Sometimes it may seem like just the process of searching for online programs that offer undergraduate or graduate degrees is overwhelming. So much so, in fact, that you may have already started (and stopped) your search for the best program many times over by now. The longer you wait, the longer you put it off, the more reasons you’ll come up with to procrastinate or – worse – not pursue your degree at all. Let this new year be the year you take that life-transforming step forward and launch your academic pursuits. Here are some tips to help you make this new year the year you start working towards your academic degree:
1. Choose a course of study.
Whether you want to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration or are looking to start an MBA in Sports Management, decide what area of study you want to pursue. If you aren’t sure, but only know that you do want to earn an undergraduate degree or a graduate degree, that’s no problem. You can call an admissions counselor at the university you are interested in attending and he or she will help you explore different options for your area of study. In most cases, you don’t need to “declare your major” straightaway. You’ll have lots of core curriculum to complete for either your Bachelor’s degree or your Master’s degree. So, while you are in the process of taking those required courses toward your degree, you will be networking and communicating with many other students, instructors, and advisors. They will all work to inspire you and help you decide on which area of study you want to focus.
2. Choose a university.
This step can be easy for some and frustrating for others. If you have friends or relatives who have completed an academic program at the particular university you are considering, that will make it easier for you to decide because you have their opinions and experiences to help you. If you have no idea which university is best for you, you’ll want to consider a few things. These might include: the tuition, whether they offer a financial aid program, their areas of study, if they allow you to take one course at a time, if they’re accredited, and the experience and quality of their instructors. Read student testimonials and peruse their website. If they cater to the non-traditional learner (like yourself), have small class sizes (even the ones online), offer financial aid, and employ instructors with real-world experience in what they are teaching, it might be a perfect fit for you!
3. Contact the university.
Once you’ve decided which university you want to attend for your online or on-campus degree program, contact the university. Talk to representatives in admissions, financial aid, and your course of study. If it’s an established university with experience helping the non-traditional adult student, you’ll feel welcomed and at ease immediately. Their advisors will answer all of your questions and help you through the entire enrollment process.
4. Start your courses.
While not every university offers start dates on a regular basis, a select few do. Enroll in a program that enables you to start your courses when it’s convenient for you. If your program has a start date in January, don’t delay! It’s a fabulous way to start the brand new year – and you will have extra motivation if this is one of your new year resolutions!
Shout it from the rooftops (or the social media platforms) that you are in school working towards your degree. Your circle of loved ones will help to encourage you and keep you moving forward.
5. Tell your loved ones.
Share the good news with your family and friends. Shout it from the rooftops (or the social media platforms) that you are in school working toward your degree. Your circle of loved ones will help to encourage you and keep you moving forward. You’ll feel accountable to them because they’re rooting for you and want the very best for you. In return, your bravery and confidence to (finally) pursue a lifelong goal will surely inspire and motivate them to pursue their goals, too.
Embrace your first few courses with passion and excitement! If you get stuck, it’s no big deal. You are not alone. Instructors encourage and welcome private emails sent to them from students who have questions or challenges. If you want, you’ll also be able to post on the instructor’s board for others in your class to read your questions about an assignment. In addition, you’ll be constantly interacting and networking with other students with the same feelings, fears, and goals as you. You can contact them via the university’s email system, and you can respond to their postings on the discussion board.
Just follow these six steps and you’ll be ready to embrace the new year as you had always hoped and imagined!
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