College How to Guide

Learn more about planning for college, saving money for college, and succeeding in college with this helpful resource geared towards students of all ages.

How to Apply to College

Learning more about the application process will help you understand what colleges are looking for, and this will bring you a cut above other applicants.

How to Find a College

Understanding what you are looking for in a college is the first step to finding the best school that meets all your requirements.

How to Pay for College

Learn more about ways you can afford college through financial aid, work-study programs, and some simple planning before you attend.

How to Succeed in College

From internships to taking advantage of career centers read information about how to succeed in college from your first day, to when you walk across the stage for your diploma.

Planning for an Online Education

College is the natural goal for many high-school graduates, stay at home parents, and working professionals who want to further their careers. College provides the promise of a quality education, but traditional college campuses do not come without challenges.

It’s difficult for many non-traditional students to commute to class everyday, especially when they have to struggle to find parking and childcare. This becomes even more of a challenge when the student combines working with full or part-time work. More, it is difficult for many students to get the most out of their education when lecture halls are overcrowded and professors are difficult to track down in-person.

With the advent of the Internet, students can eliminate the challenges of a traditional college education and obtain a degree online. Most online degrees are career-focused, making them a practical option for all. Whether it’s an online trade degree to get started, or a JD degree to advance to high levels in the legal system, students can enter an online school, earn their degree in the comfort of their own home, and sooner than they know it, start a career they love.

Online schools are a little different...

Online classes encourage you to be an independent learner. In other words, it's your responsibility to complete and hand-in assignments via the school's website or educational portal. While you may have to attend a few virtual lectures, the rest of your schedule is quite flexible. Studying, reviewing lectures, and when you want to complete assignments are all on your schedule.

Your professor will usually give an online syllabus outlining all your assignments at the beginning of each course. Assignments can run the gamut from essays and papers to online tests and quizzes completed totally online. That way, you'll be responsible for retaining the information you read and learn about in lectures.

Some professors may ask students to participate in group discussions or online chats with other students. This is a great opportunity to ask peers any questions you have about the course material. Additionally, professors will post online, "office hours," in which they will be available for email, phone, or online instant message conversations so you can discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding class material.

Expect to earn an online degree in roughly three to four years. Some schools even hold regional graduation ceremonies where students can collect their diplomas. The choice is yours...

Each online college will offer a different set of degrees, all of which are typically available in on-campus formats as well. So, whether you're studying healthcare, business and finance, education, social sciences, criminal justice, or psychology, you'll be getting an accredited education from a real, reputable college or university.

Let's Get Started...

Interested in an online education? There are so many school and degree options, it’s important to ask yourself a few simple questions while researching:

  • What do I want?

    Examine your specific career goals. Are you interested in earning a bachelor’s degree and possibly a master’s, or are you looking into earning your certification for a specialized skill? Narrow down your goals to make the most out of your research.

  • What do I need?

    Online colleges make it easy to earn your degree, but you’ll need access to a computer with high speed Internet for around four hours a day. Consider investing in a laptop or personal computer.

  • How much time do I have?

    Be prepared to spend as much as four hours a day on your online education. While flexible and convenient, earning a degree online still requires a dedicated commitment.

  • How much money does it cost?

    Most online degrees are more affordable than traditional on-campus programs, especially when you don’t have to spend extra money on room and board. Typically, online classes will cost anywhere from $400-800 per credit. Look into financial aid options to help offset the cost.

  • What are the requirements?

    Most degree programs will require a high-school diploma or GED to make sure you're up to speed.

Not only do you have the responsibility of choosing the right degree, but you also need to choose the right online school. Consider the following criteria:

  • Where Do I Attend College?

    If the school you are considering is in another time zone, you need to take that into consideration as you will be expected to hand in assignments on time. Additionally, if an online college has a campus near you, you'll have the unique ability to choose a combination of courses online AND on campus.

  • Is the College Accredited?

    Accreditation by the U.S. Department of Education is essential to earning a quality degree. Accreditation ensures the school operates on a higher level of standards and upholds these standards according to the educational needs of students today. Make sure your online college is accredited. To learn more about accreditation, visit or College Accreditation page.

  • Is it a Scam?

    Unfortunately, scams are all over the Internet. An organization may be presenting themselves as an accredited online college when they offer no education value. Look out for the following red flags:

    • Asking for payment upfront
    • No physical address
    • Guaranteeing diplomas in a short amount of time (sometimes even months)

Degrees from online colleges are quickly becoming the norm. In fact, more than 20 percent of all students now take at least one eLearning course. Plus, employers are beginning to realize that online degrees show determination to obtain a diploma regardless of challenges and personal hurdles. With the flexibility to earn an associate's, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree, as well as many certifications, there’s nothing holding you back from higher education. The first step, however, is to do your research. Review these College How To's and then find the program that fits your personal and professional goals.

Does Your Career Hit the Mark?

Compare your career and/or degree to other popular fields in America and discover how yours adds up.

Click Here to Find out!