When selecting an online college, prospective distance learners have more options today than ever before. Joy Bailey, who will have been with Mississippi State University’s Distance Education program for 24 years this October, says that most schools offer quality degrees and coursework options. The important factors to consider, she says, are a university’s student services.

Student services are paramount to success

According to Joy, there are several traits potential distance learners should look for when selecting an online degree program. The most paramount offering is a comprehensive online orientation course. This course should cover what to expect throughout your tenure as a student, how to navigate the school’s various platforms, how to complete and submit assignments, logging in to courses and all other factors of attending class. Other considerations, according to her, include:

  • Step-by-step support system: Since distance learners aren’t onsite with faculty, having a support team that will foster your success from application through to graduation is crucial.

  • Scholarship opportunities: Scholarships are imperative to affording tuition.

  • Career assistance: One of the top priorities for online learners should be that their school won’t forget them once they graduate. Assistance with job searching and placement after completing your degree are a crucial distance program feature

  • Library offerings and technical support: As an online student, you need to ensure you have everything you need to get your coursework completed.

  • Disability services: Students with disabilities may struggle with attending brick and mortar universities, which makes online learning a prime option in many of their cases. Disabled online-degree-hopefuls should ensure their school-of-choice avails everything necessary for them to enjoy a fulfilling scholastic experience.

  • Veteran’s assistance: If you are a veteran planning to attend school online, make sure your distance program offers veteran’s assistance.

Major selection diversity

MSU Geosciences Associate Professor Dr. Kathy Sherman-Morris also communicates the importance of a distance learning program’s degree offerings.

In addition to standard online degree offerings like liberal arts and business management, look for unique coursework options such as meteorological studies and aeronautical certificates.

Take your time in choosing your online degree program. This decision will affect not only the next four years, but the rest of your life. Make sure your selection will make you happy while providing you with the education you need to succeed.