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Here’s What You Need to Know About Online Grad School


    Earn your graduate degree from anywhere – that’s the dream, right? That dream can become a reality when you earn your graduate degree online. 

    But is a graduate degree earned online just as good as one earned in person? Can it really boost your career? What do you need to know to make the most of your degree? Employers really do respect online degrees. You’ll learn just as much by going to school online, as long as you choose a good program from an accredited school. In order to succeed in online grad school, you’ll need to make sure you have the right technological equipment, and you should set up a dedicated study space in your home. You will need to network more aggressively in an online program than in an in-person one where you are forced into physical proximity with your classmates, but you can still make great friends in an online program.

    Online Grad School

    Employers Respect Online Degrees

    Are you concerned that employers won’t accept your online graduate degree? There are still some old fuddy-duddies out there who might toss your resume in the trash if they see that you earned a degree online. But most employers understand that online degrees are academically rigorous and take a lot of work to earn. 

    Of course, you don’t have to tell prospective employers that you earned your degree online if you’re worried they won’t respect it. But employers may ask how you managed to juggle full-time work with a graduate school course load, and that may mean explaining that you went to school online. Choose a reputable, not-for-profit, accredited university. Employers will take your degree more seriously if it comes from a respected school that also offers in-person degree programs. 

    Online Grad School Is Just as Difficult as In-Person Grad School

    Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that going to grad school online is somehow easier than going in person. Online grad school is just as challenging as in-person grad school. You will study the same concepts and learn the same skills that people taking in-person courses in the degree field study and learn – for example, if you enroll in an online master’s degree in criminal justice, you’ll be learning the same techniques and theories that students in brick-and-mortar classes learn. You will be held to the same quality standards in terms of your work. You will have just as much reading to do and just as many papers to write. Be prepared to block out plenty of time in your schedule to complete classwork each week.

    You Will Need Appropriate Equipment

    Going to school online is only possible when you have the right equipment to get online. You’ll need a relatively new laptop with a webcam, a microphone, and a strong internet connection. You might also want to buy noise-canceling headphones, especially if you live in a loud household. You might even want an external monitor. Contact your professors before class starts to make sure you have the right technology on hand.

    You Should Create a Dedicated Study Space in Your Home

    It’s not always easy to concentrate on studying when you’re at home. It can be much easier to get distracted by the TV show your spouse is watching or by the kids making noise as they play. A dedicated study spot in your home can help you mitigate distractions and make sitting down to study a regular part of your routine. 

    If you can put your study space in a quiet, secluded part of the house, then do so. If you really can’t find any quiet at home, make a local library your study space. Keep your study space organized so that you can find your class materials when you need them. Once you’re used to using your study space, you’ll immediately start to feel ready to study when you sit down at your desk.

    You Will Need to Network More Aggressively

    You won’t be forced into a classroom with your cohort several times a week, so you’ll have to put some effort into getting to know people and making connections. Participate in class discussion boards. Organize a group chat and regular virtual meetings so students in your cohort can study together or just get to know each other. As long as you’re comfortable expressing yourself online, you can easily make lasting friendships and professional connections in online grad school. You just have to put in the effort.

    Going to grad school online can be a great way to earn an advanced degree on your own terms. Make sure you know what you’re getting into, so you can be prepared to make the most of this next step in your degree. 

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