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Earning a Master Degree Online Tips

Read these 33 Earning a Master Degree Online Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Bachelor Degree tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do I prepare an admissions essay?

Preparing an admissions essay

Many online degree programs in geographic information systems require prospective students to submit an essay, letter of intent or statement of purpose as part of their admissions package. Don't be tempted to substitute a resume and cover letter for this essay! Not only does a well-written essay show your seriousness in wanting to pursue an online Master's degree in geographic information systems, it shows that you have the writing skills necessary to excel in an online learning environment. A good admissions essay needn't be cute or clever. It is enough to explain your professional background and to talk honestly about your educational goals and how you feel the program can help you reach them. Of course, you also need to pay special attention to neat formatting, correct spelling and proper grammar. You want to present the image of a serious student who is ready for the challenge of an advanced degree in geographic information systems.

   
How do I create a classroom at home?

Work-Life-School balance

When you're juggling a full-time teaching career and a family, it's hard to make time to attend class, let alone study. Students enrolled in online degree programs have the additional challenge of courses that may not meet on a fixed schedule, but require self-discipline in order to carve out the necessary time. Creating your own “classroom” at home can help you get into the right frame of mind for learning, as well as send a signal to friends and family that you are “at school.” Choose a quiet room with good lighting and a door that closes for your at-home “classroom.” Invest in a comfortable, ergonomic office chair. Have all your books, supplies and computer equipment easily accessible. When it's time for class, turn off your cell phone and enlist the help of your spouse to keep interruptions by children, pets or telephone calls to a minimum.

   
What is the Graduate Record Examination?

Information about the Graduate Record Examination

Admissions requirements vary from university to university but most online Master's degree programs in geographic information systems require prospective students to submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE general test has sections that test your critical thinking, writing, verbal and mathematical (or quantitative) skills. This test is designed to measure skills gained over a long period of time and is not specific to any one subject. Some programs may require you to take a GRE subject matter test. There are eight subject matter tests: Biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, English literature, mathematics, physics and psychology. When scheduling your GRE, be sure to leave plenty of time for your results to be submitted before the application deadline. Some online Master's degree programs in geographic information systems waive the GRE requirement for students who have been out of school for five years or more. Check with an admissions officer to see if this applies to you.

   
Are there special technical requirements for an online GIS degree?

Special technical requirements for GIS students

When considering an online Master's degree in Geographic Information Systems, be sure to check with the programs you're considering for any special technical requirements. Online GIS students may need hardware or software that differs from the standard for most online courses. GIS software such as ArcView is available under a special student license for a minimal fee, but you will need to provide proof that you are enrolled and registered in an approved program in order to receive the special pricing. The computer that you use for your online studies will need to be powerful enough to run GIS software. The technical support department at your university will be able to provide you with a list of requirements specific to your program.

   
What are some tips for electronic communications?

Chat and discussion group ettiquette for online master's degree programs

As a student in an online master's degree program in homeland security it is very likely you will be using chat rooms and discussion groups for at least part of your class work. These tools can enhance communication, but they can also cause misunderstandings if not used thoughtfully.

1. Be professional. Treat your fellow students as you would co-workers. Be respectful and polite, even when working out a disagreement. Don't give out a lot of personal information too quickly.

2. Use humor with care. Humor and sarcasm do not always make a smooth transition when written down.

3. Respect diversity. Your classmates may come from other parts of the country or from around the world. What makes perfect sense to you may be confusing, unclear or rude to someone else. Be sensitive to these differences.

4. Argue the facts. In an online master's degree setting, debate is a natural by-product of the learning experience. Homeland security is an especially controversial topic. When you're involved in a disagreement, be sure to address the ideas being discussed and not the person. Personal attacks will make people tune out what you're saying.

   
Where can I order textbooks for my online course?

Purchasing books for an online course

There are advantages to purchasing books at the campus bookstore including availability of used textbooks, book buy-back programs and the number of books in stock. However, students pursuing an online degree in oil and gas engineering management may not have easy access to the university bookstore. Luckily, there are many online resources for purchasing textbooks, many of which can save you money in the bargain. The big-name booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble carry many standard textbooks at prices lower than most university bookstores. For more specialized texts, there are online booksellers that specialize in college textbooks. You can also check eBay for used versions, but be sure that you check to make sure that the version you purchase is the version being used in the course you are taking. If all else fails and you can't find the book you need, call the university bookstore and see if they offer shipping for master's degree students studying oil and gas engineering management.

   
How do I meet my classmates?

Building relationships with your fellow online MBA students

MBA degree students often make valuable business contacts and lifelong friendships during the course of their studies. There are several ways that universities provide their online MBA students with opportunities to make these connections. MBA program's online have a maximum enrollment and begin classes at the same time each year, which allows students to progress through the entire program with the same classmates. Also, many online courses offer a separate chat-room where students can gather in an online “coffee shop” to discuss their lives, the program or anything else they like. Residential programs offer students the ability to meet their fellow students face-to-face and work together on group projects, providing valuable team-building experience. Admissions officers can give you information on connecting with other students and put you in touch with recent graduates who can give you information about their experiences.

   
What is the typical deadline for admissions to online degree programs?

Admissions deadlines for online degree programs

In the good old days, prospective college students applied in the fall, a year before they wanted to begin college, and received their acceptance letters in the spring. Online master's degree programs in geographic information systems are different. Some independent study programs allow students to begin at any time. Some follow the traditional model of accepting a limited number of students for fall admission. Some begin their programs two or three times a year. It is important to check with the admissions office for exact application and financial aid deadlines so that you can coordinate the preparation of all your admissions materials.

   
How long should I take to complete my online master's degree in project management?

Planning Your Online Master's Degree in Project Management

If you are considering getting an online master's degree in Project Management, it's likely you already have a job that demands a lot of you. Though many programs allow accelerated study, you need to consider whether the current demands of your job will leave enough time for that. Consider that each online course requires 6-12 hours of work per week. That means you need to free 18-36 hours per week to take three courses at once. Two courses per semester would reduce the number of hours needed to 12-24. Analyze your workload and the demands of your home life to determine which schedule will be best for you.

   
Everything on the Internet is free to use, isn't it?

Copyright issues for online master's degree courses

Did you know that not everything you find on the Internet is available for "fair use?" Just because a photo or a piece of writing does not carry a copyright date, that does not mean that it is free for any purpose. Students in online master's degree programs in homeland security should pay particular attention to the fact that some government publications also carry copyrights. Most large universities and many smaller ones have specific policies regarding the type of materials that can be downloaded from the Internet to use in course work. Additionally, there may be policies on what you can photocopy and how you can distribute those copies. Never assume that, because you are a student, you are immune from responsibility for copyright infringement. Check with your professor or advisor to get a copy of your university's copyright policy.

   
Where can I find help paying for my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction

Financial aid for an online Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction

Many students erroneously assume that they are not eligible for financial aid because they are enrolled in an online program. Fortunately, this is not the case. Students enrolled in accredited, degree-granting online programs are eligible for most forms of federal financial aid. There are also grants, scholarships, fellowships and loan programs designed specifically for teachers who wish to pursue advanced degrees. These programs may be specific to a discipline (science, math, language arts, etc.) or more broad-based. All students interested in receiving financial aid should begin by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the form used by government agencies and private scholarship-granting organizations to determine eligibility for their various programs. Teachers should also check with their local school district and their union, if they belong to one, to see if they offer tuition assistance.

   
What should I know about myself before I begin an online MBA?

Four questions to consider before you enroll in an online MBA program

Pursuing the MBA degree, whether online or on campus, is a huge commitment and prospective students should perform a careful self-evaluation before enrolling in a program. Here are four questions to ask yourself before you sign up:

1. How much time can I commit to participating in classes and studying? Expect to spend 2 to 4 hours per credit per week on your studies. (6 to 12 hours per week for a 3-credit course.) Online MBA degrees can take as little as 18 months or as much as 3 years to complete.

2. Am I disciplined enough for online learning? Online degree programs require more discipline than classroom-based degrees because much of the work is done at your own pace. Some students are more motivated by a classroom setting with a fixed schedule.

3. Can I afford it? Most online MBA programs offer some kind of financial aid. Your employer may also offer tuition assistance for programs related to your industry. Check with your human resources department for more information.

4. Do I have the right combination of experience and education? MBA programs, whether online or classroom-based typically require that students have some business experience. Some MBA programs are specifically designed for students with management experience. Check with admissions officers before you enroll to ensure you have the necessary skills to handle the coursework.

   
Why should I get an online degree in Adult Education?

Consider an online degree in Adult Education

With the aging of America's Baby-Boomers, the demand for adult education grows each year. Whether they're seeking training for a new career to enhance current job skills or personal enrichment, adult students are returning to school in large numbers. This has created a demand for professionals with experience as instructors, program coordinators, researchers and trainers. A degree in Adult Education can position you to take advantage of these opportunities. Pursuing a degree in Adult Education online offers you the opportunity to work at your own speed and if you're currently working with adult learners, you can apply what you're learning in your classroom in real-time. Additionally, by taking your degree online you can be a living example to your adult students of the quality of online education.

   
What is the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)?

The Graduate Management Admission Test

Many online master's degree programs in project management require students to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and submit scores as part of their application. Online students of project management are no exception. The GMAT is a test that helps business schools assess the qualifications of applicants to their programs. It is only one part of the complete application package that online students seeking degrees in project management submit for consideration. The GMAT measures basic verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills. Check online for practice tests and preparation courses. There are also study guides available in libraries and bookstores.

   
What are some tips for emailing my professor

Email your professor in an online master's degree program

Exchanging emails with professors has become as common as the office visit used to be. These tips can help students pursuing an online master's degree build a solid electronic relationship with your professor.

1. Keep messages short and to the point. Your professor may receive many emails in the course of a day and staying on topic can help get you a quicker response.

2. Use a meaningful subject line. Subject lines like "Hi," or "I have a question," don't tell your reader what the email is about. Use specifics like, "HLS 410, Question About Chapter 2."

3. Use care when sending attachments. Be sure they are in a format that your receipient can open. Make sure anything you send is clean of viruses.

4. Be patient. Once you've sent an email, give the receipient 24 hours to reply. Not everyone checks their email on an hourly basis and professors, in particular, may be limited to checking email during certain hours of the day.

   
Why should I get a master's degree in homeland security?

Why should I get a master's degree in Homeland Security?

Since the tragic events of 9/11, homeland security has become a top priority of not only the federal government but of state and local governments as well. Sensitive private industries such as gas and oil refiners, chemical plants and electric utilities are also investing in homeland security. Because of the danger of attack with chemical or biological weapons, health professionals are increasingly being asked to contribute their expertise to emergency preparedness planning. So getting a master's degree in homeland security will increase your job prospects and provide you with tools to help your country protect itself against terrorism.

   
Is there a central place online for student information?

Finding the online student union

When you were an undergraduate, the student union was probably the hub of most activity on your campus. That was probably where the bookstore was, where you went to grab a bite to eat, study in a quiet corner or hang out with your fellow students. As an online student studying oil and gas engineering management, of course your experience will be different but many universities provide access to an online “student union” where you can accomplish many of the same tasks. You may not be able to get a cheeseburger, but with your student login and password, you can access the university library, order books and software, check grades and register for courses. Some universities have students-only portals providing online study skills seminars, information on athletics and chat rooms for university students where you can meet up with other students pursuing degrees in oil and gas engineering management. You will probably receive information on these services when you register. If you don't, check with a student services representative to see if your university has an online student union.

   
How do I prepare for online study on the road?

Preparing for online study on the road

Students pursuing online master's degrees in oil and gas engineering management often have jobs that require a lot of travel. If you're a road warrior who needs to travel and study at the same time, doing a little advance planning and creating a packing list for your online course materials can save you from forgetting an important assignment or wasting time trying to find a copy center. Be sure to program your cell phone with the phone numbers for your professor, university technical support, student services and any of your fellow students that you call regularly. Check with your hotel before you leave to see if they offer fax and copy services. If not, inquire about the location of the nearest copy center. When packing your bags, try to keep your course materials together. Pack your syllabus, textbooks and supplies as well as any special hardware you need (like a microphone or external speakers) in a single bag. If you pack your course materials in a carry-on bag, you can use the hours you spend in-flight for valuable study time for your online master's degree in oil and gas engineering management.

   
How do I find a proctor to administer an examination?

Proctored exams

At some point during your online education, you may be expected to take what is called a proctored exam. This is a supervised examination administered by a person who is pre-qualified by the university to ensure that the exam is taken fairly and under the conditions that the university specifies. If you are near a campus, most universities allow online students to take proctored exams in their on-campus testing center. Some large universities have off-campus, satellite testing centers with proctors on duty. For online students who are not near a campus or satellite testing center, certified public school teachers, community college professors, military officers and members of the clergy can substitute for a qualified university proctor. Check with your online MBA program for the list of qualifications they require for proctors and line up your proctor well in advance of your examination.

   
What can I do with a degree in Adult Education?

Career building with an online degree in Adult Education

Teachers are not the only people who can benefit from an advanced degree in Adult Education, though they frequently seek advanced degrees to learn the latest trends and techniques. Human resource professionals are frequently tasked with the responsibility of working with adult learners in a corporate setting. Social service professionals often conduct job-training, English as a second language and basic literacy courses for adult learners. Professional associations often employ trainers to assist their members in keeping their industry certifications up-to-date. If you're one of the following types of professionals, an advanced online degree in Adult Education could help advance your career:

Corporate trainer
Human resources professional
Community college instructor
ESOL or basic literacy instructor
Social worker
Military trainer
Community service provider

If you're employed in one of the jobs listed above, you may also be eligible for employer-assistance with the costs of your education.

   
How can I complete an advanced degree when I'm so busy?

Fitting an advanced degree into your busy schedule

Ask anyone and they will tell you: public school teachers are busy people. Between lesson planning, teaching, test and project grading and in-service requirements, how can a busy teacher find time to pursue an advanced degree without taking several years off? The answer can be found online. Now you can get an online Master's Degree or certificate in Curriculum and Instruction. In the past, a teacher seeking a Master's Degree had little choice but to attend school at night or take a sabbatical from the classroom. But now, online degree programs allow busy teachers to advance their careers without leaving their classrooms for an extended time by offering courses that can be complete at their own pace. Many of these degree and certificate programs fulfill state requirements for professional development. Check with your school system, then check out the options online!

   
Who should get a master's degree in homeland security and public health?

Who should get a master's degree in Homeland Security and Public Health?

Individuals who would benefit from a master's degree in Homeland Security and Public Health generally fall into three categories: Government and public health workers, first responders and consultants. Government workers in the fields of homeland security, agriculture or public health are increasingly called upon to provide policy expertise. First responders such as fire fighters, police officers, paramedics and hazardous material response teams are being asked to coordinate ground-level response plans. Finally, consultants are being hired by hospitals, private industries and the government to assist in homeland security planning. Individuals in any of these fields who hold a bachelor's degree may want to consider advancing their education with a master's degree in homeland security.

   
Can I use my business laptop for my online courses?

Preparing your business laptop for online study

If you're already working in the oil and gas engineering management field, you probably travel frequently. Pursuing an online master's degree in oil and gas engineering management when you're on the road with your business laptop can present some challenges, but a little preparation can make it easier. Before you leave the office, speak with your supervisor to ensure that you have permission to use your business laptop for online degree work. Then, check with your IT department to ensure that your business laptop will allow you to connect to the resources you need. Some IT departments block certain websites and web-enabled applications like instant messaging that you may need for your course. If you need special software for the courses in your online master's degree in oil and gas engineering management program, ask if it can be installed on your work-supplied laptop. Some IT departments may allow you to do this yourself, and some may require you to bring in your laptop so the software can be installed by someone in the department. Finally, check with IT to ensure that your virus protection and anti-spyware software are up-to-date.

   
What career services are available to online MBA grads?

Career placement services for online MBA grads

Once you get your MBA, you face the all-important task of finding a job in the fiercely competitive post-MBA market. Taking full advantage of your school's career placement services is an essential tool in your search. But online MBA grads often live too far from campus to make use of the full range of services offered at the university's career center. Universities offering online programs are beginning to address this problem by offering web-enabled job search seminars, resume workshops and interview training to graduates of their online MBA programs. Learning about what career services are offered to online students should be an important step in choosing an online MBA program. To find out what services are offered by the universities you are considering, visit their web sites and look for links to "career services" or "job placement services." If you have questions about what you find there, be sure to follow up with a phone call to the career center.

   
What are the different types of online courses?

A short guide to types of distance learning courses

Universities offer several different ways to pursue a degree online (or as some universities call it, distance learning). Here's a short summary of each type of course, the technical requirements and what kind of experience you can expect.

1. Individual online courses: These courses are conducted online and require web access to complete. Students work one-on-one with their professor. There is limited or no interaction with other students and group work is not required. Students may have as long as six months to complete a course of this type.

2. Group online courses: These courses are conducted online and require web access to complete. Students work on group projects together and the course may include schedule online dicussions using a chat room. Courses of this type usually run on a traditional semester schedule.

3. Independent learning courses: These courses may or may not require web access to complete. Assignments are submitted by fax, postal mail or email. The instructor may provide learning materials via the web, or may assign books and other printed materials. Courses vary in duration up to as long as six months.

Most university websites have course catalogs available on the web that give details about how each course is conducted. Over the course of your studies, you may be required to take one or all of the above types of courses.

   
Do I need to be able to type to take an online course?

Keyboarding skills for online students

How fast do you type? Are you an 80-words-per-minute speed demon or are you a two-fingered hunt-and-pecker? Your answer may affect your success in an online degree program in project management. At work, you may have an administrative assistant to help you, but in your master's degree program in project management you will be the one typing the papers and emails. You will be chatting with other students online and writing discussion forum posts. While you don't need to be an expert, strong typing skills will reduce the amount of time you need to spend on these activities and reduce your frustration level as well. If your typing skills are not strong, check with your local community college to see if they offer a course on keyboarding. And then, practice, practice, practice!

   
What technology do I need to take an online course?

Computer configuration requirements for online study

Technology requirements vary from university to university, but there are some basic requirements you need in order to successfully participate in an online degree program.

1. Operating system. You should be running a recent version of your operating system (either Windows 2000/ME/XE or Macintosh OS X). Be aware that even though many online courses are designed to support both the Windows and Macintosh operating systems, some are not.
2. Processing speed, memory and storage space. Online courses may require having a number of applications open at once, placing a heavy load on your computer processor. Be sure your computer has at least 500 MHz of processor speed, 128 MB of memory and 500 MB of available space to store programs and documents.
3. Other hardware. Because you may need to listen to lectures or other audio material from your computer, you will need a sound card, speakers and a microphone. You will also need a printer to print out course materials.
4. Web browsers. Though some online courses may be designed to run well under Netscape or Firefox, Internet Explorer is still the standard browser that most people use. Download the most recent version of your browser by using the help menu to check for updates. Online courses generally require you to enable cookies and Javascript.
5. Internet connection. While you can take online courses if you have a dial-up connection, and many people do, a broadband connection will provide a quicker, more seamless experience. Also, a broadband connection will not tie up your telephone line while you are in class.

   
What should I look for in an online Adult Education program?

Some frequently asked questions about online Adult Education programs

In addition to the course descriptions and costs, there are some other important things to research before choosing an online Adult Education degree program.

Do the same faculty teach both online and offline courses? A quality program will offer online courses developed and taught by the same professors who teach in the university classroom.

What additional learning resources are available? Many university libraries offer at least some materials online. Some have arrangements with a consortium of colleges and universities nationwide to provide online students with library access.

Will my degree be the same as a student receiving a degree on-campus? Most traditional universities offering online degrees make no distinction between a degree earned online or on-campus. There are some online-only universities which grant degrees that designate the student as having completed an online program.

   
What are some sources for research on online degree programs?

Online Master's degree programs in Curriculum and Instruction

Spending a little time on researching online degree programs can help you spend your time and money wisely. With so many programs available, how do you choose between them? Here are some simple ways to get more information about the programs that interest you:

1. Talk to other teachers. You probably work with other teachers who have completed advanced online degrees. Ask them about their experience: Where did they go? Were they satisfied with the quality of instruction? How did online instruction work for them?

2. Check out college guides. There are many guides published with reviews and statistical information on both online and offline programs. Thomson Peterson, Fiske and U.S. News and World Report are a few to get you started. These guides give you impartial information on class size, student demographics and other information you might not get from admissions.

3. Talk to recent graduates. Admissions officers are usually happy to put you in touch with recent graduates from their university but if you can, try to speak with someone not recommended by admissions. They can give you unbiased information about the program.

4. Speak with a professor. Speaking with a professor can give you a better sense of whether the program is a good match for you than speaking with an admissions officer.

   
What if I miss the application deadline?

Getting a head start before you are accepted

Did you know that many universities will allow you to take a limited number of graduate courses in geographic information systems before you are formally accepted to their programs? If you've missed the application deadline, need more time to get financial aid together or just aren't sure whether the program is for you, check with the admissions office to see if you can take a course while you're waiting. The surprising answer is often yes, and the courses may count towards your eventual master's degree in geographic information systems. You may also want to consider taking a few undergraduate-level courses during this time to bring your skills up to date or complete requirements for the geographic information systems program for which you've applied.

   
What will I learn in an online Adult Education program?

Online Adult Education program classes

Adult learners face a different set of challenges than younger students. Some may have been out of school for many years and are intimidated by the thought of returning. Some may have limited technical and computer skills compared to their younger counterparts. A quality online Adult Education degree will provide you with a background in understanding these problems and tools to overcome them. Adult Education degree candidates can expect to learn about the history of Adult Education, how to plan programs that address the special needs of adult learners and how to conduct research on Adult Education problems and issues. Many online Adult Education degree programs place special emphasis on distance education methodology and techniques for offering online courses since more and more adult learners are choosing to further their education in this way.

   
How can I save money on the software I need to take an online course?

Buying software for an online course

The courses you take for your Master's degree in oil and gas engineering management may require you to purchase software. Did you know that if you have a valid student ID from a college or university, you are entitled to purchase educational versions of most popular software at a reduced cost? The discount can be significant. For example, Microsoft Office Professional 2003 carries a list price of $499.00, but the educational version costs only $189.98. That's more than a 50% discount. The educational version of most software packages is fully functional and have no expiration date. Some companies allow you to use the educational versions of their software for commercial use, but most need to be upgraded to a professional version before you can legally use them in any money-making capacity. Microsoft, Adobe, Corel, Intuit and Macromedia all offer educational versions of most of their software along with many other companies. Students pursuing an online master's degree in oil and gas engineering management can purchase educational versions of software at online stores (such as JourneyEd), from the manufacturer or at their university bookstore.

   
How do online MBA students get hands-on experience?

Hands-on experience for online MBA students

One of the challenges online MBA students face is access to hands-on experience with real companies. Internships, on-site case studies and visits with executives not only give students the chance to experience corporate life, they also create valuable networking opportunities. Many MBA programs offer short residential programs to their online students in order to give them a similar experience to students who earn their MBA on campus. A residential program might consist of a one-to-two week mini-internship with a major company, a series of workshops conducted by business leaders, or participation in a group project with your fellow students. Prospective online MBA students should confirm that the online MBA program they're considering offers students the change to interact face-to-face with business leaders. Most online MBA programs offer basic information about these opportunities on their websites. To get more information, ask an admissions representative if there is a graduate of the program that you can speak with who can give you first-hand information about his or her experience with the residential programs.

   
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