Schools, Colleges, and Universities – Things To Consider…
Before you choose the type of online college or university you want to attend, ask yourself these six questions:
- Do you want a program that is completely online?
- Can you complete your studies at a 2-year college, or do you need to attend a 4-year college?
- Would you prefer a public college or a private college?
- Does it matter whether your school is a for-profit university or a not-for-profit university?
- How well do you understand accreditation?
- Which online colleges offer your major or desired program?
In this section, you’ll find information and thought starters on these questions and more. If you’re only concerned with one or two of these questions, you can select from the individual items listed below.
Online vs. On-Campus
Once you have decided on the subject you intend to study and which degree you will pursue – whether it is an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a doctoral degree, or a certificate – the next thing you need to do is select a school. As you prepare to evaluate schools, you will need to decide if you prefer an online program or an on-campus program. While either may result in your earning a degree, as a working adult with competing life priorities, there are a few things to think about:
- Is the school you wish to attend or the degree program that interests you easily accessible from your home or work location?
The growing popularity and advantages offered by an online degree program eliminate many of the challenges faced by working adults who decide to go back to school.
- Online programs provide greater access to schools beyond your local community, including access to many top colleges and universities nationally, giving you the opportunity to attend the program of your choice at the school of your choice, no matter where it is located.
- Online programs eliminate the drive time associated with a commute to a local campus.
- Online programs offer greater scheduling flexibility in that you do not have a set day and time to be in a physical classroom. As long as you have your computer and access to the Internet, you can enter the virtual classroom from anywhere, at any time day or night, to complete your course work.
- Think about how you learn. Are face-to-face interactions essential to your learning experience? Are you capable of working independently? Do you have the discipline to be able to function in a less structured, less traditional learning environment?
- If personal contact with a professor and face-to-face group interactions are critical for you to learn then a campus environment would be more appropriate, where you can be in a traditional classroom setting.
- If however you are disciplined, self-sufficient and capable of working on your own, then you will succeed in the less structured virtual environment of an online program. You will still interact with your professors and be involved in group discussions and team learning, but it will be in chat rooms, on message boards and in a virtual classroom.
- Does the degree you plan to pursue require laboratory, clinical, or other practical instruction in a physical learning environment?
- In the past, enrolling in a degree programs that required lab work or other hands-on training like clinical time, meant your only option was attending a local college or university. Many online schools however, are changing that model with hybrid programs that offer the flexibility of online classes while also providing the opportunity for you to complete practical requirements locally or during “in-residence” sessions. For this reason you should always check with the admissions representatives from your desired schools before writing them off just because they are not in your local area.
Two-Year & Four-Year Schools
The choice between a two-year program and a four-year program really depends on the degree you want to obtain or the requirements of career you plan to pursue. The basic differences and related degree categories are as follows:
4-Year School – An institution authorized primarily to award Bachelor (or higher) degrees, such as a college or university.
- A Bachelor’s degree normally requires 4 years of full-time study; for example, a Bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), or a Bachelor’s degree in management.
- An advanced degree is one that is awarded after the bachelor degree; including Master and Doctoral degrees. This category also includes post-baccalaureate and post-master’s certificates.
2-Year School – An institution authorized to award Associate degrees or 2-year or longer certificates, such as a community or technical college.
- An Associate’s degree is an award that normally requires between 2 and 4 years of full-time study; examples include an associate degree in biology or computer information systems.
Less Than 2-Year – An institution authorized to award certificates that are typically obtained in less than two years, such as a licensed practical nurse.
- A Certificate is a postsecondary professional award that normally requires 2 years or less of full time study to complete; examples include a certificate in cosmetology or emergency medical technology.
Public & Private Colleges and Universities
The main difference between public schools and private schools is that public schools are government-run, while private schools operate on funds from tuition and private donations. A Public educational institution’s programs and activities are operated by publicly elected or appointed school officials and are supported primarily by public funds.
For-Profit & Not-for-Profit Colleges and Universities
The major difference between For-Profits and Not-for-Profits is the school mission. Private Not-For-Profit (non-profit) educational institutions are those in which the individual(s) or agency in control receives no compensation, other than wages, rent or expenses for the assumption of risk. These include both independent not-for-profit schools and those affiliated with a religious organization. Private-For-Profit schools operate like other businesses. Investors back them and they work towards a profit. These are educational institution in which the individual(s) or agency in control receives compensation other than wages, rent, or other expenses for the assumption of risk.
Before you begin your online degree, you’ll want to select a college or university that is accredited. Accreditation ensures that an institution provides programs that are consistent with the academic quality, improvement, and accountability expectations of the accrediting agency and that the school you attend will provide value in return for your educational investment. Read More About Accreditation Here…
Finding Your Desires School Or Degree
Once you have considered the points above, where can you go to find your preferred degree program?
LPN to RN Degree Online and RN Education Resource provide detailed nursing school profiles and links to accredited online nursing degree programs as well as campus based nursing schools to help prepare nurse leaders to handle the increasing complexities of care and greater responsibilities of 21st century health care.