How to Apply to an Online Degree Program
More people than ever are enjoying the convenience of an online education. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, students can pursue a fully accredited degree from almost anywhere. And the lack of on-campus expenses can make online classes affordable for most any budget. But you may be wondering, how do I apply to an online degree program? The How to Apply to an Online Degree Program Infographic explains the process in 5 easy steps that will have you enrolled and pursuing your educational dreams in no time!
Applying to an Online Degree Program in 5 Easy Steps
1. Do Your Research
Almost every school offers some kind of online program; from major universities to small-town colleges – there are even institutions that are entirely virtual. Come up with a short list of what matters to you most in an online degree program: What career or field are you interested in? Do you want to eventually pursue a graduate degree? Is it important that the online program be local or in-state?
Decide on a major: There are more majors available through online degree programs than ever before. An online education gives you the opportunity to pursue your educational and career goals in almost any field.
Are you qualified? Just like an on-campus program, online programs have strict application standards for new students. Carefully review the requirements before applying to your ideal school.
Contact the school or program you’re interested in: Most colleges or universities will have counselors available to answer questions from prospective students and help them begin the application process. Don‘t be shy!
2. Complete the Online Application
Once you’ve selected a school and talked with a counselor, you can begin the application process. Filling out a long and detailed online application may seem daunting, but you can gain an edge by following a few simple tips.
Have basic information on hand: Be sure to have your Social Security number and personal information ready before starting the application.
Don’t rush it: Give yourself plenty of time to complete all the steps required to apply, or to gather any additional items you may need.
Read the fine print: It may seem obvious, but be sure to read the entire application. Be aware of any additional requirements or documents that you’re asked to provide, as each online degree application is different.
3. Don't Procrastinate! Submit Important Documents on Time
Application directors say the most common mistake made by prospective students is being late with transcripts, financial aid forms, and other important documents. So once you apply, don’t delay!
Send your transcripts: As soon as your application is complete, request that your official transcripts from other colleges or universities be sent to the registrar of the school you’ve applied to.
Complete all financial aid forms: Within a week or two of your application, complete the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Wait for a student aid report: When you submit your FAFSA application, a Student Aid Report will be generated. This report is what schools will use to process financial aid requests, so check it carefully for errors.
Confirm that documents have been sent: Your application can’t be reviewed and accepted until all necessary documents are submitted. Make sure you send in everything that is required. An online degree takes just as much preparation as an on-campus program.
4. Stay in Touch
Staying in touch with the admissions office once your application has been submitted can help ease anxiety. If you haven’t heard anything and want to demonstrate sincere interest, consider following up with an email or phone call. Just don’t pester.
Get to know your admissions counselor: He or she will be your main point of contact during the application process and getting enrolled, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and make sure your application is on track.
Confirm the admissions office received your forms: Contact your admissions counselor to make sure all application and financial aid forms were received on time.
Patience is a virtue: The online admissions office will 2 carefully review your application and transcripts once they arrive just like they do with on-campus degree applicants. When you know that your documents have been received, be patient!
5. Get Accepted and Confirm Final Details
Congratulations! You’ve been accepted! Once your application has been accepted, you’re ready for the next step in pursuing your educational goals. But there is still some work left to do.
Select a term to start: Pay attention to dates so you don’t miss the beginning of your preferred semester!
Guarantee a spot: Submit a tuition deposit to guarantee your spot in class.
Work out aid and tuition details: If you completed financial aid forms as soon as you applied, you can work with the school to confirm grant, payment or student aid options. This will let you order textbooks and take care of other necessary expenses for online classes.
Before attending class: Be aware that student aid or tuition payment details must be confirmed before you can log in and attend classes.
Now you’re ready!: Attend a comprehensive online orientation for new students, then you’re ready for class!