• What is college accreditation?


    What is college accreditation?

    If you’ve been doing any research into college, you may have heard how important it is to get a degree from an accredited academic institution. And, if you haven’t heard it, you need to hear it! Going to an accredited college is super important!

    Why? Accreditation is a mark that your degree is legitimate and has been awarded by a quality academic institution and not some fly-by-night diploma mill. So, if you want to be taken seriously by employers (and by your extended family), you should plan to get a degree from an accredited source.

    So, now that we’ve established it’s important. What is accreditation?

    In short, accreditation is a “seal of approval” from a third party, assuring a school offers an academically sound program. 

    While each school can be unique in requirements and teaching methods, accreditation strives to maintain a level of consistency in educational quality from school to school. In order to attain accreditation, schools must undergo a review process and meet a set of academic standards. 

    This is where I point out that Pearson Accelerated Pathways partners with more than 2,000 regionally accredited colleges and universities, so whatever path you choose, when you get a degree through Pearson Accelerated Pathways and our partner institutions, it'll be accredited.

    Why is Accreditation Important?

    We spoke with our Director, Central Registrar’s Office, Jared Brandau, to get the full story on why accreditation matters when you’re thinking about college. 

    “Every online student needs to know about accreditation. It can be a factor used to gauge the quality of the education you’ll receive from an institution. It’s also an important indicator of that institution’s overall health and longevity,” says Brandau.   There are three levels of accreditation: national, regional, and specialized and the most rigorous of the three is regional accreditation. 

    “Regional accreditation is the gold standard in that it takes the longest and involves the largest financial stake for a school to gain that accreditation,” says Brandau. “It doesn’t mean that nationally-accredited schools or programs aren’t academically rigorous necessarily. It just means they haven’t invested the time or resources into getting that regional accreditation.”

    Take time to Check Accreditation Standing Too

    Before making a college decision, don’t forget to investigate a school or program’s accreditation standing too. “Each school is required to publish their standing within their accrediting body and if they have been found noncompliant in any area,” explains Brandau. “Just because they are accredited doesn’t mean they are doing well or are in good standing.”

    The accreditation published reports delve into topics around an institution’s financial standing and their ability to keep accurate records. This can be important for smaller schools to remain financially solvent by proving they are able to balance their books. “By investigating before you commit to a school, you’ll be able to make sure your dream school isn’t in financial trouble,” adds Brandau.  All this might sound a little overdramatic, but it has real-world implications. In the early 2000s, ITT Tech was famous for their slick commercials and aggressive sales tactics. It was nationally accredited but it’s accreditation was revoked, and the for-profit school ultimately shut down. Some former ITT Tech employees have since spoken out about ITT Tech’s emphasis on profits over quality education. Checking a school’s standing with the accrediting body is a good way to make sure they aren’t on the verge of closing their doors or they aren’t engaged in any nefarious recruiting or other practices. In the end, it’s better to waste a little time doing your research than investing your time and money into a school on the brink of closure.

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways works mostly with regionally accredited schools because those are the most reliable, however, we can map to programs that are nationally accredited or even those that hold specialized accreditations, if that is a student’s wish. We’re all about tailoring an educational path that is going to be the best aligned to each students' goals.  Want to learn more about accreditation? Try these resources:

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  • Trends in Education: Fast Forward with Dual Enrollment


    Trends in Education: Fast Forward with Dual Enrollment

    It is no secret that Louisiana has long lagged in rankings of public education. Louisiana schools ranked 48 out of all 50 states by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. Still, the state has made strides in recent years to improve standings in some academic areas. According to Will Sentell in The Advocate, in 2018, the state reported an all-time peak in high school graduation rates (81%) and students pursuing dual enrollment (i.e., working towards college credit while in high school) more than doubled during the same period.

    Recent school performance gains have come from focused efforts to improve the basics, but now it seems the state is willing to add more innovative approaches to achieve success in education.

    Overcoming the Senior Slump

    Louisiana recently announced a new program aimed to help students take full advantage of their high school years, specifically that oft-ignored senior year.

    Many students - and I count myself in that number - spend their senior year doing the absolute bare minimum. Louisiana has a plan to reenergize seniors out of their "senior slump" by offering them the chance to earn their associate degree while still in high school.

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways allows high school students to get a head start on college courses at any time during high school. For students that are thinking about earning high school and college credit simultaneously, we could be a good fit.

    According to Louisiana Superintendent Cade Brumley, "We know that the entry point of work now is seldom the high school degree. The entry point of work also requires a credential, an apprenticeship, an associate degree or a professional degree."

    A Smart Solution

    According to The Advocate, "Louisiana has long had small numbers of students who take classes for both high school and college credit - dual enrollment."

    Louisiana school systems are smartly taking high school students that may be about to zone out on their educational journey and refocusing their attention on attainable dual enrollment. This gives students options to spend their final year of high school pursuing a simultaneous technical associate degree, an associate degree (which would allow them to start a 4-year college as a junior), or an apprenticeship to train directly for a career after school. With these types of programs, Louisiana has the potential to create a more able and trained workforce right out of high school.

    It's a bold plan, and one that could revolutionize education in Louisiana. But, this concept is not entirely new.

    Accelerated Pathways to Education

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways has been providing high schoolers with options to get a head start on higher education for more than 15 years. Accelerated Pathways student Alyssa wrote this post about what it's like pursuing a degree while in high school. Our program is backed by the most trusted name in education - Pearson - and we aim to accelerate education by giving students countless options to earn their degree. Find out more about how our program works and see if you might be a good fit.

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  • The Most Versatile Degrees for Students Who Want Freedom


    The Most Versatile Degrees for Students Who Want Freedom

    High school students often experience an array of conflicting emotions during their senior year. They're excited to graduate but nervous about writing college essays, taking standardized tests, and choosing the right college. Another factor that can be a source of both excitement and stress for prospective college students is choosing a major.

    If you're beginning to think about attending college but aren't sure what to major in, don't worry. You're not alone when it comes to being undecided about a major. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, one-third of college students change majors at least once, and one in 10 college students change their majors more than once.

    Students may think that the purpose of choosing a college major is to establish a strong foundation for a future career. While this is true, a variety of multi-faceted degrees can prepare college students for many types of careers. Students who pursue an online college education through a program such as Pearson Accelerated Pathways have the opportunity to choose from some of the most versatile degrees.

    Versatile Degree Options

    Committing to a major can be a stressful experience for many students. If you aren't entirely sure what you want to study in college because you aren't sure what career you'd like to eventually pursue, learning more about some of the most versatile degrees can offer some clarity. Earning a degree in one of the following fields gives students a solid academic foundation as well as the freedom to explore a variety of careers.


    Even if you don't necessarily want to start your own company or work in a business setting, earning a business degree can still be a wise decision. Business majors develop many skills that can be applied to a wide range of careers. Through courses and projects, students enhance their leadership competencies and learn the importance of collaboration. They discover how to apply critical thinking and analytical decision-making to everyday assignments. Strategically planning for the short term as well as the long term helps students gain a broader perspective of the world while also paying attention to small details.

    With a degree in business, students can pursue more traditional business roles, and with additional training, become accountants, management consultants, financial analysts, business teachers, healthcare administrators, and more. Other potential career paths for business majors include social media manager, business reporter, and corporate attorney.

    Criminal Justice

    You may have an idea in your head, based on your favorite TV crime dramas, of what a criminal justice career would be like. However, the criminal justice system is large and includes detecting crimes as well as prosecuting and sentencing criminals. Individuals who study criminal justice and criminology learn about the environments in which crimes occur. They study criminal psychology and seek to understand the benefits and drawbacks of broad issues, such as how the criminal justice system enforces laws and addresses inequities.

    If working in the criminal justice system interests you, consider becoming a police officer, loss prevention specialist, private investigator, forensic science technician, insurance fraud investigator, corrections officer, forensic psychologist, or jury consultant, among the many available options.

    Health and Life Sciences

    Health and life science programs offer some of the most versatile degrees for college students who are interested in the study of behavioral science as well as natural science.

    In a health science program, students take courses and complete laboratories to help them understand how health, nutrition, and exercise impact population health and public health. Potential careers include working as a community health worker, health educator, physical therapist, behavior analyst, diagnostic medical sonographer, mental health counselor, occupational therapist, or registered dietician.

    Examples of life science includes the study of biology, medicine, chemistry, agriculture, ecology, and microbiology. Like a health science degree, life science degree programs include both traditional courses and laboratories. With a degree in life science, students can pursue careers as biologists, chemists, biochemists, clinical research associates, biomedical scientists, biotechnologists, industrial pharmacists, or computational biologists.

    Social Sciences

    If you're less interested in studying the natural world and prefer learning about societies and the social interactions of human beings, you may want to consider a degree in a social science.

    Pursuing an education in this field allows students to gain a broader understanding of the world, history, economics, and politics. They also gain hands-on experience researching the cultures, languages, and behaviors of different peoples. Graduates with an online degree in social sciences may go on to become archaeologists, librarians, bank officers, urban planners, psychologists, lobbyists, and case workers.

    Information Technology and Information Systems

    As technology continues to rapidly advance and evolve, information technology and information systems degrees are clearly some of the most versatile degrees for professionals want to work in the field. The degrees themselves can even contain a variety of specialties.

    Information technology revolves around developing applications and databases, studying data security, designing video games and websites, and planning for data networking. Graduates often work as database analysts, application designers, software programmers, database administrators, video game designers, web developers, and database architects.

    Working in information systems can be similar to working in information technology. Information systems experts focus more on bridging the gap between people and technology, while information technology professionals design, create, navigate, and protect those systems. Many information systems graduates work in careers that help manage an organization's information, system, database, and network.

    Earning a Versatile Degree Might Be the Right Choice for You

    Whether you know exactly what you want to do professionally or are still undecided, enrolling in an online program might be the right choice for you. In a fully online program, students can choose from a wide variety of majors. They may develop a foundation in business practices or learn about cutting-edge scientific discoveries. Whether you choose to major in criminal justice, information technology, or any other area of study, an online degree can help you develop the foundational skills needed to succeed in your future career.

    Learn more about the most versatile degrees offered by Pearson Accelerated Pathways and how they can prepare for a rewarding career, whatever it may be.

    Like this post? Learn more with these additional topics:

    1. How to Find Online Classes While Social Distancing

    2. Is College The Best Way to Get an Education?

    3. What Every College Dropout Should Know

    Additional Source Material:

    Balance Careers, "Best Jobs for Graduates with a Business Degree" Balance Careers, "Social Science Careers" Balance Careers, "What Can You Do with a Criminology Degree?" Barron's, "The 10 Most Versatile College Majors in America for People Who Haven't Picked a Career" Biospace, "Why a Life Sciences Career Can Be Life-Changing" Consumer Reports, "A Surprising Way to Limit Your Student Debt"

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  • Online Degree vs. Traditional Degree: Which is Right For You?


    Online Degree vs. Traditional Degree: Which is Right For You?

    Attending college can be difficult when you’re juggling multiple commitments. Maybe you’re trying to earn your degree while supporting yourself financially. Perhaps you are homeschooling your children and only have time to take classes at night. Let’s be honest—submitting quizzes, exams, and essays on a tight deadline, while working full-time or even part-time, can be stress-inducing and aggravating. If you want to commit to earning your degree despite the uncertainties of this difficult time, here are some reasons why earning an online degree may be the right choice for you.

    Online Degree vs. Traditional Degree: What are the Differences?

    Maybe you are looking into an online degree program, or maybe you are weighing the long-term options of earning an online degree vs. traditional degree. While a traditional, on-campus degree can have its perks, an online degree can offer unique benefits for your short-term and long-term academic journey.

    Working at Your Own Pace

    When you attend a traditional college, you will either be on a quarter system or semester system. You have to take a certain number of courses within a specific time frame to graduate on time. However, when you decide to earn your degree fully online, you don’t have to be confined to the typical on-campus timelines.

    Pursuing an online degree through Pearson Accelerated Pathways allows you to set your own pace and work as quickly or as slowly as you want. If you have a slow week at work and want to focus entirely on studying, you can learn the content, take your quizzes, and complete your assignments. Earning an online degree in less time that it would take to earn a degree at a conventional four-year college can be appealing for many reasons. For instance, you may enjoy college, but want to start gaining professional experience in your career field of choice sooner than later. On the other hand, individuals who are already working full-time can take as long as they need to finish their online courses. They can enjoy the process of learning at their own pace, rather than rushing through courses while they are busy.

    Saving Money on Tuition

    Everyone knows that one of the biggest challenges of earning a college degree is the debt that comes with paying for tuition. Student loan debt in the U.S. has skyrocketed to $1.6 trillion in 2020, according to Forbes. Forty-five million college students have borrowed money and have to carry the burden of debt with them throughout their post-graduation adult lives. But there are options for students who want to earn a degree and avoid going into debt. You can save up to 36% of the cost of college by enrolling in an online degree program. Rather than paying tuition each semester and spending significant money on incidental university costs, you can just pay for each online course you take—whether you take one class or five. While the cost of one credit at a private university can be about $1,194, and a credit at an out-of-state university can cost about $796, one online credit can cost as little as $225. According to U.S. News and World Report, the average cost of yearly tuition at a typical private university is $35,087, while the average at a public out-of-state state college is about $21,184. Students can save even more money on tuition by earning a degree online. For full-time students pursuing a degree online through Accelerated Pathways, the yearly tuition is $6,750. Students can also choose the unlimited option, which allows them to take as many courses as they can in a year for $7,500.

    Online Learning Trends

    Some may think the benefits of an online degree compared to a traditional degree may be almost too good to be true. Let’s take a look at some trends and statistics about online learning. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals “In fall 2018, there were 6,932,074 students enrolled in any distance education courses at degree-granting postsecondary institutions.” As of 2018, 35.3% of all college students were participating in some form of distance learning, whether taking one online class or a few hybrid classes (classes that combine virtual and in-person teaching). In fact, 16% of all college students were taking classes fully online, with the amount of college students projected to increase by 2% between 2019 and 2029, according to the NCES. Seventy-eight percent of students believe their online education was worth the overall cost. This is according to a 2020 report by Aslanian Market Research and Wiley Education Services. The same study found “Thirty-eight percent of current students plan to take future online classes at their schools.” Trends and research data in both academia and society at large have shown online learning is not only growing, but thriving.

    Are you looking for an online degree program tailored to your unique needs? Pearson Accelerated Pathways might be the right choice for you. With degree programs and tailored coaching to get you the degree of your choice from the school of your dreams, Accelerated Pathways is an online program with benefits not found anywhere else.

    Dispelling Common Myths about Online Degrees

    Even though you may be considering making the choice between an online degree vs traditional degree, you may have a few concerns. Let’s take a look at some common myths about online degrees.

    Interacting with Professors and Peers

    Often, people may think there will be little social interaction with professors and peers when pursuing an online degree. However, higher education experts in an online degree program will be actively involved in your courses. While online learning can be a somewhat hands-off process, and you don’t need to adhere to the same schedule or attend lectures at a set time, facilitated courses help cultivate effective relationships between students and professors. Course facilitators are available for feedback through email, video calls, and other mediums. Their role is to offer any help you may need while undergoing your self-paced courses. If you prefer more structure and interaction with peers and instructors, you always have the option to enroll in term-based courses that begin on a monthly or quarterly basis. In these courses, you can study with a cohort of peers and have more personalized support from your professor. These types of courses may work best for you, or you may decide to have a balance of some self-paced courses and some more interactive term-based courses. The takeaway is this: When you are working toward earning your degree online, you can choose the level of interaction you have with your professors and peers.

    Preparing for a Career

    One of the main reasons you may be pursuing a college degree in the first place is to prepare for your future career. You may be concerned that a future employer won’t value an online degree as much as a “traditional” degree. However, most of the time, employers are more concerned with whether you have a degree at all, and not where you earned it. In many cases, unless you offer information about where you earned your degree, an employer won’t even ask. Employers are more interested in whether you have taken courses, earned an education, gained experience, and have prepared to do an effective job in the workplace. Even if your future employer wants to know if you earned an online degree vs. traditional degree, studies have shown that employers do, in fact, value online degrees. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “More than one-third of organizations (34%) reported that job candidates who have obtained their degrees online were viewed as favorably as job applicants with traditional degrees.” SHRM also found “79% of organizations indicated that they had hired a job applicant with an online degree in the last 12 months.” As long as you are enrolled in an accredited online program, your online degree is just as valuable as a traditional degree would be.

    Making the Right Choice for Your Education

    If you’ve already had to deal with the challenges of traditional classes—such as juggling your academics with busy work and life schedules—why not move fully online? Online degree programs are structured to accommodate a flexible schedule in which you can learn and study from anywhere, while working. You don’t have to compromise your work schedule, attend in-person classes, or stress about the due dates of quizzes and essays. If you’re interested in finding a flexible, practical option for your real-life degree needs, Accelerated Pathways offers a less expensive alternative to traditional college. Our advisors can help you create an academic plan that works best for you, your work schedule, and your career goals. Learn more here about how Accelerated Pathways can help you.

    Want more posts like this? How to Find Online Classes While Social Distancing How to Make Friends as an Online College Student 14 Reasons to Avoid Student Loans for College

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  • How to Afford College


    How to Afford College

    How to Afford College: Tips for Getting a Degree on a Budget

    Getting a college degree is expensive. How expensive, you ask? Well, Discover estimates that as of late 2018, the average cost for full-time tuition increased by approximately 143 percent since 1963.

    Also notable is the fact that student loan debt is on the rise. U.S. News and World Report notes that a survey of the class of 2019 found that graduates borrowed, on average, more than $30,000 to cover four years worth of tuition and fees. In contrast, the average student loan debt for graduates of the class of 1989 was less than $2,000.

    Let that sit for a minute - because, no, it's not a typo.

    If you're among the many who aspire to go to college but are worried about how you'll pay for it, the good news is that earning a degree on a budget is possible. Below are just a few of the ways you can study (and save) at the same time.

    Set a Budget

    Learning how to set (and stick to) a budget is a skill that can help you throughout your life, and it's a lot simpler than you think.

    To start, you'll want to calculate your net income (i.e., your monthly income after taxes) and determine your expenses. In addition to understanding what your fixed expenses are, such as your rent, cell, phone, and car insurance payment, you'll want to understand your variable expenses. Variable expenses include things like utility bills, clothing and entertainment expenses, and groceries. This is important, because when you set your budget, you'll want to account for monthly variations.

    Pro tip: If you're concerned about wide swings in your gas and electric bill, ask your utility provider if they offer a fixed-rate program. With a fixed-rate program, the utility company takes the average billing from your address for the last 12 months and divides it into 12 equal monthly payments. Although you might owe slightly more at the end of the billing quarter, if you reduce your energy use, you may wind up with a credit.

    Setting a budget can also help you keep track of (and be mindful of) your spending. For example, if you budget $40 each week for incidentals (such as eating out), you'll quickly learn whether you're spending that money on meals, or overspending on frozen mocha lattes. Understanding where your money is going can help you figure out which expenses are necessary, such as gas, groceries, and haircuts, and which expenses can be trimmed...like the $100 a month you realized you've spent on avocado toast.

    Setting a budget will also help you understand how much money you can afford to allocate to college costs. Circling back to our original point, the more you can contribute out of pocket for college, the less you'll need to borrow.

    Set Money Aside

    If you're pondering how to afford college, you'll want to start setting money aside. Think of your savings account like a snowball that's sitting at the top of a very large snow-covered hill. It may be small now, but once it starts rolling and gains momentum, that snowball will start to grow.

    Saving money for college doesn't mean finding hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars to sock into your savings account today. Savings can be as simple as emptying the spare change out of your wallet (or purse) at the end of each day and stashing it in a coin jar. In addition, some banks offer "round up" programs on debit card purchases, where your purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the amount rounded up is deposited into your savings account.

    Whether you have $5, $50, or $200 a week to save for college, every bit counts.

    Other Tips for How to Afford College on a Budget

    Savings and spending wisely aren't the only ways to afford college on a budget. Other tuition hacks include researching employers that offer tuition reimbursement programs, and filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn if you're eligible for a Federal Pell Grant.

    If you're working and concerned about losing income if you need to take time off to attend in-person classes, you'll want to research online college options.

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways is one of those online options, learn more about getting your degree online and find out how you can get started today.

    Not only will online college save you an enormous pile of money on room and board fees, distance learning can save you time (driving to and from campus), save you gas money (see previous point), and allow you to learn on your own schedule. Regardless of whether you want to study during your lunch break, read textbooks after dinner, or listen to lectures during your commute, online learning offers students lots of flexibility.

    Are you interested in learning more about how Pearson Accelerated Pathways can help you develop strategies for affording college - including how to graduate debt free? Learn more.

    Like this post? Try these other resources: Student Loan Debt: The Realities, the Consequences, and How It Will Affect You 14 Reasons Not to Take Out Student Loans for College How Does Financial Aid Work?

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  • Start, or Restart Your Education in 2021


    Start, or Restart Your Education in 2021

    With a new year comes new opportunity for reinvention.  

    Last year was hard. In 2020 we saw students all over the country struggle to balance life, work, money and academics. According to National Student Clearing House, higher education enrollment rates are down across the board. However, with a new year, comes new opportunity for change. 

    We believe college shouldn’t cost a fortune or strap you with lifelong debt. We provide access to dozens of online courses without the burden of extra costs.

    How it works

    1. Talk to an advisor - When you are ready, you'll talk to an advisor about your college options. Unsure about what degree or school you want? No problem. Your advisor will be able to recommend college and major choices tailored to your specific needs.

    2. Choose your courses - Your advisor will also help you build a degree plan designed to save you time and money while reaching your goals. This plan will show you which courses to complete, when to complete them and allow you to register and start studying all from one place.

    3. Study on your schedule - All the courses you will take through our program are highly flexible. Take as many or as few courses as you want. There is no need to wait for a new semester to enroll and you can study at your own pace.

    4. Transfer into your college - Once you've completed all your online coursework through our program we will help you transfer your hard-earned credit into your chosen college. There you will finish the remainder of your classes and graduate. No hassle or wasted time.

    Student Debt is a Serious Problem

    We've already written about the consequences of student debt. Most students (and/or their families) fall in the awkward financial spot where they don't earn enough to pay for college out of pocket (typically more than $200,000), but conversely, earn too much to qualify for financial aid (typically those making less than $50,000). So, choices when it comes to financing college can be slim for many.

    Pearson Accelerated Pathways is the solution. We offer a way to go to college debt free. This just might be the chance you've been waiting to start your education on your own terms.

    Reach out today to see if you're a fit and to speak with our team of advisors that can help you create a plan to match your life goals and your academic needs.

    *Source: National Student Clearing House Research Center™

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  • Exploring College Options: Tips & Resources for Choosing Your College Experience


    Exploring College Options: Tips & Resources for Choosing Your College Experience

    Deciding to go to college is about more than choosing a degree program. You’ll also need to decide which type of college experience is right for you.

    For some, that means living at home, working part time, and taking general education coursework at a nearby community college. For others, it involves enrolling full time in an on-campus program, settling into dorm life, and figuring out how to make the most out of their meal plan dollars. Are you working full time and raising a family? If so, maybe neither of those options is viable, and you’ve decided that online coursework is your golden ticket toward educational advancement.

    The bottom line is this: when it comes to going to college, there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” learning experience. What works for you might not work for your sibling, your best friend, or the co-worker who sits at the desk behind you.

    But how do you choose the best college experience for you?

    Choosing Your Degree Program

    If you’re exploring college options and you already know your career goals (e.g., you want to become a teacher, biologist, or engineer), then you’ll want to research which colleges have the best degree program for that particular study track. This isn’t about finding the “best school”; it’s about finding the school that’s best for you.

    Creating a college plan requires matching your interests and career goals with an educational program. But again, choosing your degree is just part of the equation. You also need to decide how (and where) you want to complete your courses.

    What to Know about Starting Your Degree at a Community College

    If you want to save money on your degree, you may be able to complete your general education coursework at a community college. But if you go that route, make sure those credit hours will transfer.

    One of the main reasons people choose to start at a community college relates to cost, which makes sense at first glance. For example, in the 2018-2019 academic year, the average cost to attend a public two-year school was $3,660 per year, compared with $9,697 per year for an in-state public four-year school.

    Therefore, completing general education credits at community college might cost $7,320, compared with $19,394 at a four-year school. But if only half of your credits transfer, you’ll need to retake some courses, and that means paying for an extra year of tuition. Instead of paying an average of $26,714 for your degree, you’ll likely pay closer to $36,411. It’s all about dollars and cents—or, in this case, dollars and sense.

    The takeaway? Going to college is expensive, so if you want to start at a two-year school to save money, make sure you choose your coursework wisely.

    In-Person Learning vs. Online Degree Programs

    When it comes to deciding between on-campus learning and an online degree program, the college option you choose will likely be based on your career goals, ideal lifestyle, and personal preferences.

    For example, people who want a fully immersive college experience that has a strong social component may decide that living on campus works best for them. On the other hand, people who prefer to learn at their own pace and from the comfort of their living room, the local coffee shop, or a beach cabana in Cabo San Lucas may feel that online learning better aligns with their lifestyle.

    Both options have pros and cons.

    If you’re currently weighing the two options, take some time to list out your priorities. Do you prefer in-person lectures, or would you rather to study at your own pace? Do you have the ability to carve out time to drive to (or live on) campus and attend classes, or do you need the additional flexibility that comes with being able to stream lectures (and complete assignments) on your own schedule?

    Flexibility in Learning: Benefits of an Online Degree Program 

    Online degree programs were growing increasingly popular long before the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, a 2020 report by Aslanian Market Research and Wiley Education Services found that 78% of students who had taken in-person and online courses felt their online experience was as good as if not better than in-person learning. Seventy-nine percent of students who had earned a degree online agreed or strongly agreed that the cost was worth it. In addition to having access to multimedia content, video lectures, and/or podcasts, online students have the flexibility to learn when, where, and how they want.

    Learning While You Work

    If you’re taking courses to advance your career, an online degree program allows you to apply what you’re learning as you’re learning it. Plus, when you take online courses, you won’t need to worry about attending early-morning or midday lectures. You can study at lunch, stream lecture material during your commute, and complete your coursework on your own schedule. (Fact: studies have shown that the majority of full-time college students work between 15 and 35 hours per week.)

    Learning While You Travel

    Do you want to further your education without being confined to a classroom? If so, online college might be right for you. Why? Online degree programs allow students to study from anywhere they have access to a Wi-Fi connection. You can learn from the porch of your family’s vacation home, complete assignments in an airport lounge, or stream lectures from a rooftop café in France.

    Learning While You Launch a Business

    If you have an idea for a product or service and want to launch your enterprise now, enrolling in an online degree program has its benefits. You can apply what you’re learning to your day-to-day operations, and you’ll have the opportunity to grow your personal and professional network. There’s an old saying about success in business: “It’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know.” Completing an online degree while launching a business can help you feed both birds with one seed: it can help you expand your knowledge and your business contacts at the same time.

    Designing a College Experience That’s Right for You

    Like we said earlier, when it comes exploring college options, it’s not about picking the best college. It’s about picking the best college for you.

    Are you ready to start learning on your own terms? Learn how Pearson Accelerated Pathways gives students the flexibility to choose their college experience.

    Like this post? Try out these other recommended readings: How Does Financial Aid Work? Student Loan Debt: The Realities, The Consequences, and How It Will Affect You How to Make Friends as an Online College Student

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