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How to choose the right online degree program for you

June 23, 2021 · 6 min read · By ASU Online
ASU Online offers expansive program options, student resources and world-renowned faculty. Explore why our students choose ASU Online. 
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When it comes to choosing a degree that supports your goals, the options can seem overwhelming. You may have narrowed the search to online programs, but when choosing a university, it’s important to assess what matters. From academic reputation to world-class faculty and student support, you should take the time to explore which factors will help you achieve future success.

ASU Online students and alumni come from diverse backgrounds with individual academic needs. To help you simplify your search, we spoke to current students and alumni who shared what mattered most to them when it came to selecting their program and why ASU Online was the right fit for them.

 

5 key factors for selecting the right degree online

 

1. Find a program that supports your lifestyle.

It can be challenging to create a balance between life, livelihood and learning. Each student has their own unique path and flexibility is key for accomplishing the tasks at hand. We recognize learning solutions look different for everyone, so personalized support is essential.

Homestead, Florida, resident Lauren Dohr studies organizational leadership and history and prioritizes flexibility to maintain her endeavors outside of being a student. 

“One of the biggest aspects that stood out was that it was 100% online. It allowed for flexibility. I wouldn’t need to take time off work for classes or request a schedule change again. I could enroll in classes and do them around my family time, volunteering and life. I have the freedom to continue with my adventures while completing my degree online,” Dohr said.

Arizona-based sustainability student David Burgess echoes this sentiment. 

“One of the great things about studying online is that you get the full capacity of Arizona State University — all the resources and all the instructors — but you can be anywhere in the world. Studying online has allowed me to be a full-time father, husband and dialysis technician in area hospitals,” he said.

 

2. Seek industry-relevant curriculum.

Your industry is not stagnant, so what you learn should reflect the latest developments to prepare you to be a leader in your profession. At ASU Online, your learning doesn’t begin and end behind a book. Our leaders and faculty are dedicated to actively engage and challenge students, so they can distinguish themselves with knowledge that fuels positive career outcomes.

Lily Urmann, an ASU Online alumni from Berkeley, California, found her passion for biomimicry at a conference. Wanting to dive deeper into the potential of the field, she chose to study at ASU Online because it is “not your average online program.”

“I was incredibly impressed with the intention and structure of the curriculum. Much of it aimed at conducting research outside, discussing ideas in forums, and collaborating with colleagues on real-life and relevant projects,” she said.

Upon graduation, she became the program coordinator at ASU’s Biomimicry Center where she was hired to help create and launch one of the world’s first undergraduate certificates in biomimicry at ASU.

“I am very excited to continue to expand the reach of biomimicry at ASU and beyond,” Urman said.

 

3. Pursue programs using innovative learning technology.

Your online program should offer a dynamic, innovative approach to teaching. On the forefront of online teaching and learning, ASU Online creates learning experiences through videos, simulations and virtual labs. Our students thrive, using immersive and adaptive learning technologies that are changing the way they master concepts.

Paris Poor, an electrical engineering student residing in Huachuca City, Arizona, knew accessibility to technology would be crucial as an online student.

“[As ASU Online students], we get all the resources we need to do labs at home, and it's great exposure to all of the different labs that you might get in person,” Poor said. “I think it’s fantastic that I have them at my disposal all the time. For example, I have a [staggered pin grid array] board. Normally I’d only get to interact with it during labs, but because it’s at my house I’ve been able to do more with it outside of labs.”

The breadth of available technology and resources was also a motivator for Burgess, and continues to be an important part of his journey. While many universities struggled with a transition to online learning in 2020, ASU was well equipped to make the change.

“As we face challenges in the world today, ASU doesn’t miss a beat,” he said. “The technology that ASU is implementing is definitely the future. ASU is a good template for how [online learning] can be done.”

 

4. Consider the strength of the community.

Connecting with a community of peers, faculty and professionals can be helpful in building a support system and network that shapes your future success. Clubs and organizations can also help you explore common interests, forge relationships and improve your communication skills. As a Sun Devil, you’ll have access to the ASU community and the ability to explore all it has to offer.

For Dohr, the sense of care and connection she felt from ASU Online convinced her she had found her place.

“I was having trouble getting questions answered at some other universities,” she said. “When I requested information [from ASU], an enrollment advisor reached out via phone. Their willingness to not only answer all of my questions, but to get assistance if they didn’t know [the answer], made me feel valued and sealed the deal for me.”

Unlike other online learning options, Dohr says ASU Online makes it easy for her to connect with other students and professors.

“My success coach walked me through applying for the masters program. My professors know my name and use my nickname. There is a constant sense of connection, which gives added value to being an ASU Online student,” Dohr said.

 

5. Explore your access to student support.

Your success as an online student means more than getting good grades. From day one, ASU Online students have access to an entire support system whenever you need it. Our online student services include counseling, student wellness, technical resources, disability assistance, military support and more. Most notably, our success coaches serve as lifelines for students.

Success coaches provide guidance for overcoming obstacles and ensure online students stay on the path to graduation. From helping with time management and stress to guiding professional exploration, having a success coach can help you empower your academic experience.

Kyle Ballard, a political science student living in Georgia, discovered firsthand just how vital a success coach can be.

"When I was first introduced to my success coach, I didn’t really see the point of the position,” he said. “Since starting my studies at ASU Online, I’ve learned that I rely on my success coach more than I could have envisioned. My success coach cheered me on every step of the way, sharing my excitement, empathizing with my struggles and being genuinely invested in my success as an ASU Online student and beyond.”

 

The ASU Online experience

At ASU Online, we're committed to elevating the student experience and pushing the boundaries of higher education. Our students choose us to help them pursue their goals, distinguish themselves and fuel positive career outcomes.

Learn more about the ASU Online student experience and connect with current students and alumni on social media using #ASUOnline or #LearnASULive.

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One of the great things about studying online is that you get the full capacity of Arizona State University — all the resources and all the instructors — but you can be anywhere in the world.

David Burgess

ASU Online student, Sustainability (BS)

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