Bachelor of Arts is dedicated to promoting the study of BA programs and degrees by providing unbiased straightforward information for students to use to begin their degree research.
How do I earn a bachelor of arts degree online?
Earning a bachelor of arts degree online is just as difficult as doing it in a traditional school setting. The amount of work, study and time devoted to obtaining a bachelor or arts degree online is the same as that devoted to the college experience in a conventional classroom. The first step to earning a bachelor of arts degree online is to find an accredited school with a program that fits your needs. There are many online schools to choose from, including many that operate from brick and mortar universities or community colleges.
Find an accredited program. This means the school’s curriculum is examined and approved every few years by a national or regional organization that accredits traditional schools. Talking with an academic advisor should tell you whom the school is accredited by. An accredited program ensures there are no questions regarding your degree once you are looking for a job. While employers are definitely warming up to degrees from distance learning programs, it’s still integral the degree be valid and from an accredited school.
3 things to consider before you earn your bachelor of arts degree online:
Remember that a distance learning bachelor of arts degree is not the easy way out. It usually requires more work since most online students are also managing full time jobs and families. You will have to use your free time wisely and utilize any resources your school offers such as messageboards for specific courses and tutoring services.
Not all online degrees are created equal. Like traditional colleges, some online degrees rank at the top of a school’s offerings. Finding the right online bachelor of arts program is just as tricky as finding the right brick and mortar college. Look for academic advisors who are willing to help you and are easy to contact via email or telephone, since you may not visit campus often after enrolling in an online bachelor of arts degree program. Ask the academic advisor what degree programs the schools is best known for and what the percentage rate is for employment of students in that program after graduation.
Ask about additional resources like career placement. Some online colleges heavily assist students with internships, interview and resume preparation, while others leave this large task to the students alone. Attending an online bachelor of arts degree program with career resources will make job hunting less strenuous and give you an edge on the competition since professors and school administrators may help with recommendation letters.
Where to find scholarships and grants to help you earn online bachelor of arts degree
Pell Grant – The Pell Grant is one of the most sought after grants for college. Eligibility is determined by finding out how a student can contribute to their education that school year, the total cost of school for that year and the student’s status (if they will be attending full or part-time). To apply for the Pell Grant, you simply fill out the FAFSA form. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant, the school in question will inform FAFSA and money will be granted accordingly. While there is a maximum to what’s awarded for a Pell Grant, it is not automatically awarded to every student. Pell Grant money never has to be repaid.
FAFSA – FAFSA is a grant from the government that is determined based on a person or family’s income. Not everyone is awarded a great sum from FAFSA, but for some, it can add up to a substantial amount. There are many steps to completing the FASA application and the website can guide you as you gather records and paperwork to submit. While you can file for FAFSA through conventional mail, filing online is easy and allows you to regularly check your status and make any corrections to your application.
Individual Schools – Check with your academic advisor about scholarships or grants awarded by your individual school. Some may have general bachelor of arts scholarships or may have scholarships aimed at an area you’re looking to specialize in such as linguistics or teaching. If you are looking at a group of schools for starting your online bachelor of arts degree, take this into consideration as one school may have more scholarship and grant opportunities you can take advantage of.
3 hidden costs of earning a bachelor of arts degree online you may have not considered:
Books – Most tuition does not include textbooks. This can cost hundreds per semester, so be prepared for that cost. You may not need every book listed, so wait until classes start to buy your books. You can get the ISBN number from the school bookstore and order books online, which is usually far cheaper than purchasing from a university source. Also be sure to sell your books at the end of each semester to give you a jumpstart on funds for the next semester’s costs.
Outside of the classroom activities – Depending on your degree’s curriculum, you may have to do additional outings to museums or cultural events. While these costs will not add up to a large amount, it is important to keep on guard about them and budget accordingly. Any activities such as these will be outlined in your course’s syllabus, giving you a heads up on costs.
Subscriptions – To get topics going in many bachelor of arts courses, professors may require subscriptions to publications like the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. To get around these costs, you can subscribe to such publications online which is substantially cheaper and still gives you access to all of the articles the traditional publication delivers each day.
What class is like when you are earning your bachelor of arts degree online?
Class for a bachelor of arts degree online is very different than a regular class, but still utilizes the same principles of a typical classroom. Upon enrolling in class, you may meet with classmates and your professor once in person or class orientation may begin online. Orientation will issue you your syllabus, answer any questions you may have over the format of the class and tell you about resources that can help you study for the course. From there, daily work will be conducted online at your own pace. Tests are sometimes designated to be taken on a certain day or a certain week. Your instructor will provide you with login information for any class messageboards and explain if there is a participation grade taken for interacting with fellow students online regarding class discussions.
In addition to course work online, your grades will also be available online. This gives you a clear look at where you stand in the class and how you need to perform on future tests to get the grade you want. Most professors are available by email and some may give you their office or cell phone number for emergencies or questions.