Get a Degree Online

Somewhere along the line, you may have found your scholastic enterprise interrupted by career, family, or just life in general. You may also have found that the best jobs go to people with more education, so you've decided to look into going back to school, online, on your own time and own terms, and earn that degree.

Online degrees have become plentiful, and there are schools popping everywhere. Finding a school where you can earn an AA, BA, BS, or MBA online is still a challenge for working adults. This is how to do it.


  1. Decide what type of degree that you'd like to pursue. This may seem like a simple step for some, but for advanced degrees it's very important to be specific. A school that has an excellent general Environmental Studies program might not be as highly rated as the school that offers an Environmental Water Resource Management program.
    • Think about your career goals, and how the degree you choose will help you reach those goals.
  2. Use the Internet. Use Google to search on schools that offer a degree in your field, and find out how online colleges compare to each other.
  3. Eliminate the colleges that don't fit. Some online institutions may have prohibitively steep pricing, or require a time commitment that you cannot match. If a college does not meet your criteria, scratch it off the list.
    • Learn about asynchronous versus synchronous learning. Synchronous learning allows for real-time interaction online while an asynchronous class allows for more flexibility with when you can sit down and work on class work.
  4. Focus on your top 3 choices. Take the time to research and read about the programs they offer in your field, both to ascertain if it's the right fit for you, and if it's a path you are truly excited about pursuing.
    • Find out what pre-requisites you'll need for each school. These will vary, and may have an impact on your choice.
  5. Dig deeper. Find out about the school's certification and accreditation. The Distance Education and Training Council typically handles much of online school accreditation, and is an excellent resource for your online college research.
  6. Contact your schools. After doing thorough background research, contact the schools that made your cut. Talk with somebody in the Admissions department about their requirements, their application procedures, and anything else they feel you should know that is unique to their institution.
  7. Fill out the application forms. Fill out the forms for your final candidates, pay your application fee, and await the results.
    • If your application is accepted in all your college choices, you will have to make a decision—but having gone through the process of elimination, you will have a clear idea of your first, second, or third choices.
    • A school representative will contact you and walk you through the process of enrollment.
  8. Good luck! Get started, go to class, and earn that degree!


  • Many "brick-and-mortar" colleges such as Harvard, MIT, Berklee College of Music, and more, offer online classes—both paid, for the degree-oriented, and for free, for the person who just likes to continue their education throughout life. Most traditional universities have websites: if one interests you, visit their site and see what they have to offer.
  • Keep a journal of your research, so that you can refer back to that at any time. After researching 50 or 60 colleges, you may not remember offhand which was the best party school, which had the most favorable male:female ratio, or which had the best program.
  • Always contact a school directly before you hand them any money, and do your research ahead of time so you know what to expect.


  • Be wary of places that send you a diploma for a sum of money. Ultimately, they're not worth the expense and can be a career hazard if an employer finds out that you have a bogus diploma.

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