Top Questions to Ask Before Enrolling in an Online Bachelor's Degree Program
You've been researching online degree programs and you've taken the first step and gotten in touch.
A few calls and emails and the next thing you know you're on the phone or video chat discussing what could be your entire future—an online degree that can open doors to a dream job, networking, friends, and more education.
After a whirlwind of information, the university representative asks you, "Do you have any questions for me?"
Your mind goes blank.
You have a thousand questions, of course! Getting a degree online is a huge decision! As soon as you hang up, you know a thousand questions will spring to mind but for now, you can't think of a single one.
Never fear, we're here to help.
Keep this list handy, and give it a read before your call. Mark out questions that are irrelevant to you, highlight ones you're especially curious about, and make notes as they come up in conversation. That way, when you're asked, you're ready with your questions and you'll end the phone call with the knowledge you need to take the next steps in earning your degree online.
The Online College Student Experience
- What can I expect to experience as an online student with your school?
- How are the academic terms structured?
- Are all courses I will take full term, partial term, or both? What's the difference?
- Can I attend part time/full time?
- Will my online classes be mostly synchronous (live courses in real time) or asynchronous (prerecorded, available at my own pace?)
General University Information for Online Students
- Is the university or program nationally or regionally accredited? If so, which? What's the difference?
- Will this program prepare me for the professional certification or licensure I need?
- What are the application dates?
- How much is tuition? What fees should I expect?
- Do you have a brick and mortar campus? If so, will I be welcomed there as an online student?
- May I take classes on campus, if possible?
- Will my classes be different online than if I took them on campus? If so, how?
- Can I start classes if I don't know what major I want yet?
- You don't offer the program I want online. Should I bother?
- How long has your school been doing online learning?
Fitting My Online Degree Program Into My Life
- What support is available for students?
- Do you find many people have jobs in this program? Do they tend to work full time or part time?
- How can students successfully fit this program into their other responsibilities?
- Are many other students parents or caregivers?
- What resources are available to help students succeed?
- What happens if I need to pause or stop my program?
Technical Questions About Earning a Degree Online
- What are the internet speed requirements to be successful in this program?
- Will I need certain hardware (mouse, keyboard, laptop, camera, etc.) so successfully connect with my classwork and professor?
- What software is available to me through the school?
- What kind of technical support can I expect?
- Are there resources available if I'm in a rural/unreliable internet area?
Transferring to Complete My Degree Online
- How will you determine which of my classes transfer?
- What if I have gaps in my transcripts that I need to fill to qualify?
- What if my grades aren't good enough?
- Do you work with any community colleges or higher ed centers for academic partnerships and resources? How can that benefit me?
- Who can help me navigate the transfer and application process?
- Should I talk to other schools?
- I want a fresh start. Should I still bother rounding up previous transcripts?
- Will my trade school or work experience help or hurt me in the transfer process?
Life After Graduation
- Do you offer career services? What do they entail?
- What does the alumni network like?
- Will my degree say "online?"
- How marketable will my degree be for my future job hunt?
While the person you're speaking with may not have all of this information at their fingertips, these are all common questions that they should be able to answer by your next conversation.
You should feel like you're having an open and honest dialogue about your future when discussing an online degree program. If you end the call feeling confused, you feel like you're on the end of a sales pitch, or you realize your questions have not been answered, consider carefully before proceeding.
This is your life-changing decision. You should feel like you're in the driver's seat at all times. Information like this will help you make the most sound decision possible for your future, your family, and your career.