If you are thinking about starting on you graduate degree, at some point you’ve probably wondered about doing school online, otherwise known as distance education. I am just finishing up my first semester (one final project away!) through A&M’s Distance Education program and could not have been more pleased with the DE program this semester. There are pros and cons to any type of on-campus, DE, web-based or other program types, and the most important thing is finding the right fit for you. I wanted to give my thoughts on DE this semester and hopefully provide some insightful information that will help others make the best choice for them!
Texas A & M has a number of distance degrees and distance certificates that they offer. The most important thing for me when I was picking out what degree I would pursue, is that it was something I was passionate about and excited for. When I started going through the course list for the degree I was interested in, I was so excited at the idea of taking each of the courses that were offered. To me, that made my decision easy to go ahead and pursue my master’s degree through this program. It also made it super easy that it was a DE program as I live three hours away from the College Station campus.
When the semester started, I was very intentional about attending the orientation offered on campus. This meant that I did have to drive to campus and stay in a hotel, but it was worth it to get to see the campus, meet other students and learn the ins and outs of OGAPS. I was able to visit the bookstore and pick up some A & M clothing as well as explore since I wouldn’t be doing that during the semester. I think that as a DE student, it is important to be as involved as you can. I set a personal goal that I would go to College Station once a semester to attend some event or meet with my advisor. This helps me feel connected into the community, while also enjoying the flexibility of distance education.
The DE programs are AMAZING for people who are wanting to pursue higher education while not being sure that they can make the time commitment of attending weekly classes. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a large time commitment involved in the DE programs, because there definitely is, but it gives you the flexibility of completing your coursework whenever you are able to during the week. Some mornings, I get up really early to work on assignments because I know that in the evening I will be too busy to get to it. Other times, I am up late because I had a busy day. Either way, I am able to complete the work on my time schedule, as long as it is all turned in for the due date. With as busy as our lives are, this allows me the flexibility to reach my goals. This also means that you have to be super organized. Organization is key to making sure you are successful at distance education. (I wrote in a previous post about time management, so go check it out ;).
DE has been a great opportunity for me to get my master’s degree while living three hours away from College Station and working full-time. I have had an amazing experience so far with the program and I cannot wait to continue reaching for my goals.
India is Masters student in the Department of Educational Psychology's Creativity and Cognition Online Program.