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Frequently Asked Questions

It’s natural to have questions about going back to school. For answers to more specific questions, contact the school you are interested in attending. Is returning to school right for me? Of course, no one can answer this question for you. Returning to college is not easy for anyone with a full-time job; it requires a serious commitment of time, resources and energy. You must consider carefully the challenge of balancing work, family responsibilities, community commitments and other obligations with the demands of college-level coursework. Millions of adults have successfully returned to college for a degree, however! Admissions counselors should be able to help you carefully assess your needs and situation and help you find ways to realize your dream. Exactly what is a degree-completion* program? (*Variations are sometimes called “capstone,” two-plus-two or transfer-admission programs) Degree-completion programs are designed for working professionals with two or more years of transferable credit from accredited institutions. Individual college and university enrollment requirements vary but a minimum grade-point average and specific prerequisites are required. The maximum amount of transferable, previously earned credits will depend on the type of baccalaureate degree to be completed and other variables; some programs, as noted, might consider prior learning and work experience. Nearly all schools offer part-time options, evening and/or weekend classes, as well as accelerated formats. Mortuary Science, Bachelor of Science completion programs are currently all campus-based, with different requirements. What is distance learning? Distance learning is an educational experience via Internet instruction (online learning), prerecorded or live video (one-way or two-way interactive), prerecorded or live audio, video-conferencing or multimedia. Distance learning entails delivery over a distance to individuals in different locations, with the Internet and interactive-video technologies the most common mode of delivery at colleges and universities. Distance learning usually offers flexibility within certain parameters (a course or exam might have a time limit, assignments might have due dates, an instructor might have limited “hours”); coursework should equal on-campus courses in terms of content, expectations and academic diligence. Will I have to apply for admission to completion programs or for distance-learning degree programs? Degree-completion programs, whatever their form, have the same or similar admission requirements as traditional baccalaureate programs. Among other requirements, you will have to submit official college transcripts and meet certain pre-professional degree requirements. Nearly every college or university Website includes an admissions application (for your inspection and sometimes for submission online), regardless of whether it offers distance-education options. Comparing a number of different college and university application requirements is enlightening for anyone seriously planning to return to school. Is there a time limit to complete a baccalaureate degree as a part-time student? The allowable time to complete a degree part-time is usually limited (example: six consecutive semesters). What is the CLEP‚ program? CLEP is an assessment tool of the College Board, a nonprofit association that works with 3,500 colleges nationwide to provide college admission and assessment services (such as the SAT taken by high-school students for college admission). CLEP gives students the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through exams in undergraduate college courses. How do I know I can handle earning a degree online? There are a number of self-assessment tools to explore if online learning is best for you. For an interesting exercise to see whether a traditional, on-campus setting (with face-to-face learning) or online learning is right for you, check out If you are a highly motivated individual, you are a good candidate for success. Do I have the right computer equipment to take online courses? Schools typically describe minimum Internet-connection requirements based on the extent of multimedia applications in a course, e.g., applications other than text-based ones, such as the use of video or audio clips. For heavy multimedia-based courses, high-speed Internet access is recommended. Current e-mail accounts and an up-to-date virus-scanning program are often required. What about accreditation? Accreditation is a process to maintain and improve standards of educational institutions and to provide public confidence in the integrity of the school. Accreditation approval is required for eligibility for federal grants and loans, to make credit transfer easy, to meet specific professional standards and for degree recognition. The value of your degree absolutely depends on national accreditation, including degrees earned online. Be certain that the institution you choose is accredited by the national accrediting body for your major.