Going to school as a parent or while pregnant can seem daunting at first, but there are many options available to make school affordable, convenient, and flexible in both time and location. School may also seem pointless or overwhelming, but the long-term benefits will reward you for your work. Online school is an option with endless opportunities, not only for college students, but also for those finishing up high school.
In fact, there are free online public school options for students who have not yet completed high school. OnlineSchools offers a compilation of online high schools across the United States, with a breakdown of each school and how to learn more. Many of these online high schools are public schools, which means they offer the same schooling as traditional public schools where you receive education from state-licensed teachers, you receive a high school diploma upon completion, and you receive education free of charge. The major difference is that the work can be completed at any time throughout the day. There are other advantages to online school, such as that the student receives individualized education.
The options for online school are endless for both universities and community colleges. Different programs vary in the requirements—some requiring the student to be physically present for certain exams—but many others are completely remote. Three major advantages of online college are the flexible hours, the low cost, and the accessibility to colleges physically far away.
The flexible hours of online college allow you to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree even when you have little to no free time throughout the day. When taking online classes, you can do the work and take exams whenever you have a small amount of free time, whether it is early in the morning or late at night. And also with many online courses, you can complete as much of a segment of a given class as time allows for, unlike traditional school where you have to be physically present for a given hour or more each week.
Online college is also convenient as the location is simply limited to wherever there is internet access. You can attend school at home, the local public library, or wherever else you can concentrate best. This saves time and money as you do not have to physically relocate to be close to a given college. Online school also saves you from a sometimes lengthy commute.
Another important advantage of online schooling is the low cost compared to traditional colleges. The cost of attending school is rising—and so is student debt—which makes online school not only a more convenient option but also easier on the purse strings. Added onto the significantly lower price tag are many opportunities for scholarships and grants that are not limited to those studying at traditional colleges but are also available for online colleges as well. Many grants and scholarships are based on financial need and, unlike loans, do not need to be repaid at a later date. Also, many individual colleges offer several scholarships based on need. There is a plethora of options for scholarships and grants available for online students to be found from many different organizations.
Also there are specific grants available for single mothers, minorities, and low-income students. These grants include not only federal and state aid but also private foundations. Soroptimist, for example, is a private organization that offers grants specifically for women who are the primary financial support for themselves and their dependents and who are working to earn an undergraduate degree or are in a vocational training program. One of the most widely used grants for low income students, the federal Pell Grant, is based primarily on financial need and it is available for those attending online colleges. These are just two examples of grants, but CollegeScholarships.org has a detailed explanation of different grants and scholarships available all types of students.
One does have to be careful when selecting an online college though to make sure it is accredited, but Guide to Online Schools contains a database of accredited online universities, which eases the search. They also give a breakdown of all the universities, showing both the price and all degrees that are offered. The Department of Education also offers guidelines on how to avoid becoming a victim of a scam or identity theft while looking for financial aid or grants.
Online schooling is an excellent option to work toward a degree, which will open up many career paths. The flexible hours and remote location of online schooling allow you to go to school and obtain a degree while pregnant or busy raising young children.
By Meagan Devlin