Category Archives: Online Degree

The Dollars and Cents of a Four-Year Degree

When it comes down to the importance of an education there is no denying that the longer you stay in school the better off you are when it comes to earning potential over the course of your lifetime. Recent estimates have presented some rather astonishing figures to support these claims however, and I for one think they are well worth mentioning.

Let’s discuss first things first however. A high school diploma will net the average citizen $200,000 additional dollars of lifetime income on average. This is one small baby step when it comes to the educational process however. Some college, even without a degree will even increase that figure an additional $150,000 for a total of $350,000. If this isn’t enough to convince you however try the facts and figures that are associated with the additional earning potential that a four-year degree introduces: $500,000. This addition makes a total of $850,000 more over the course of a lifetime in earning potential. I don’t know about you but I find those figures to be quite a nice motivator for going back and finishing a degree.

While a person’s education may not be an accurate indicator of his or her actual ability it is often used in the business world to narrow down a growing field of applicants for a sadly stagnate number of positions across the country. There are things you just can’t see on a piece of paper and ability and capabilities are among those things. Businesses need a defining factor by which they narrow down the field of potential employees and that defining characteristic is often a college degree in the field of business or a complimentary major course of study.

While this may not seem fair to many who have the practical skills companies are seeking employees that can fill multiple roles in order to eliminate positions that have been occupied in the past. For this reason they want business people who have technical skills and a college education provides a brief introduction to many skills that are useful in these situations. Unfortunately, the only way to know whether or not you have these specific skills is if you list them on your resume while those who have a four-year degree are believed to have them by the merit of their educations.

The earning potential alone should be enough to turn your head when it comes to the importance of earning a college degree though there are many more excellent reasons to pursue the completion of your degree. If you haven’t considered some of the other wonderful reasons for returning to college and getting your degree, perhaps the reasons below will provide a little additional motivation.

1) Challenge. There is very little in life that offers the challenge of returning to college after an absence. It is a frightening prospect for many and yet can be equally as exciting. You will find that the constant exposure to academic debate is a great way to feed your mind and open your eyes to new ideas. Challenge your preconceptions and challenge the limits of your own experiences by opening up your mind to the thoughts and ideas of others.
2) Learn New Skills. There is never a bad time to begin learning new skills no matter what they say about old dogs and new tricks. The truth is that as long as you open your mind to learning you are feeding it and that is a great thing.
3) Career advancement. Whether you realize it or not, a college degree is one of the quickest paths you can take to career advancement.

If the money wasn’t enough to convince you of the impact that a four-year degree can make in your life perhaps the reasons mentioned above were enough to do the trick. Whether or not you realize how much a degree can affect your life the truth of the matter is that it can improve so many things about your life and how you view yourself and the world around you. Now is the perfect time to go back to school and earn your degree.

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The True Value of a Two-Year College

Higher education in this country is rapidly becoming a necessity in the business community rather than a luxury. There was a time when those who had a high school education still had the opportunity to build a better world for themselves and their families. Those days are rapidly becoming another dieing ember of the past. If you hope to have significant earning potential during your lifetime you are almost completely limited by your learning potential and the level of education you have received.

The good news is that you do not have to have an all or nothing approach when it comes to education. You can begin by taking baby steps when it comes to higher education. If you have a community college in your area, this is one of the greatest resources for beginning your college education at any stage in your life. Most community colleges offer classes at various times during the day and evening, even some on Saturday in order to accommodate students of different ages and backgrounds.

Community colleges also offer an excellent opportunity to begin your learning quest in a manner that is much more easily affordable to the average citizen than a full-blown university. These colleges are largely commuter colleges though there are several that allow students the experience of living on a college campus at a much lower price than most major universities charge for the same or very similar privileges.

Community colleges also allow you to explore your options if you aren’t really sure what direction you wish for your education to take without paying such a high price for the process. If you know the career path you wish to take you might find a two-year degree program that can have you out of school and in a career much sooner than a four-year program will allow. If that isn’t good enough news for you, many of the two-year programs of study that are offered at the community college level may very well transfer quite easily into bachelor degree programs at the university level.

Community colleges offer an excellent start for many people who are seeking higher education whether to further their careers or just to find fulfillment on a personal level in life. There are many wonderful programs in vocational fields as well as academic fields that can be explored and studies on the community college level.

For graduating high school students community colleges help students ease into the adjustment from high school to college without going through the culture shock that some universities can put students through. You will find that there are often many opportunities to meet educational as well as social needs on the community college level for students that are interested in pursuing a community college education.

You should also discover that community colleges are much easier to budget when it comes to setting aside funds and savings for either your personal college education or the educational expenses of your children. Having them attend a community college for two years then transferring to a University can save a great deal of money and provide you a little piece of mind that your children are still receiving an excellent level of education.

Seriously, if you are looking for an excellent value when it comes to education you would be doing yourself or your children a disservice if you do not check out the community college options in your area before taking the plunge and diving into the university lifestyle. You will find that community colleges often offer an equal level of education for the introductory classes that first and second year college students often take, they are a much better value for the money, and they are an outstanding values for those who are trying to juggle their education with family and work responsibilities.

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University Disadvantages

We have discussed some of the wonderful advantages that university life and educations present. However, we must in turn discuss some of the other disadvantages that are associated with university learning as well. While we discuss these you should keep in mind that they do not by any means indicate that you should give up on your higher education goals, only that you should view your educational process with realistic expectations.

When compared with the community college system the very first and most distinctive disadvantage that comes to mind is the high cost of upper education on the university level. Community colleges are simply more cost effective all around than universities. The costs go well beyond that money that would be spent on room and board making the tuition alone cost prohibitive in many cases. While there are many types of financial aid available to students the vast majority of college students in this country make ends meet through the use of student loans, which must be repaid at quite a hefty interest rate, in order to cover the costs associated with university educations.

Beyond the one obvious disadvantage there are a few other disadvantages that bear mentioning in this particular circumstance. First of all, universities do not have the small intimate classroom settings that literally set community colleges apart. In fact, for lower level course, most universities offer large auditorium classes that are taught by graduate students rather than professors and more often than not the students never get to know those who are charged with their education on more than a nod and smile while passing in the halls basis. This method for learning is considered by many to be exceptionally inferior and the statistics prove that students who go straight into a four-year college environment rather than going through a community college first are far less likely to complete their degrees.

If that isn’t enough of a disadvantage, many people find that the impersonal atmosphere of most universities is quite limiting when it comes to interaction with other students. The smaller classroom environments of community colleges invite interaction between the students in the class. An open line of communication within the classroom is greatly preferred to having so many students that no one gets a voice or the ability to voice their opinions or personal experiences when it comes to certain topics.

Another disadvantage to university life is the sheer size of university campuses. Community colleges tend to be much more compact. This means that students have a fairly decent chance of making it to all classes on time and without the worry of walking 2 miles in ten minutes. While this is great for physical fitness, missing the first ten minutes of class each week can limit the educational process that your university experience should be providing. It seems like such a small thing on one hand but when you are hauling around a day’s worth of textbooks and a laptop–that hike can be the thing that marines seem dubious about accomplishing.

While there are a few distinctive disadvantages to university life, the fact remains that graduation from a university is the single biggest way to increase your earning potential over the course of your lifetime. The amounts are by no means insignificant. I highly recommend whenever possibly that you attend community college for the first two years of your college education. Beyond that, I strongly urge you to consider the value that completing your education and getting a four-year degree can provide.

If you wish to build self-confidence, earning potential, and job security, there is no way of doing so that is superior to getting a four-year degree. It doesn’t matter where you are in life or your career; it is never too late to begin getting your education. There are so many things in the world that a good education will open your eyes to in addition to the doors of opportunity a four-year degree will open.

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Why a University Education?

The world in which we live is constantly evolving. We are demanding more and more from our citizens than ever before and in order to live up to the demands of the world we need a solid education upon which to base our skills and knowledge. There are many alternatives available for receiving an education these days, which is good news for those who have not yet managed to obtain a four-year college degree. Truthfully, that degree is the difference in literally hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime than not having a degree.

Four Reasons for a Four-Year Education

Money. The first reason that you should consider a university degree is the fact that it will substantially increase your earning potential. If nothing else appeals to you, this is typically the one reason that most people return to school after years in the work place. If you are in high school and haven’t really had to deal with the bills and burdens that many adults face it’s difficult to explain how important any edge when it comes to earning ability truly is. However, you should be aware that you need to choose your major wisely if money is your sole motivation. Not all careers pay equally when compare to the education required to enter them.

Insurance. This may seem like a strange term to use when discussing why you should get a university education but this is perhaps the best insurance you can find as far as employability goes. Having a university degree gives you a competitive edge over those who do not. In many cases you will find that education is beginning to trump experience as employers are seeking workers with more rounded skills rather than those with very specific skills. The modern university typically requires a brief exposure to all kinds of information and coursework that isn’t necessarily related to your major. This provides graduates with a broader understanding of the world (at least that is the assumption).

Employability. Believe it or not, those with degrees are much more employable than those that do not have them. There was a time when the trend was to employ those who had experience over those who had education. That trend is rapidly evaporating as companies want employees that can fill multiple roles more and more often. The limited exposure to certain ideas or ideals and principles that most people receive as part of their university education makes you a more employable candidate because you should be able to adapt and adjust, as this was required during your educational process.

Confidence. There is nothing quite like believing in yourself. Getting a four-year education is one way to build confidence not only on a personal level but also on a professional level. Whether or not you realize it, this is often the best reason for pursuing a university degree. This reason, as a matter of fact, will actually affect all of the other things I mentioned above. If you have more confidence in your ability you will be more willing to go out there and get the job done. As a result, you will earn more money and you will insure that you are an asset to your company by proving yourself to be just that.

Regardless of your personal reason for pursuing a university degree there are very few wrong reasons to get your degree. Good luck in your educational pursuits. I know they will serve you well.

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A College Degree is Nearly a Necessity

Your education is the single greatest gift you can give yourself. While there are educational opportunities all around us, some of them come at a greater cost than others. A college education might require a hefty investment of time and money upfront but the pay off is much better over time than if you used your life experiences in order to achieve the same level of education that you can pack into 2, 4, or 5 years of an undergraduate education on the college level.

In other words, over the course of your lifetime you are likely to pay far less for your college education than you would pay (in earning potential) for not having a college education. At the same time, each level of college education you receive increases your overall earning potential. This means that a one-year degree in a technical field will provide a modest boost from a high school diploma when it comes to earning potential but an associate’s degree will provide an even better boost. You will see an even more significant improvement in earning potential when you increase from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree. The vast majority of students enter the work force upon completion of a bachelor’s degree. Those students, however, who remain in school for graduate studies often, find that a master’s degree even further improves their lifetime earning potentials.

The problem for most when it comes to making the jump between degrees and educational levels is cost. There are times in life when we simply need to get out of school and get to work. The good news is that it is gradually becoming easier for those with careers to further their education without sacrificing either their careers or their family during the process. Of course there will be some sacrifices along the way but it isn’t an all at once or nothing endeavor. You can work towards your degree by taking online classes, night classes, and Saturday classes. The information age has made it easier than ever before to achieve the educational goals you need to meet in order to satisfy your dreams for the future.

Your level of education will get your foot in the door when it comes to certain jobs and your lack of education will limit you far more than a lack of experience will limit you in many cases. As time grows on, more and more companies are seeking employees that have degrees rather than those who have experience in the field. If you hope to remain competitive in the business world you need to arm yourself with the proper education. Check with your company to see if they offer any sort of incentives for employees continuing their education. You might be surprised to find that your company offers to match your tuition funds or even completely reimburse them if you are working towards a degree that will assist you in your job functions.

There is no wrong reason to get an education. Even if you are applying for a job that won’t use your specific degree, you might find that having a degree at all gives you a boost over other applicants for the same position. A college degree is becoming more and more necessary in today’s business climate. You need to take every opportunity that is available to you in order to get your college degree.

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A Community College Education is a Good Start

Many people search and search for the University they will attend upon graduation from high school. Eager students look forward to their time at university while parents wring their hands hoping that their children choose to attend a university that is not only close to home but also within their budget limitations. Another worry that parents have when their children decide to attend college is whether or not that university they attend will have the specialized and individualized services that their children were accustomed to receiving in high school. Face it; larger universities tend to be rather impersonal when it comes to the education of their students.

One answer to all those worries and more is to transition your students from high school to a two-year college rather than throwing them to the university wolves so to speak. Many people find that two-year colleges can in fact provide superior educations to four-year universities for those first two years or foundation college level courses. You will not get the specialized or specific instruction in a two year college that is available to upper level students on a university level but most students find the first two years of their college educations focused on getting the requirement and pre-requisite courses rather than the specialized courses in their intended field of study.

Many people also find that those first two years at a community college-transitioning from a small pond to a larger lake-are much easier to handle than going straight from high school to a university-out of the pond and into the ocean. Universities often have lower level classes as auditorium classes. These classes offer little individual instruction and are often sink or swim sorts of classes. Those students who have special learning needs are often lost in the shuffle when entering a university. Community colleges offer smaller classes and ample opportunities for tutoring as well as classes on how to learn to study.

Two-year colleges are also much easier on the budget than most universities. Most people find that community college does not place nearly the financial burdens on families that universities place. Add to that the fact that most community colleges offer very flexible class scheduling and even some courses online and you will find that there are many reasons to consider community college that go well beyond mere budgeting requirements.

Another benefit to students who wish to enter the work force sooner rather than later is that you can actually get a degree or certification in certain programs from a two-year college. This means that you can actually graduate and begin earning much sooner than if you were to attend a four-year college in search of a degree. If you aren’t sure you want to invest the next four or five years of your life in pursuit of a degree or you simply aren’t ready to commit yourself to one line of work for the rest of your life it is a good idea to spend two years in a community college rather than making the leap straight into a university setting.

If you are considering whether or not a community college or two year education is the best course of action for your specific needs, I really recommend creating a list of pros and cons of each and balancing your budget to see where your needs are most likely to be fully met. Remember you can always transfer to a university once you’ve completed your two-year college education or at any time during that education as long as you meet the universities admission requirements. Good luck and remember that your college education is one of the largest indicators of your future earning potential so take it seriously.

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Advantages of Universities

A degree from a university means many thing to many different people. Only you can define the importance of a degree such as this to you and only you can determine whether or not now is the time for you to pursue a university degree. If you are unsure about how advantageous a university degree could be to your life let’s look at some of the advantages to a university education in relationship to a community college education.

Money. The first obvious advantage of a university education would be in future earning potential. A four-year degree trumps a two-year degree almost every time. There would have to be exceptional circumstances for someone with a two-year degree to earn more over the course of a lifetime than someone with a four-year degree in the same exact field. While a degree does not guarantee employability, it does improve the odds as well as the income potential that is associated with the field you are entering into. If you have a two-year degree the decision to continue your educational pursuits can be a tough one but it is well worth the effort in the end.

Housing. This is another distinct advantage that universities offer over community colleges. In fact, many universities are now offering housing opportunities to students with families in addition to those students who have no families. Colleges and universities are offering all kinds of value when it comes to housing and meal plans. A great deal of the college experience is missed when you do not live on campus. For this particular reason students wishing to enjoy the experience that dorm life provides often consider universities over community colleges.

Diversity. This is another key component that is often missing at the community college level. International students find no real price breaks between universities and community colleges so they tend to opt for the housing and cultural atmosphere that universities present rather than going with the limiting educational, residential, and cultural experience offered by many community colleges. You will find students of different races, religions, cultures, and nations on the university level-far more than will typically be seen in a community college unless you are attending community college in a very culturally diverse city such as New York.

Culture. This is something that is often lacking on the community college level, as they are largely commuter campuses. You will not see quite the opportunity to experience art, music, the theater, and other wonderful experiences that universities pride themselves in offering to their students. There is nothing quite like the cultural offerings of most large universities and if you get the opportunity I hope you will take the time to stop and experience some of the wonderful things that being in a university community present you with an opportunity to experience.

Research opportunities. On a university level you will have the opportunity to participate in research projects with certain professors if your prove yourself worthy and express an interest. This is something that isn’t as likely on the community college level as most professors in a community college are dedicated to teaching rather than research. You will find that the experience of working on a large-scale research project is unlike anything you are likely to experience again if you ever get the chance.

Confidence. There is nothing quite like a college degree from a university to help you become a more confident person both personally and professionally. This is something that really can’t be achieved on the community college level but can only be experienced by getting a degree from a university. If you lack confidence when dealing with others or in your career, I hope that you will find that your university education is just the thing to help you feel more confidence on all levels of your life.

These are just a small sampling of the many benefits of attending a university over a community college education. I hope you will carefully consider these when making your decision about which is best for your personal education needs.

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Are Student Loans Becoming Necessary Evils?

When it comes to getting a college education most people can agree that the costs can be staggering at best. Even the least expensive colleges in the nation can add up over a four or five year period of time creating crippling debt for those who do not qualify for some of the better grant programs of substantial scholarships.

The problem lies in the fact that the parents of most traditional college students make too much money to qualify for the free financial aid that is needs based and very few qualify for the limited number of scholarships that are available to students based on merit. Even among those that qualify competition and fierce and there are no guarantees. Enter the student loan. There are all kinds of student loans and unfortunately with rising costs associated with college attendence and the growing necessity of a college degree for success in this country it is becoming more and more difficult to pay the price that is associated with higher education.

There are three types of loans that are commonly found for college students. They include federal student loans, federal plus loans, and private student loans. Each type of loan has advantages and disadvantages that are unique to that particular loan. Below I will give a little information about each of the loan types and whom they may benefit.

Student loans. There are three different types of student loans: subsidized, unsubsidized, and Perkins loans.

Perkins loans are only available to students who display exceptional financial need. These loans are available at a 5% interest rate and are available to both graduate and undergraduate students. Perkins loans are extended through the university you attend and will be repaid to the university unlike the other types of student loans, which are repaid to the lending agency.

Subsidized student loans are loans in which the interest is deferred until graduation or you cease to be a qualifying student. What this means is that while you are responsible for repaying the loan upon graduation the interest on these loans does not begin to accrue until your begin repayment 6 months after graduation or your cease to be at least a half time student of the university. You must qualify based on your income in order to receive a subsidized student loan. While the needs requirements for these loans isn’t as grave as those required in order to receive a Perkins loan you must still qualify.

Unsubsidized student loans do not require qualification on a needs basis. You must be a student and enrolled at least half time in order to receive an unsubsidized student loan. The good news however for those who do not qualify based on needs for other student loan options is that this type of loan is available to all qualifying students regardless of need. The interest on these loans however begins to accrue immediately, which means they can really add up over time.

PLUS loans are loans that are taken out by the parents of students who need the funds in order to cover educational expenses. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is the cost of attendence minus any financial aid awards the student has already received. The repayment on these loans begins 60 days after the loan is dispersed and the repayment period can be up to 10 years.

In order to cover the costs involved in education that go above and beyond what the government recognizes as acceptable college related expenses you can opt to go the route of private student loans rather then relying solely upon federal financial aid for your student loan source. These loans require that you qualify in order to receive them based on your credit rather than your need and must be used for educational purposes only. With these particular loans you really need to make sure you read all the fine print as different companies offer different conditions and different perks. You should really take the time and compare prices and options before taking out a private student loan and this should be done only as a last resort.

Student loans for many can be the difference in attending college and getting the education you are hoping for and not being able to pay the high costs that go along with higher education. For this reason you should treat them with respect and not take them lightly.

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Associate Degree Vs. Bachelor Degree

There really are few ways to compare a two-year education with a four-year education that would be fair to either degree program. The truth of the matter is that both are excellent for certain things while both also offer serious limitations. When it comes to pros and cons they both have their own set of both that make excellent food for thoughts.

Two-Year Education

Pros

When it comes to a two-year college program there are several things you should consider in its favor before you take the plunge. First of all, you should keep in mind that the degree or certification at the end of your studies doesn’t necessarily indicate the end of your education. Two-year degrees are excellent starting points for four-year degrees but also allow you the option to venture out into the workplace with your own skills and knowledge that will allow you greater earning potential than a high school diploma. You will also have the benefit of entering the work place much sooner with an associate’s degree than with a bachelor’s degree. Most importantly for many who are limited by budgets, two-year colleges offer an affordable alternative for an education or even the first two years of your education.

Cons

The biggest cons that most people find when it comes to getting a two-year degree is the growing competition for limited jobs. In fact, it is difficult to remain competitive in any industry when there are more and more entering the work force with bachelor’s degrees. It is simply more difficult to maintain a competitive edge with only a two-year degree though it is not impossible. The other obvious con when it comes to two-year college degrees is that fact that some positions will not even consider anyone with less than a four-year degree. This means that you aren’t even in the running required to worry about competition.

Four-Year Degrees

Pros

A bachelor’s degree will earn you far greater earning potential in your lifetime than a high school education without a doubt. It will also place you in a position of serious competition within your chosen field or industry. This means that you will often be given preference when seeking jobs over those who do not have degrees or those with lesser degrees regardless of experience. There is also not enough that can be said about the personal confidence that goes along with earning your degree. You will find that you are much more confident on both a personal and a professional level once you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree.

Cons

The single largest con associated with a bachelor’s degree is the expense. Both in terms of time and money bachelor’s degrees exact a price. You should be certain that you are both willing and able to pay that price before setting out to get your degree.

Regardless of whether a two-year degree or a four-year degree is in your personal best interest at the moment neither are a waste of time or effort. I hope that you will eventually seek a four-year degree, as this will give you a competitive edge in business, however, even the smallest improvement in your education level can mean big changes over the course of your lifetime. Sometimes it helps to improve your education in steps. Take one class at a time until you have your associate’s degree then repeat until you have your bachelor’s degree. Good luck!

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Is an Online Education Right for You?

We live in the information age. We have grown so accustomed to information at the speed of light that the prospect of not having immediate access to countless numbers of facts and figures with the mere click of a few buttons for many of us is simply disconcerting. For this reason, it only makes sense that there are many people across the nation and around the world that are embracing the idea of online learning and educational opportunities with every ounce of enthusiasm they can muster.

At the same time there are equal numbers of people around the world who are trying desperately to hold on to traditional methods of dealing with certain things. In fact, some people actually still play solitaire with a deck of playing cards. For people who feel that the information age has left them behind to some degree the chances are quite good that online learning may not be the best available option for you.

Below you will find a few questions that can help you narrow down whether or not you would truly benefit by taking some of the many online courses that are being offered in today’s information age of learning.

1) Are you disciplined? This may seem like such an innocuous question because we would all like to think that we are disciplined to some degree. The problem is that when you are in the driver’s seat for your own education you need to have a little more than some small degree of discipline. You need to be able to meet deadlines, take the tests, and hold yourself responsible for actually learning the information that you need to learn in order to pass the course. There is no one to blame but yourself if you do not manage to do well in your online classes and some people simply do not like being in the drivers seat when it comes to motivating and pacing themselves and their learning practices.
2) How do you learn best? We all have different methods of learning for which we retain information better than others. Online courses are reading intensive. If you have difficulties retaining the information you read you may need to find an alternate learning method or seek solutions with the assistance of the course instructor before moving forward in an online learning environment.
3) Do you have a true desire to succeed? The answer to this question is quite important in determining whether or not online learning is in your best interest. There are many paths you can take in order to achieve the education and degree you desire. This is not the path of the masses, at least not yet. This type of learning, more than any other is easy to give up on through apathy. If you aren’t determined to do the assignments, to study the notes, and to really learn the material that is presented to you then you really do not need to waste your time or the instructor’s time by continually making up excuses. Online courses are largely self-paced but you do have a limited amount of time in which to learn the material before you need to move on. The teacher is responsible for providing you the information and material but you are responsible for everything that happens from that moment on. Are you ready for that responsibility?

Whether you are a first time college student or a professional that is returning to school after a long absence online learning can open new doors of opportunity for your learning pleasure. You must be willing to walk through those doors and take the information that is presented to you however in order to be successful. My sincere hope is that everyone reading this will carefully consider whether or not the lack of structure that many online courses provides is going to be conducive to your specific learning and educational needs before taking the plunge.

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