How to Prepare for an Online Degree

The last time I talked about an online degree, it was back in 2013. The online education landscape has changed a lot since then, with reputable universities now offering more programs to choose from. In fact, online degrees are so popular today, especially now that high school graduates and professionals are opting for online programs rather than the conventional brick-and-mortar courses.

With so many accredited degrees to choose from, finding one that suits you best is relatively easy. Enrolling and getting started with the course, however, requires a bit more preparation. Here are some tips on how to prepare for your next online degree.

Understand the Course Requirements

One of the best things about today’s online courses is that you can find as much information as you need directly on the program’s website. You can read the complete curriculum, check the syllabus and find out more about entry and course requirements.

Entry requirements are the minimum standards you have to meet in order to be able to enroll. For example, you can’t take a master’s degree in business administration without a bachelor’s degree and a sufficient GPA.

Course requirements, on the other hand, are requirements you’ll have to meet in order to stay in the program and graduate with the degree. For instance, some nursing programs require you to attend at least one class while completing the rest of the program online. Other programs can be taken 100% remotely, so you don’t have to travel to the university at all.

Understand these details and you will have no trouble pursuing the degree of your dreams. Don’t hesitate to ask questions using the available support channels if there are requirements that you don’t understand.

Set a Pace

Another great thing about online degrees is that you can study at your own time. You can allocate as much – or as little – time as you like and complete the course at your own pace. Programs such as the online master’s in library science from the University of Southern California, for example, can be completed in as little as 18 months, as long as you are willing to allocate more time.

It is best to do your time allocation and scheduling at the beginning of the course. With most programs, you can safely allocate an hour every day for studying and still be able to complete the course on time. Don’t forget to stick to the schedule once you start the course.

Get Familiar with the System

The online MMLIS program and other online courses all rely on an online learning platform. This platform may differ depending on the university you’re enrolling into, but they serve the same purpose: to provide you with all the resources you need to complete the course.

Before the program starts, always take the time to get familiar with the learning platform. Find out how you can download course materials and get in touch with lecturers. Even better, introduce yourself to the lecturers for the semester so you can ask questions easily later. Last, but certainly not least, make sure you have all the learning materials you need stored offline to make studying a breeze.

So, are you ready to pursue the degree you’ve always wanted online? With these tips in mind, the answer to that question is a big YES.


  • Kate Sarsfield

    Exactly the same advice applies for parents who are trying to homeschool children. There are so many practical tutorials to show us how to do things.

  • Rosie

    This is good in that so many jobs require a degree and/or advanced degrees. The more that it is doable for people, the greater will be the opportunity to get or keep a job.

  • Sarah L

    When I was in college the only computers filled a room and ran with keypunch cards. Amazing what you can do online now.

  • michele

    For all the folks who work but would love to further their education this option is wonderful….Online study leaves you the spave to do whatever else must be done in your life…

  • Tamra Phelps

    There are still lots of subjects I’d love to study, too. Archaeology, anthropology or history would be great to study online.

  • Kate Sarsfield

    I’d love to study more (Dad always called me the perfect perpetual student!). I’ve done microbiology, food science & disability studies/law but archaeology, botany and zoology have always interested me. If you’d asked me, aged 3 – 9ish, what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always answer ‘a Vet’!

  • Jerry Marquardt

    I would love to continue my education, so this is excellent information. I need my hip surgery first, and then I may be taking your advice, going back for more education.

  • Sue E

    I pinned this. I know some friends that go back and forth between taking an online course or to just take a class. These are good preparation points!
    There is one that I consider really important, is to find a quiet secluded room where the material that you are studying sinks in and you can hear yourself think!!

  • Tamra Phelps

    I would totally do this if I needed to return to school. The classes today are offered by accredited colleges (often the same ones that have on-site classes, too.)

    • Kate Sarsfield

      I did a blended course – mostly online & a couple of days in College spread over the year – that lasted 5 years and got my Master’s Degree back in 2011. All while working full-time. Needless to say not a whole lot of housework got done!

  • Tamra Phelps

    I know several of my family members have done online courses & degrees. It works as well as going to class as long as you make sure you’re picking the right school.

  • clojo9372

    I think this is valuable information. I think a lot more students might want to do this because it would be more affordable for them. I know I would be interested. Thanks Connie. 🙂

  • michele

    this is one of your best posts.. Giving all the vital info and updates on online education.. So many people use this now and your advice is well needed.. Thank you…

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