Applying to an Online School
If you have chosen to pursue some further education with an online school or program, you are probably very excited. But you may also feel a little hesitant or nervous, particularly when it comes to the application process. Applying to any school can be a nerve-wracking, confusing, and time-consuming process. After all, there are so many different parts needed for a successful application. So, if you are beginning to apply for online universities and colleges, you may be a little confused about what you need to fill out, send in, or collect to complete your application package. This article will outline all the basics of the application process and will provide you with some great tips on how to make your application stand out from all the rest.
Before You Apply
Before you can apply to a school, you have to decide which online schools you would like to apply to and which programs or courses you would like to take. But how many schools and programs should you apply to? Well, there is actually no magic number. Just take into consideration the type of studies you would like to undertake and how many chances you would like to give yourself to be accepted into an online school.
Some people apply to only one school, while others fill out 15 or more applications. While one application may be on the lighter side, it is important to keep in mind that applying to an online school is expensive and time consuming, so don’t apply to too many. Try to choose five different online schools that you are interested in and divide these schools up according to how likely you are to be accepted. Choose two schools you will probably be accepted to, two schools you are likely to be accepted to, and one school that may be a bit more of a reach. This will give you a good balance and lots of choice when it comes to admissions.
What is the Application Process?
In order to enroll with an online school for a particular course, certificate, or degree, you first will need to complete the application process. The application is an integral part of beginning your online learning – after all, it is this application package that will tell your school about your qualifications, strengths, character traits, and educational interests. The application process involves a number of different steps. Some schools may require additional paperwork, tests, or interviews, depending upon their admission policies, so be sure to speak with a counselor from each online school before completing an application.
The application itself is one of the most important parts of enrolling with an online school. This application will contain your personal information, including your name, address, and qualifications, and will also specify the courses or degree programs that you are interested in. Most online schools will ask you to send in your application electronically, although a hardcopy may be sent through the mail to their head offices. Many online schools will ask for an application fee in order to consider your application – this is usually between $25 and $60.
Transcripts and Admission Tests
You will be required to send an official copy of your transcripts and admissions test results along with your application. Your transcripts are simply notarized copies of your academic achievements. You may be required to include high school, college, or university transcripts, depending upon the course you are applying to. Some programs require that you achieve a certain percentage on an admission test before you can be accepted. Common admissions tests include the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), the ACT (American College Testing Assessment), the GRE (Graduate Record Exam), and the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Be sure to ask specifically which admissions tests you will have to complete in order to apply for your program.
The Admissions Essay
Most online schools like to see a sample of your writing before you are admitted to a particular program or degree. Often referred to as your statement of purpose or letter of intent, this admissions essay describes your academic interests, your career interests, and your personal qualities. Typically no longer than 500 words, the essay doesn’t play a large role in admissions, though it can make all the difference if you are on the borderline between being accepted or refused.
Letters of Recommendation
Some online colleges or schools may require anywhere between one and three letters of recommendation with your application package, particularly if you are enrolling for an online masters degree. These letters are usually written by a previous academic advisor or employer who can attest to your knowledge, capabilities, and qualifications. Be sure to ask for recommendation letters early – it can take up to a month to write these letters, so provide your referee with enough time to write before the application date.
Some online schools will perform a telephone or personal interview with each of their applicants. This interview can give you the opportunity to describe your academic interests, your strengths, and character traits. It can also provide you with a chance to ask specific questions about the school you have applied to. Like the essay that accompanies your application form, the interview is generally not an integral part of the application procedure, however, it can help to secure you an admission if you are on the borderline.
Now that you are familiar with the major aspects of the application process, here are some tips to keep in mind while you are preparing your applications. These little tips can save you a lot of time and may make all the difference when it comes to being admitted to your online school.
- If you decide to file your application online, do not send a hardcopy to the school as well. This will only cause confusion. However, do keep a hardcopy for yourself as proof of your application.
- Put your full name and reference number on every sheet in your application package.
- Print out and proofread your application before you submit it. You would be amazed at how much spelling and grammar can make a difference.
- Don’t leave your application to the last minute! These packages take time and should be started at least two months in advance. Keep a list of all the schools that you are applying to and their application deadlines.
- Find out if you can use a common application for each school that you are applying to. Some online schools use common application forms which can be downloaded from a central website. This can save you a lot of time and frustration.