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What to know about an online BS degree

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree has many benefits: You can broaden your mind by participating in online discussions while developing the skills you need to enter a new field. These skills could help you propel your career forward into a leadership role. Yet, it’s challenging to carve out time to attend classes in person while abiding by a rigorous academic calendar. Instead of attending class in person, you can still receive a quality education by earning a Bachelor of Science degree online.

Not all online programs are of the same caliber. If you’re deciding to enroll in an online bachelor’s degree program, there are several things you need to know to make the most of your experience. Check out the list below to learn more about the benefits of an online BS:

A young woman works in a coffee shop on her laptop

You may be able to increase your earning potential

Research has shown that earning a BS degree can boost your salary potential. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compared weekly salaries between bachelor’s degree graduates and those with an associate’s degree. Students with a Bachelor of Science degree can earn $300 more per week than students with associate’s degrees. This difference, compounded over a career can stretch into significant financial differences. In addition, you may be able to negotiate a higher salary with a BS based on your education and knowledge of the industry. Graduates of bachelor degree programs also suffer from lower unemployment at 2.8 percent compared to students with only an associate’s. This may be due to businesses needing more employees who can combine technical training with critical thinking skills.

You can work while you earn your degree

Enrolling in online classes gives students more freedom when it comes to studying and completing assignments around their work schedule. While this scheduling provides more leeway, it also requires students to be more proactive with keeping track of deadlines, completing assigned readings and participating in online class discussions. When you’re earning an online degree, there are certain tips you can utilize that can help you stay on top of your work. Sit down at the beginning of the semester and note important deadlines for papers and readings. This will help you catch any conflicts so you can address them with your professor. Avoid any last-minute panicking by checking into class daily to make sure that you keep up with changes in the syllabus. Since online classes may have more reading than in-person classes, it’s important to set aside time to digest all of the material, instead of skimming the reading the night before an assignment is due.

When it comes time to study for a mid-semester exam, you can utilize technology to help you succeed. McGraw-Hill Education discovered in 2015 that more than 80 percent of students use mobile technology to help them study. Just make sure to stay off social media! While these apps can help you decompress, they can also provide a distraction that makes it hard to stay focused. You can set up apps that prevent you from accessing social media for blocks of time while you’re studying. In addition, download apps that can assist you with staying on task: Laptop magazine recommended free apps like My Study Life or Evernote to assist students in creating to-do lists to meet deadlines. By incorporating technology into your study routine, you may find that you are able to study more efficiently. McGraw-Hill found that 77 percent of students improved their study habits – and saved up to five hours per week – by adding technology as a study tool.

It can help you obtain an online internship in your field

Just as education has increasingly moved online, so too have internships. Students interested in gaining industry experience in a new career may want to consider a remote internship. With this type of internship, you may continue to have a lot of freedom. As a result, you can continue to strengthen your time management and project management skills while also building your industry knowledge.

A virtual internship may be able to assist you if you are transitioning into a new career. Even though you are remote, you can make an extra effort to wow your boss. You can request feedback from your supervisor about your work. You can also make the most of your digital literacy by asking for a recommendation via LinkedIn. Your boss can be a great resource, so be sure to ask for a phone call to learn more about their career path and their recommendations. These tips also apply to your co-workers. Just because you don’t work in the same space doesn’t mean you can’t get to know them. Follow them on social media sites and feel free to reach out!

There are also things to consider when you’ve decided you’re ready to start learning more about specific online bachelor’s programs. Once you are looking to take the next step, you may want to learn more about each program’s specific offerings. Check out these tips to find the right school for you:

Review the application requirements

The application requirements can give you some insight into the program’s academic rigor. Look at its acceptance rate on college sites like College Board or The Princeton Review. These sites will typically also have insights from students that can give you a better idea of what to expect from the program. Do you have a specific area of interest within one subject? Many online programs provide their curriculum online. Read through the class offerings to see if you will have a chance to learn more about your passion. You may even be able to email a professor to learn more about a class!

Earning an online bachelor’s degree can be feasible, whether you are first time college student or a transfer. UAB strives to make it easier for students to transfer credits, so they can finish their degree and pursue a career they love.

Understand the tech

More students see their higher education involving distance learning. According to a report issued by Internships.com, 40 percent of students see their education going virtual. As more students enroll in online programs, universities will continue to offer engaging content, incorporating video and mobile-compatible technology. U.S. News & World Report noted that online instructors can make the coursework more interactive, by adding quizzes and images, to keep students engaged.

Ask an enrollment advisor about the technology requirements for enrolling in online courses. Do you simply need a high-speed internet connection? Will you be able to access essential readings from your phone or tablet?

As students become more adept at communicating online – through texting, tweeting and Facebook-posting – that digital literacy can extend to the online classroom. Students can also hone their “netiquette,” otherwise known as their internet etiquette. Building that skill can also serve them well in the workplace, where employees are using tools like Slack to communicate daily.

Learn more about the accreditation

In a competitive educational environment, finding a university that offers a rigorous curriculum can help prepare you for your future career. What should you look for? When applying to online Bachelor of Science degree programs, it’s important to seek out schools that are accredited by educational or government institutions that can provide oversight without bias. In addition, consider if a university has institutional accreditation – while this positively reflects on the rigor of the university’s curricula, it may not provide insight into specific programs. Universities can also have specialized accreditation, given to them by industry professionals. This can signal to future employers that you graduated from a program that offers classes with up-to-date topics within your industry. UAB offers specialized accreditation from AACSB International for its business school, as well as being regionally accredited by SACS – so you can feel confident in your education.

In addition, you can look to leading publications like U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review for insight into a university’s academic rigor. U.S. News identified UAB as having one of the “best online bachelor’s programs” for 2017. The agency considers student engagement, peer reputation and faculty credentials when developing these rankings.

Move your career forward with an online bachelor’s degree

According to a report from the Babson Survey Research Group, there were over 5 million students enrolled in online education programs in 2014. This figure continues to increase year over year, rising from just 3 million students in 2010. Distance learning was on the fringes of higher education just a couple of decades ago. Now, it has become a focus for top universities. Enrolling in an online Bachelor of Science degree with the University of Alabama at Birmingham can help you move forward in a career you are passionate about. Want to learn more? Reach out to an enrollment advisor today.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryancraig/2015/06/23/a-brief-history-and-future-of-online-degrees/2/#61f36fa27e27

https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2016-02-09/study-enrollment-in-online-learning-up-except-at-for-profits

http://www.internships.com/about/news/millennial-branding-and-internships-com-release-study-on-the-future-of-education

https://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm

http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/best-student-apps

http://www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/overview https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/read/online-report-card-tracking-online-education-united-states-2015/

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