An Introduction to Online Learning. Is Online Learning Right for You? Learn how to be successful in an online degree program.

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1 An Introduction to Online Learning Is Online Learning Right for You? Learn how to be successful in an online degree program.

2 Table of Contents Pursue Your Passion & Advance Your Career Why Should I Earn My Degree Online? How to Choose an Online Degree Program Understanding Accreditation Getting Started in an Online Degree Program Three Essential Rules for Success as an Online Student

3 Pursue Your Passion & Advance Your Career

4 Pursue Your Passion & Advance Your Career What are you passionate about? Whatever your goals in life are, a degree can help you achieve them. Whether you are considering getting your bachelor s degree or going to graduate school, there are many benefits to continuing your education. Here are a few: Increase your earnings A degree can contribute to a significant increase in lifelong earnings, which will benefit you and your family. An individual with a bachelor s degree earns $1 million more than someone without one over the course of a lifetime.* The median earnings of those with a graduate degree will be nearly 30% higher than individuals with a bachelor s degree as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. A degree can increase your earning potential. Increase your knowledge In-depth knowledge can provide you with a significant competitive advantage. Earning your degree gives you the opportunity to keep abreast of trends, changes and policies in your field. This knowledge equips you with the skills needed to be successful, and helps you stand out as a valuable go-to person on your team-- a desirable quality when you hope to get a promotion. No matter what major you choose, education teaches you to think critically, make better decisions and act strategically. These tools are invaluable in any career. A degree can give you the necessary skills for success. Increase your confidence Many people earn their degree for personal satisfaction. The progress you make, the commitment you show and the knowledge you gain all contribute to boosting your self-confidence. That sense of accomplishment stays with you long after you graduate. A degree can help you fulfill your personal goals. i * The American Community Survey Reports Education and Synthetic Work-Life Earnings Estimates

5 Why Should I Finish My Degree Online?

6 Why Should I Finish My Degree Online? It s convenient. If you have a full-time job, a family or other responsibilities, getting a degree on campus may not be the best option. Online degree programs are designed with working adults in mind. Online classes are usually set up week by week. Each week, you are required to turn in assignments, take tests or complete other tasks. When you do the work is up to you. Maybe you have children at home and prefer to take a quiz after they are asleep. Maybe you work odd hours and can only submit your assignments early in the morning. Find the schedule that fits your needs. Study any time, from anywhere. It s not that different from learning on campus. In a classroom, the instructor communicates information to the students by lecturing. In an online course, you get the same information through a video, a podcast or other method of delivery. If you have a question as an online student, you have a variety of ways to reach out to faculty and classmates. You can post in a discussion forum, send an or even call. Many online students and faculty report that they feel more engaged in an online course than in a face-to-face setting! It s customizable. Work with your advisor to create a graduation plan that meets your needs. You can go to school full-time or part-time, and build your schedule around military deployment, your child s school calendar or other life events. You don t have to choose your family, your job or your degree.

7 Median Weekly Earnings (2013) i U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

8 How to Choose an Online Degree Program

9 How to Choose an Online Degree Program Does the degree match your career goals? Choose a degree that is as broad or as focused as your career aspirations. If you know you want to pursue a career in law enforcement, look for the best police studies degree program. If you are unsure about what you want to do, a degree with broader applications, such as psychology or general studies, may be a better fit. Is the program accredited? Be sure your school and degree program are accredited. Accreditation may affect your financial aid, your ability to transfer credits and your ability to apply for certain positions. (Read more about accreditation in the following section.) What is the reputation of the school and the program? Research your school and program separately, and do not assume all programs at one school are equal. A school that is renowned for the arts may not have the same reputation in the sciences, for example. Look at rankings. If an impartial evaluation group or one of the most respected associations in your field has given the school a good rating, chances are your future employer will, too. Consider the reputation of the program and the faculty. Are those in your field familiar with the program? Do they know about the work the faculty are doing within the profession and in the classroom? Have the faculty published materials that are respected in your area of interest? Are they quoted in industry publications? How long has the school existed? Brick-and-mortar schools that also offer online degrees have generally been educating students longer and can command more respect. Go one step farther and determine if the same standards apply to both on-campus and online degree programs.

10 Do you meet the admissions criteria? Schools set enrollment criteria for your benefit as well as theirs. If you struggle to meet the initial requirements, you will likely struggle with the coursework. That can leave you with student loan debt and without a degree. Talk honestly and openly with your admissions counselor about whether or not the program is the right fit for you. Does the program make financial sense? There are financial aid calculators and other online resources to help you determine if you can afford a program. Don t forget to look for scholarships in your field and even in your local community, too. Ask your advisor for advice on paying for college and applying for scholarships. Will you get the support you need to succeed? Online students typically need more support than on-campus students because they are far from campus and are balancing coursework with other personal and professional responsibilities. Faculty and staff will become your allies in reaching your goals. Find out how advisors and instructors communicate with students. Ask about library services and other resources that may be available to online students. If military service or other obligations might delay your graduation, ask if any special accommodations can be made. Look for schools that will be committed to your success. I have been able to apply my new knowledge right away. It has been very fulfilling to know that this information is something I will actually use. - Andrew Schaffran

11 Understanding Accreditation

12 Understanding Accreditation What is accreditation? Accreditation is a voluntary process by which colleges and universities undergo rigorous evaluations by outside parties to ensure certain standards are met. There are two main types of higher education accreditation: regional and national. Regional accreditation While the term can suggest otherwise, regional accreditation is considered to be the gold standard. A regionally accredited institution has been evaluated by one of the six regional accrediting bodies in the United States that are recognized by both the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education. The regional accrediting agencies are: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools New England Association of Schools and Colleges North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities Look for regional accreditation if you are interested in: Public perception - It is the most widely known type of accreditation. Degree and credit recognition You can be confident that credits earned at one regionally accredited school will transfer to other regionally accredited universities, which is especially important if you plan to switch schools or pursue additional degrees. Corporate tuition reimbursement plan acceptance - All regionally accredited degree programs are eligible for corporate reimbursement plans. Instructor-led courses- Regionally accredited colleges generally provide instructor-led courses, rather than self-study courses.

13 National accreditation National accreditation focuses on evaluating specific types of non-traditional colleges and schools, such as career, trade and religious institutions. These schools often operate on different instruction models and offer different course content than regionally accredited colleges. Nationally accredited schools and colleges tend to be less expensive and often employ more relaxed admission standards. For more information about accreditation, visit the U.S. Department of Education at ED.gov, or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation at chea.org. The faculty and staff in the program are both knowledgeable and supportive. - Aileen Michelle Jones

14 Getting Started in an Online Degree Program

15 Getting Started in an Online Degree Program Take inventory. Do you have a computer with high-speed Internet access? Are you comfortable using , sending attachments, navigating in a browser and performing other basic computer skills? Evaluate your ability to complete certain tasks before you apply for an online degree program. Complete your application. If your application is incomplete, the school cannot consider you for admission. Make sure you complete the necessary application forms, provide transcripts and fulfill any other requirements the school may have. Get your funding in order. It s never too early to start researching federal financial aid, grants, loans, scholarships or other sources of funding. Talk with your advisor. Your program advisor can answer any questions you may have about the application process, financial aid, your course schedule or any other concerns. Do not hesitate to reach out to them. Know your resources. Many schools offer tutoring services, online library access and other services to help you succeed.

16 When you consider the lifetime earnings gap between individuals with a college degree and individuals with only a high school degree, the true cost of a college degree is about negative $500,000. That s right: Over the long run, college is cheaper than free. Not going to college will cost you about half a million dollars. - The New York Times

17 Three Essential Rules for Success as an Online Student

18 Three Essential Rules for Success as an Online Student Rule #1 Manage your time. Your online courses may not have a set meeting time. Your assignments may be due weekly or all at once. Set aside a few minutes each day to think about what needs to be accomplished and determine how many hours per week you need to devote to meeting your goals. Rule #2 Be active and accountable. Participate in your education. Make the most of the opportunities you have to interact with professors and instructors. Ask questions. Check your regularly. Staying on top of little details can make a big difference. Rule #3 - Stay focused. Once you ve set a schedule, stick to it. Keep detailed lists of assignments to make sure you are on track for the week. Work with your advisor to make sure your graduation plan keeps you moving forward in the long term. Keep your end goal in sight.

19 I am fully confident that my educational background played a significant factor in my promotion. I can t even begin to tell you how much I have grown since the beginning of this program. - Fred Varney Pew Research Survey, 2013

20 Greetings, As the director of EKU Online at Eastern Kentucky University, I d like to take a moment to congratulate you on considering the next step in your life s journey. In 2006, EKU made a commitment to adult learners by offering its first online courses. Dr. Allen Ault, dean of the EKU College of Justice and Safety, proudly proclaimed that if students are unable to come to us, we would bring high-quality education directly to them. Today, we offer more than 25 regionally accredited undergraduate and graduate programs. Thousands of hard-working employees, devoted parents and other busy individuals just like you are proudly earning their degrees with EKU Online. On behalf of our dedicated faculty and staff, I invite you to take a closer at Eastern Kentucky University. EKU has prepared students for success for more than a century. Today, it s your turn! Best Regards, Tim Matthews Director, EKU Online Eastern Kentucky University

21 Prepared. Respected. Supported every step of the way. i

22 EKU Online Degree Programs Consistently recognized as having some of the nation s best online degree programs, Eastern Kentucky University strives to make quality education accessible to everyone. EKU is a regionally accredited, brick-and-mortar institution celebrating more than 100 years of student success. Most programs are offered 100% online. EKU Online offers more than 25 undergraduate and graduate degree options in a variety of fields: Construction Management Corrections and Juvenile Justice Education Fire, Arson & Explosion Investigation Fire Science General Studies Homeland Security Nursing Occupational Safety Occupational Therapy Paralegal Studies Police Studies Psychology Public Administration Safety Management Achieve your goals on your terms. You have our full support.

23 Learn More About EKU Online Degree Programs An Enrollment Advisor will help you create a customized plan so that you can reach your goals on your terms. Get started today. Learn More

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