Home > Resources > College Prep > Choosing the Right School > Finding an Accredited Distance Learning Program

Finding an Accredited Distance Learning Program

Earning a degree is never easy but there are a wide range of course alternatives for students today that ten years ago simply would not have been an option. Advances in technology led to the creation of the virtual classroom or the online class. For students who can’t fit a traditional class into their schedule, online classes present a flexible, challenging option to earn course credit without stepping into a classroom. Distance learning is just one of several great options available for students to take advantage of if their schedule has little breathing room. If you are determined to earn a degree, but short on time or money, there are some options for you to consider.

Community College

Two-year or junior schools, are typically far more flexible in terms of scheduling, and credit alternatives than traditional four-year universities. For adults who intend to earn a degree without leaving their career and for students who are not interested in the campus activities offered at other institutions, community colleges offer a chance to earn credit for general courses at any pace and on a schedule that meets the specific needs of each student.

Classes are typically informal, but this does not mean that they are easier or that the curriculum is not as strong as what you would find in a traditional university. The purpose of the informality is to make assistance from instructors more accessible and to support students who are juggling work, class, and kids. The curriculum is challenging and the instructors are engaged; benefiting from the structure of a community college class is entirely up to the students. Most universities, though they’ll deny it, are averse to the notion of "flexible schooling options", which community colleges endorse. University classes are formal; professors are more difficult to approach and it is assumed that students are devoting all of their efforts and time to their studies within the school.

Night Classes

If you work a 9 to 5 job or are just attending school part-time, night classes are an excellent alternative that help students free up their daily schedule. In my experience, night classes were less formal, students were more eager to participate, and regular attendance was higher. Typically such classes are a little longer, but they only meet once or twice a week. If you are a part-time student it is easier to prepare for night classes because you have several hours during the day to complete any assignments that you are running behind on. If you are thinking about taking a night course, keep in mind that it can be more difficult for students to meet with the professor for assistance. Typically, instructors who teach night classes have an unconventional schedule as well, and they may only work at the school part-time; this type of class is best for independent students who are self-motivated learners.

Online Classes

Most schools have a distance learning program which consists of a body of online courses that students can earn credit in right from their home computer. If your schedule is tight but earning a degree is a high priority, an online degree program might be a good fit for you. Students can opt to combine traditional classes with distance learning classes, or take all courses online. Many community colleges and several four-year universities offer online associates, masters, and doctorates degrees for non-traditional students. Sometimes online courses meet on campus a couple times throughout the semester so that the students can touch base with the professor and meet their virtual classmates. Virtual classrooms implement a wide variety of learning techniques to engage students and bring to life the two dimensional classroom; audio, video, online chats, and discussion threads are some of the most popular methods.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Another College Cyber Attacked, Hackers Demand $2M Ransom

July 16, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

Monroe College's IT system was hacked last week, disabling many of its technology systems and platforms as hackers demanded $2 million ransom in Bitcoin to restore access. Faculty, students and staff members were locked out of the college's websites but continued to attend class and hand in homework, regardless. [...]

Proposed Pell Grant Expansion for Short-Term Training Programs

July 9, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

Lawmakers are considering extending Pell Grants to people who pursue short-term training in order to land better jobs, faster. Federal student aid in the form of Pell Grants can currently be used for college degrees and qualifying certificate programs. [...]

3 Women Charged in $1M Student Financial Aid Fraud

July 2, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

Three San Bernardino County women who have been accused of stealing $1 million in federal financial aid from Fullerton college, in California, have been arrested by the U.S. Justice Department and are charged with various counts of mail and wire fraud. The scheme involved enrolling hundreds of mainly non-existent students, successfully applying for grants and loans and pocketing the money. [...]