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Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

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15 Questions To Ask Before Enrolling In An Online University

Doing your homework before you enroll can make your educational experience more valuable, saving you disappointment and dollars.

December 22, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

11. What Is the Quality of the Curriculum?

You want to see a strong variety of courses in your given field. Can you specialize in different aspects of your field of study? Do some research and find out.

12. Do I Have to Partner With Other Students on Class Projects?

Hell is other people. This is especially true when your grade depends on people who don't care as much about your grade as you do. Just about every college graduate has had the experience of getting partnered with a slacker. In an online education program, you may get partnered with someone five time zones away, who may or may not be a slacker. Avoid partners, if at all possible.

13. Who Can Proctor Your Exams?

Some online education programs require exams to be proctored. This prevents cheating, and it gives the student someone to ask questions about the test. Find out who is eligible to proctor your exams. Will you have to pay for proctoring? If so, how much? How often?

14. Is the University's Software User-Friendly?

Just about everyone who has ever earned a college degree can tell you horror stories of professors who didn't speak English. The online equivalent of this is educational software that's difficult to use. Ask if you can try it out. You're going to be living with it for the next four years or more so make sure you can live with it.

15. Does the School Offer Tech Support?

You are taking your courses online. That means that sometimes your computer will figuratively stick its tongue out at you and say, "Not today, chump." Like computers are prone to do. When that happens and you've got a paper due in the next hour, you're going to need help. Look for a school that has 24-hour tech support. "We have the best technical support people," says Franzi Walsh, associate dean of criminal justice for the University of Phoenix. "They are very supportive, and it's nice to call them."

Online Degree Programs:

American Military University

Bellevue University

Bethel University College of Criminal Justice

California Coast University

California University of Pennsylvania

Columbia Southern University

DeSales University

Drexel University Online

Henley-Putnam University

Jones International University

Keiser University

PACE University

Nova Southeastern University

University of Maryland University College

University of Phoenix

Waldorf College

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