Go Back to School Online

Whether you want to earn a degree, acquire new job skills, or just broaden your mind, turn on your computer and you'll find a worldwide web of information at your fingertips.
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Explore Your Interests

Let's face it: Spending hours in crowded lecture halls and commuting to a college campus just aren't options for most working women. But that doesn't mean you have to abandon your dream of getting a degree. Sign up for online classes and you can complete your course work at your convenience and at your own pace -- all while keeping your day job.

Demand for this appealing alternative has exploded: Of the more than 3 million Americans over 35 who are enrolled in degree-granting schools, nearly a third do some of the work off campus. In response, colleges and universities have begun offering an ever-wider array of online curricula and courses. You can earn degrees as diverse as an associate's in healthcare administration, a bachelor's in medieval philosophy, or a master's in public policy, largely from the comfort of your living room. Increasingly, even fields that require on-site training -- such as nursing, physical therapy, and teaching -- allow you to do most of the work online.

Genevieve Howard, 39, received her master's in education from the University of Missouri last May. Her focus on educational technology led to her current job of managing some 22 Web sites for the university. "I liked my old job as an event planner, but I was in my mid-30s and thought, Do I really want to do this another 30 years?" she says. Howard had always been interested in technology, and two friends who'd completed online master's degrees recommended that she look into it. A working mom, she took all but one of her courses online, which allowed her to do the bulk of her studying at night and on weekends. "My son was 8 when I started the program, and I was already apart from him all day long," Howard recalls. "This way, we could be together in the evenings and I could pick my own time to do schoolwork. It would've been much harder on my family if I'd had to attend classes." Howard earned her master's degree in just over two years.

Among online education's biggest boosters is Robert Franek, vice president of publishing for the Princeton Review college and grad school guides. "It's no longer a class of 15 students sitting around one faculty member," he says. "Think of the diversity of ideas, backgrounds, and ages you get. That really adds to the depth of learning!"

Continued on page 2:  What You're Getting Out of It

 

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