The Key to Earning your Online Bachelor Degree

by : Susan Slobac

Getting a bachelor degree online is an excellent way to combat the skyrocketing cost of fees and other extraneous college expenses, whether you are just out of high school or an older, 'non-traditional' student returning after time away. Of course, earning an online bachelor degree poses many challenges as well. In general, however it is a convenient, economical and flexible way to get the kind of education needed in order to get ahead in the world today.

Getting started with college degrees online is probably the easiest step; there is no shortage of institutions offering a bachelor degree online. Currently, there are 162 fully accredited 'virtual' universities where one can earn a bachelor degree online. Many of these are in fact closely associated with traditional 'brick-and-mortar' universities.

One course of action that can save as much as $10,000 is to take freshman and sophomore 'general education' courses by examination. The name of this program is the College Level Examination Program, or CLEP. This program offers exams in all lower division subjects; it is possible to complete an Associate's degree by examination. The best part is the cost; fees for a typical CLEP examination run approximately $100, and successful completion of such an exam is worth an average of six credit hours.

Consider the math, here. Whether you earn your bachelor degree online or not, you can expect to pay an average of $200 per credit hour. For less than a tenth of the cost of a year's tuition, it's possible to earn a full year of credits through CLEP examinations. It is however important to understand that some colleges limit the number of CLEP credits they will accept. Others have no limit; it's worthwhile to do some homework beforehand and learn about the various policies different universities and colleges have on this issue.

Once you have completed the lower division work - either through CLEP testing or coursework - you are ready to commence your online bachelor degree program. Online course is not unlike taking a course in a traditional setting; you will have a professor who will provide a syllabus (course outline), there will usually be class discussions and required readings, and of course, examinations. The big difference is that you will do all of this without ever setting foot inside a classroom; you may never meet the professor face-to-face.

This said, it's not as lonely as it might seem; thanks to the technological marvels of broadband, webcams, instant messaging, chat rooms, online forums and even podcasting, the student becomes part of a global learning community with classmates from all over the world.

College degrees online, while still quite new, are the future of education, and an excellent opportunity for the student to earn his/her online bachelor degree in a flexible environment.