Online Learning

10 Things to Look for When Applying to Distance Learning Schools

When applying to any school for long-distance learning, it’s important to bear certain things in mind. With Google churning out over 32 million hits for ‘distance learning courses’ there’s a whole lot of filtering to be done to find the one that’s best for you. Of course, there are some simple steps to help sort the wheat from the chaff, and if you follow them, you’ll be a whole lot closer to finding the right distance-learning school for you.

1. Make sure you check out the qualifications gained at the end of the course. Find out who the governing body is for accreditations in the field of study you wish to undertake, and find out from them which universities and institutions are accredited and qualified to teach the subject in question. This way, you are guaranteed a course that has been vetted and passed by those who really are in the know.

2. Take into account the fact that many universities will require a personal visit sometime during your course. Don’t even bother applying to any university you would not be able or willing to attend in person should they request it.

3. Look at cost. Price up several universities, get full syllabuses, and try and get hold of the national average cost for the course you plan to attend.

4. Try and find out who your tutor or instructor would be. Ideally, arrange a face-to-face meeting to talk through the course, or at least some kind of teleconference. It’s always a good idea to be able to put a face to the text you’ll be seeing on your screen.

5. Look for testimonials from other students, if possible. Speak to as many people about the course as possible, and find out exactly what it entails from ALL perspectives, not just the academic one.

6. If possible, make a list of five or six of the best options, then visit the school in question. Ask to see facilities, materials, textbooks, and a copy of the syllabus.

7. Visit the web forums and message boards (if possible) for the courses you plan to look at. If possible, try and ‘sit in’ on a lecture or teleconference if they offer them, or read as many discussion board posts as possible to get a feel for the course and the other students on it.

8. Learn the application process by heart before you even begin to apply, as being prepared at this stage will stand you in much greater stead further down the line, when the paperwork is flying in all directions.

9. Find out exactly what course materials are necessary, and check out the quality and content of any required books ahead of time.

10. And finally, make sure that you can accommodate the workload the course will generate. Don’t take on more than you can comfortably handle.

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