well-informed decision, so you should do plenty of research before committing to an online program. It is helpful to know if the online college or university is a regionally (or nationally) accredited academic institution and if it’s approved by the state’s Board of Education.
Accreditation is very important. In nursing programs for (both private and public nursing schools) across the United States, most nursing schools are either accredited by CCNE or ACEN.
For most nursing jobs, it is also required by companies that the job applicant has graduated from an accredited nursing program. An accredited nursing program is highly valued by employers in the U.S. so make sure you attend a nursing school that has the proper accreditation.
Once you have done all your research, it’s time to make your decision! With the right preparation, you will succeed whether you are in the classroom or learning online!
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.