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The Basics of Distance Learning Online

Admissions for online classes are no different from on-campus classes.

Students enrolling in online programs typically have to go through the exact same admissions process as those students enrolling in traditional campus programs. Applications, fees and, depending on the program, standard college admissions test scores may be required. For more information on the enrollment procedures for distance learning programs, you will need to request free information from each online school you are interested in.

Online course curriculum is no different from on-campus classes

Online course content is generally the same as traditional course work. Assignments are emailed to the instructor, usually on designated due dates. For many online classes, written course work takes the place of traditional examinations. When this is not the case, examinations may be offered online, or they may be proctored; many online schools provide students with listings of suitable locations in their area where tests may be taken.

The advantage of distance learning is that it eliminates the higher out-of-state tuition; you don't have to pay high gas prices driving to and from a campus; and you won't have to pay parking fees or worry about paying expensive parking tickets.

Read a comparison of tuition prices for top distance learning online schools.

Online class start dates vary

If the online degree program you're enrolled in is self-paced, you'll probably be able to start any time. However, many online degree programs are structured like traditional programs in that groups of students are scheduled to take a class and/or go through a degree program at the same time. When this is the case, there is generally a designated start date.

Computer and technical requirements

Students planning on enrolling in online classes should expect to have, at minimum, regular access to a computer with an Internet connection and an email account.

You should check with the school where you are planning to enroll to find out what the specific requirements might be. Some questions you might want to ask are:

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