May 24, 2011 | pritter | Leave a comment Share this infographic: Source: Online Colleges Download Printable Version 8 Steps to Go to College Online (Expanded) You want to go back to school, but you don’t know where to start. We can help! Below is an easy outline of the steps you need to take to get yourself into the right online college. Step 1: Discover Your Dream Job and the Program You Need to Get It Figure out what you want to do. Do research on careers you would be interested in and talk to experts in the field. When you find what you like it is a really good idea to talk to someone in the career field you are planning on going into. Ask them what type of experience and education they look for in future employees. Figure out what area of study you should be going into and the degree program you need. Step 2: Decide on a Degree Level– Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s? What degree are you looking to get. Make sure you know the exact level of education you need to be eligible for your future dream job. This will eliminate schools that don’t have what you are looking for. Step 3: Get the paperwork in order Moms who want to enroll will need to get some things in order before they apply to any school. Forms needed: Copies of high school or other diplomas will be helpful. Copies of recent tax returns will be helpful also. Gather ACT and/or SAT Scores. (this will vary for each school) Don’t worry about school transcripts, the colleges get these on their own. Step 4: Get started applying for Federal and State grants and scholarships Most schools require new enrolling students have their financial support already in order. If you want to receive a grant or scholarship, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Go to fafsa.ed.gov to find the forms, filing requirements, and other valuable information regarding Federal Student Aid available .Most State scholarships are distributed through the schools, but they frequently require the FAFSA forms and supporting documents to begin the process. Federal Pell Grant Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Academic Competitiveness Grants College Scholarships Step 5: Find the best school for you… Make a list of things you need in an online school… ex. Short semesters, acceptance of transfer credits, class schedules, internship programs, networking opportunities, skills you need to learn etc. Read reviews on schools at Degreecentral.com. Find a school that carries the program you want to go into. Make sure it is the program you need to get the career you want. Locate and request information from schools with your program on Classesandcareers.com. They will send out your information to college counselors who will give you a call. Step 6: Talk to Admission Counselors Each school will have admissions counselors who can answer many of your questions about the school including: Tuition Costs Transfer of Credits College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits available to you and how to test for them Financial Aid Keep your list handy ask the questions from Step 6 to make sure they have everything on your check list. *Tip: Have the admissions counselor mail out all the information so that an easier comparison of candidate schools can be done at home. Step 7: Calculate the variables You will need to understand what time commitments are required for a degree program and should develop a plan for spending time taking classes, reading texts, participating in class activities and discussions, and taking examinations. Budgeting for tuition, fees, books, and other expenses should be done prior to committing to any degree program or school. Step 8: Make the decision and enroll in a school Once you have done your research, filled out financial aid forms, and budgeted for college….You are ready to go! Pick the school that meets all your needs and fits your lifestyle, talk to your counselor and get enrolled! Download a free E-book about going back to school! Learn more about the steps you need to start your education online.