By Lauren Murphy - December 4th, 2017
When I was thinking about taking online courses, my concern was that I would not have access to the same support as at a traditional college. But if you take the time to research, evaluate and choose carefully before enrolling, you’ll find that a good online college provides the same support services, including enrollment counselors, student advisers, tutors, the library, and career services.
My enrollment counselor made the admission and enrollment process simple. I could easily reach her by phone or e-mail. Although we live in different time zones, we were still able to communicate. All of my questions regarding the school’s calendar, financial aid, degree requirements, and scholarships were answered immediately. As someone who asks a lot of questions, I was thrilled to have this support. If you’re considering returning to college as a transfer student, enrollment counselors will find out how many of your earned credits are transferable.
Your student adviser will be your new best friend. Once you are enrolled in classes, you will be assigned an adviser who will be your go-to person throughout your academic journey. Advisers can answer questions regarding your degree plan, alternative credit options, and financial aid. If you need help choosing classes, your adviser can guide you and provide registration options. Advisers are accessible through email and phone, and typically reply within 24 hours. In my experience, my adviser has been consistently helpful. For example, I decided last minute that I wanted to register for another course — and my adviser was able to get me in fast!
Tutors and The Writing Center
We exist in an age where tutoring is available from the comfort of your own computer. Like traditional institutions, online programs also offer tutoring services to help with various subjects, including English, math, writing, and science. For example, if you’re taking statistics and having trouble, you can reach out to a tutor. Tutors are typically available through chat or email. If you need help with writing, you can use the writing center. I often use the Smarthinking writing center to submit rough drafts for feedback before turning in writing assignments. You can even choose which areas you’d like help with, such as sentence structure, thesis, grammar, punctuation, and analysis.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to find scholarly or peer-reviewed articles. The library is your best resource for academic research. It offers substantial research capabilities, as well as tools for brainstorming, editing, writing, and formatting. I use the library primarily for APA formatting resources and research.
A career services department will help prepare you for graduation. Applying for a career can be intimidating, but they should help you write resumes and prepare for interviews and maintaining a position. Professional resources are available, too, including career coaches, resume help, cover-letter assistance, and job opportunities.
I’ve learned that using these support services has given me an upper hand with the challenges of college — and by taking advantage of the writing center, career services, and other resources, my education journey has been smoother than I anticipated. Since these services are part of what your tuition dollars are paying for, take advantage!