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4 tips for enrolling in an online degree program

A person sits at a cafe table and works on a laptop, with a notebook at their right and a coffee mug to their left. Online enrollment services

Set yourself up for success with advice from an Oregon State Ecampus enrollment services specialist

By Olivia Bogdan
Oregon State University Ecampus
Enrollment services specialist

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Oct. 4, 2020. It was most recently updated on Jan. 23, 2024. 

Going back to school is a big commitment, both in time and energy. There are different aspects we recommend you research and plan for prior to enrolling online with Oregon State University Ecampus.

With that in mind, here are some helpful tips as you take the next step toward your future.

1. Think about your support system

Now is a good time to determine whether this is something you want to commit to and how this might fit into your life. Not only is it a big time commitment, but it is also a lifestyle change. You’ll be learning new skills, spending time reading and adapting to new systems.

Consider the following questions:

  • Do you have family members or a babysitter lined up for when the kids are sick and you have an exam?
  • Are you friends with someone else in school? Knowing someone who is going through a similar experience as you can be a great support. If you don’t know someone in school, prepare to reach out to classmates to form those connections early. Check out the Ecampus student and communities organizations to learn about different ways to connect.
  • If you’re employed, does your work support your educational goals? You can check with your employer about the possibility of a flexible schedule. Although Ecampus delivers programs online, there may be times when you have an exam or project due and need more time to devote to school.
  • Do your friends, family and colleagues support your decision to attend school? Having someone to lean on can be the motivation you need to persist in your studies. But it’s important to remember that we’re also here to help you throughout your academic journey. Once you’re admitted, our Ecampus student success team is available by phone, email and through the Ecampus Learning Community to help you along the way.

2. Prepare yourself for the application process

It’s important that you find the relevant admissions requirements and deadlines for the program you want to pursue, as these vary by degree program.

Oregon State’s application is fully online and does not need to be completed in one sitting. You can create your account early to find out what information the application requires and finish it at your convenience.

You’ll also need to submit official transcripts from all institutionally accredited schools you have attended. Depending on your school, it can take weeks to get your transcripts submitted. Plan ahead so that official transcripts don’t hold up your application.

Check out the how-to-apply guide to find links to the online application and information on how to submit your documents.

3. Do your financial research

Research the cost of college so you are aware of your financial commitment. Use the Ecampus tuition and fees calculator to get a rough estimate of that cost.

Once you have an idea of what your expenses might be, you’ll be able to budget around school more effectively. If you do not already have a budget, take time to learn about personal finance in order to best balance your academic and financial obligations.

On the Federal Student Aid website, you can find a wealth of easy-to-understand videos on topics ranging from budgeting to the financial aid process. Delve into topics you are unfamiliar with to learn more about what to expect and how to navigate through the system.

4. Get set up to study

You’ll want to make sure your computer has the minimum requirements to run Canvas, Oregon State’s learning management system. Check your computer to see if your device meets the computer and browser specifications.

A bonus of learning online is that you can take your studies with you wherever you have internet access. It’s necessary to think about how and where you’ll spend your time doing coursework. If you plan to study at home, set up a space that works for you, whether it’s a simple table with good lighting and internet access or a quiet desk in a room away from others.

Once you’re ready to take the next step, please reach out to us with any questions via phone, email or live chat. Our Ecampus enrollment services team is ready to help throughout the application process.

Discover how earning your Oregon State degree online can improve your career prospects.

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1 Comment

  • Enrique says:

    An online degree actually requires more discipline and time management than an in person environment. It allows for great flexibility. If you’re doing online because you think it will be easier, you’d be wrong. (I have recieved 2 online masters degrees.)

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