Why go to college as an adult? After all, you probably have a job by now and certainly don’t have any time to waste, in between juggling the responsibilities of your personal and private life. Luckily for you, you also happen to live in the age of information technology, when completing coursework no longer requires taking days off, or missing precious hours of paid labor. There’s a catch to the current state of events, too, though. The situation on the job market is basically mandating you to get certification for higher learning. In late 2013, youth unemployment levels, for people aged 15 to 24, stood at nearly 16 per cent, twice the national average. More jarringly, the same rate stood at 30 per cent for young people with just a high school graduation diploma. College graduates fared far better.
So, no doubt about it, the time to get a college certificate is now, especially if you’re young, live in Texas, and want a (better) job. However, there are still plenty of people out there who don’t really trust online coursework. They wonder whether or not the certifications they receive are actually valid. They question the quality of the courses themselves. Finally, they postpone the decision to enroll by tricking themselves into thinking that they’ll one day find the time and the money they need to attend college offline. If you, too, subscribe to the above line of reasoning, here are three benefits of online colleges that you might want to consider:
Long distance learning teaches you technology and communication skills, through sheer practice. TCC online courses, for instance, offered by Tarrant County College, make use of text chats, online conferences, video and audio streams, as well as numerous other modern day technologies. Not only will you learn how to use these technologies, which will likely prove relevant for your career of choice, but you’ll also have access to peers and faculty in remote locations, around the country. This diverse and dynamic environment is at once challenging and encouraging for adult learners, says college staff.
Online college courses are designed with adult learners in mind. The institutions that develop and implement them are aware of the fact that most adults would find it hard to take time off from work to physically attend college. As such, all courses are flexibly scheduled and, perhaps more importantly, flexibly designed. This means you can choose to focus on specific areas of study and skillsets that would directly benefit your career pursuits.
Texas is notoriously the largest state in the U.S., which means many of its inhabitants have no real life colleges or universities close by. They can still get a college education, though, thanks to online schools. And those who do live in the proximity of a higher learning institution can still benefit from online learning, as they can design their own schedule. They can even combine online courses with classes in actual schools, they can transfer credits obtained online toward an offline degree, and they can choose where, when, and how they want to finish their education.
Texas is currently making strides toward enriching its online course offering. Several higher learning institutions have introduced online degree programs and have teamed up with organizations that were already providing massive online open courses (otherwise known as MOOCs). In all likelihood, this move toward a more diverse range of affordable online programs was prompted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s state-of-the-state address in 2011. Back then, Perry set higher learning institutions on a mission to provide affordable bachelor degrees, which cost $10,000 or less, including the required textbooks. At the time, the Austin American-Statesman reported that there were only four such programs available in the state, with the full degrees obtained from the university issuing the certification – and all with costs below $10,500. Out of these four, just one was entirely web-based.
However, it seems that the times, they are a-changing, both thanks to the efforts of the authorities, as well as through private initiatives. If you live in Texas and/or are interested in pursuing higher learning in this state, you can check out the online portal of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for Texas Distance Education. You will find an exhaustive database there, which you can search through, of all the online coursework and degrees available online, from Texas’s public institutions. There are over 35 schools with Texas-based campuses listed on the site and the number of programs they offer exceeds 300. You can also check out the Virtual College of Texas, provided by the Texas Association of Community Colleges. On this website, you have access to online courses from 40 community colleges in Texas. Last but not least, the Southern Regional Education Board maintains an online campus, with all the online educational programs offered to prospective college attendees who live in the South.