Common Master’s Degree Questions

What is a masters degree?

A master’s degree is the degree you can get after receiving a bachelor’s degree. It is much more specialized and a bachelor’s degree although not as specialized as a PhD. Generally a bachelor’s degree will give you a good general education and a basic working knowledge of a particular field area and often a bachelor’s degree gives you just enough information to enter a particular field. You learn the vocabulary and the basics in order to be able to get an entry-level job.

A master’s degree allows you to specialize within your field. It allows you to reach a new level of understanding and greater skill set than what is possible within your bachelor’s degree. A Masters degree is usually much more focused than a bachelor’s degree because there are generally no general education courses that you must complete. All of the courses in your masters degree are focused directly on your area of interest–to assume you already know how to write, do basic math, understand science, and all the other things that you learn in your Gen. Ed classes as an undergraduate.

A master’s degree generally requires a certain amount of original research. This isn’t anything merely on the level of what is required for a PhD. However a masters degree is designed to help get you into the research part of academics. This is becoming less of a trend nowadays than it was years ago. A number of masters degree courses are not tightly designed to lead to a PhD. They are focused more on getting your working knowledge of a specific area of your field.

Still you will find a great deal of what you are doing within your masters degree coursework is preparation for research and not just synthesizing others’ ideas but coming up with your own original ideas and understanding how to test them.

Who needs to get a masters degree?

Many people do not need to get a masters degree. A Masters degree is a great way for someone to specialize within their field and to show prospective employers that they have a high degree of formal knowledge as part of their skill set. While on the job training in real-life experience is very important–a Masters tree helps make employers more comfortable with the idea that the employee has fewer gaps in their skill set.

Of course it’s possible to have a masters degree and not be a particularly good worker. However, a Masters degree with a very good work history makes for a very compelling entry on your resume.

People who want to continue to advance in their careers are usually the ones interested in pursuing a master’s degree. People who are comfortable where they are at in our fine continue to work at their current job until retirement probably don’t need to pursue getting a masters degree in less they want for their job security and more options if they ever have to leave.

Can you get a masters degree while working?

Yes you can. There are a number of programs out there designed for people who are in the middle of their careers. This particular true of executive MBA programs where most of the attendees are working full time jobs in executive positions they’re often very demanding.

That’s not to say that it’s easy to get your message tree while working. They’re a number of strains and things pulling at your time when working a full-time job. Still it is possible in the number of people do it. For many people the demands of their job are minor compared to the demands of their family and social commitments. Taken together an active family life and reasonably busy job to make pursuing a Masters degree difficult or at least make it take a little bit longer.

Can you get a master’s degree without having a bachelors degree?

Know a master’s degree requires a bachelors degree. In your undergrad education you will take a number of general education classes that are important for laying a foundation for what you need at your masters level. Without this foundation from a bachelors degree you will find it difficult if not impossible to complete a masters degree coursework.

Some degree programs require that you have a bachelors degree in the field you wish to study. Others require that you have certain prerequisite classes if you do not have a formal bachelor’s degree in that particular field. But every program requires that you have a bachelors degree before you can be admitted to work on your masters degree.

What is an online masters degree?

An online Masters degree is a type of correspondence school that allows you to attend classes over the Internet. Unlike correspondence schools of the past the Internet allows for a very interactive style of education and many people find it very comparable to attending actual classes.

Online Masters degrees are handled in a variety of different ways. Some record lectures on actual class and you attended simply by watching the lectures. Others require you to do readings and then interact with other students online in forums and chat rooms. Still others are based around interactive multimedia components where you learn about the topic. Different presentation styles require different learning styles. It’s best to make sure it that a given colleges online programs suit your ability to learn before spinning her a deal of money on pursuing her Masters degree. Choosing a school that presents their classes in a way that matches your learning style can make the pursuit of your degree significantly easier and reduce the amount of time it takes to master concepts and do your homework.

How long does it take to get a masters degree?

Most masters degrees require two years of full-time study. Many degrees can be compressed into 12 to 18 months if someone is familiar with the subject matter and is willing to work very hard.

A number of programs aimed at nontraditional students who will be working full-time jobs are designed to take 3 to 5 years. Most programs require you to complete your course work within a 5 to 7 year. In order to make sure that your courses are still relevant in the marketplace when you graduate.

Does a master’s degree guarantee you a job?

No having a masters degree does not guarantee you a job. In fact, in some circumstances it might be harder to get a job with a masters degree because some people feel your overqualified. Overall however a Masters degree is a good thing on your resume and will allow you to apply for jobs at might not look at you otherwise.

It helps set you apart from many other applicants and can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace. Particularly when your degree is highly relevant to the area you want to work, it is very rarely a negative thing.

However, certain degrees from certain schools may have a very poor pay back time frame. If you graduate with $150,000 in student loans and expect to work in an area that has very low salaries you may find it difficult to get a good return on your investment.

How much does a master’s degree cost?

This depends greatly on what school you wish to attend. Some state schools will allow you to get a Masters degree for as little as $5000 in tuition. Some high-end executive MBA programs may cost $150,000 for a two-year program. The cost is highly variable. When looking at potential programs you need to try to match the cost of the program with the additional amount it will allow you to earn. You want to be very careful to get something that suits the job market you wish to enter. If you want to work at a high-end executive for a big company the $150,000 program might be a good investment even though it carries considerable risk. If you want to get a good solid education but plan to work in areas that may not have huge salaries, the $5000 master’s degree may actually give you a better payback than the more expensive degrees.

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How Hard Is A Masters Degree

I frequently get asked how hard it is to get a masters degree. Obviously there are many different answers to this question. What is easy for one person may be very difficult for someone else. Also different fields of study require different levels of work. Probably the biggest thing that determines how hard it is to get a masters degree is your background. If you have a really strong background in the area you wish to study you will find it much easier to get your degree. If you have very little background in the area you wish to pursue it can be very difficult.

Prerequisite classes

If you’re looking at getting some type of master’s degree, make sure you understand what classes are the pre-requisite for the classes you will need to take. A lot of master screen programs have a time limit within which you much to finish her degree when starting it. If you need to take some prerequisite classes in order to do well, make sure you take these before the clock starts.

You don’t want to get into a situation where you start to run out of time because you have to go back and take some classes that do not count toward your degree simply to finish the classes that do count toward your degree.

Other commitments

One thing that can have a big influence on how difficult it is for you to get your Masters degree is what type of other commitments you have. It’s a lot easier for a single person if you can simple equipped their job to go back and get a masters degree than it is for someone who must continue to work your job, has five kids, and has a number of other social commitments to deal with.

That’s not to say it’s impossible to get a masters degree during the middle of your career, but it is a lot more difficult. Online masters degrees can make a significantly easier because they offer a great deal of flexibility and when you do your work. You can get up early and watch lectures and do homework or you can stay up late or you can do work on the weekends. Online masters degrees are a lot easier to fit in between the other social commitments you have. This is particularly true when you’re dealing with situations where you don’t have a set schedule and you simply need to do your studies whenever you have some free time.

Sometimes it’s easier

One thing about mass in different than other degrees if it is a very focused. High school is very non-focused. You study a little bit of everything in order to get very wide general education. Your bachelor’s degree is much more focused. There is still a lot of general education involved but a certain portion of your classes are focused specifically on the area you wish to study. A Masters degree is even more focused. Most of the classes you take toward a master’s degree are going to be very focused on your area of interest. You may have some classes that are generic in terms of how to do research, that the bulk of your classes will be focused on what you are wanting to get your degree in.

For a lot of people this is much easier than getting a bachelor’s degree. It’s easier to study for things that you’re interested in and its use on a daily basis. The focus that’s present in your masters degree classes can make this a lot easier for you. Of course this is only true if you are really interested in the field you’re studying. If you’re simply getting a masters degree because you hear you’ll make more money it probably isn’t going to be much easier for you.

It is probably a little unfair to say it is easier. Most likely you will have to study hard. But your ability to retain information is going to be directly correlated to how interesting you find that information. So from that standpoint you may find it a lot easier or at least more enjoyable than studying something you aren’t interested in.

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Can You Get An Online Degree

Many schools are offering online degree programs for bachelors and master’s degrees. Generally you’ll find more high quality programs for master’s degrees because most schools feel their is a need for students to interact directly with faculty and other students during their four year degree.

If you are interesting in pursing an online degree, you need to be brutally honest with yourself and decide if an online college degree is really right for you.  It is easy to get enamored with the idea of sitting around in your pajamas doing course work only to find that you hate the solitude and can’t muter the discipline to study effectively in such a disconnected learning model.

That isn’t to say that online degrees are bad–online degrees have some significant benefits. You just have to really evaluate what will be required of you and make sure it fits your personality and learning style.  Some people may be capable of getting an online degree, but may find that it is 10 times more difficult than in person education because they thrive so much on the interaction with others.

Not every school offers online courses in the same way.  Some classes offer live video feeds where you can interact via a chat window with the teacher and other students while other schools offer little more than 80s style correspondence courses where the United States Postal Service has been replaced with email.  If you learn well from a lecture, you don’t want to be in a program where they are basically going to give you a book and say, “Good luck!”

In the end, your ability to obtain an online degree is going to depend on you personally, so make sure you take the time to fully understand what will be required of you and and think long and hard about how it will fit with your personality.  It also might be worth investigated how your online credits can transfer to a traditional degree if you decide the online option isn’t for you.

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Online Masters Degree Benefits

In this post we are going to look at some of the benefits of pursuing an online masters degree. First, let me explain that there are downsides to online education. Not everyone is cut out to get an online masters degree. However, we’ve touched on the downsides in previous articles, so here we are going to only focus on the benefits.

Location independence

The ability to take classes from anywhere in the world is a huge benefit. With an online masters degree you can choose the college and program that is best suited for your needs instead of simply the one that is located nearest to your house and that you can drive to. For people who travel a lot, an online degree program can allow them to get a degree when they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

You can literally take classes from any college anywhere in the world that offers an online option. You are no longer limited to your geographic part of the world. This means people in India can study at Harvard. A housewife living in Europe can take classes from Stanford University. And someone in rural Oklahoma can take a class from Oxford.

While you may be location independent with an online degree program, you still need to consider time zone issues. Most online classes are geared to cater towards students with different schedules, but still if you have enough for 12 hours and maybe more difficult to complete assignments on time and to take part in online interactive components of your education.

One thing that is often overlooked when it comes to location independence is the ability to live in a low cost area of taking classes from University located in a part of the country were living expenses are very high. You can put a lot more of your money toward your education if you’re living in a place where rent is $400 a month instead of somewhere where it is $1200 a month.

Flexible schedule for an online masters degree

Most online masters degrees offer a fairly flexible schedule. While you don’t want to get behind in your coursework, you can usually very when your intense study sessions are by doing them early by a few days or late by a few days and still meet your deadline. This is a huge boon to people who have other commitments outside of school. If you have a family, kids, a spouse or other personal and social commitments the ability to do your schoolwork around the important things in life is a huge benefit.

One of the biggest benefits of flexible schedule is the ability to work another job. You can do your schoolwork in the morning, in the evenings, on weekends, or even on your lunch break and still maintain a good work ethic with your current employer. When you don’t have to take yourself out of the workforce for a couple years just to get a degree you have two advantages. First of all you maintain the income that you would’ve lost during that period of time. It seems you don’t have to go into as much debt–if any, and you can continue to live a similar lifestyle to what you had before. The second benefit is that you have real-world experience to relate your education. Of course this only is beneficial if you are working in the field somewhat related to what you’re studying. Still this benefit of real-world experiences like an ongoing internship and can make the value you derive from your online education much greater than what you would get otherwise.

An employer might pay for your online masters degree

If you quit work and move to another city to get a degree, your employer will not pay for it. However if you get an online masters degree and study during the evenings and on weekends there’s a good chance your employer may pay for some or all of your education. In addition to being able to work your full-time job, immediately get your current boss to pick up the tab for what you’re learning. This means the education can cost you nothing in terms of actual dollars spent and, since you’re able to keep working, it costs you nothing in missed work opportunity costs.

Take a look at your employee handbook. You may find that there is some type of educational benefit already on the books that you can use your benefit. Many employers offer this type of benefit but very few people take advantage of it. Even if there is not an official tuition reimbursement policy, ask your employer anyway. If the degreed matches well with what your job is they may be very excited about helping you get additional training–particularly if you are taking time off work to do it.

Online masters degrees can be inexpensive

As you mentioned above an online masters degree may give you the ability to live in a part of the country where it isn’t as expensive when it comes to living expenses. You also may be able to continue your job so you don’t have lost income during that period. Another benefit of an online masters degree is that some online schools are significantly lower in cost than traditional institutions. Think about it. They’ll have to pay for classroom, blackboards, chalk, janitorial service, and a number of other things. Their electronic infrastructure scales to many more students much better than the physical infrastructure of classrooms.

The interesting thing about the cost of an online masters degree is that the quality of education does not directly determine the price. Harvard’s online extension school classes are often less expensive than classes from for-profit universities with dubious reputations. There are more expensive programs out there from well-known schools. However, take the time to look for the best value. You may be pleasantly surprised to find a very well-known school offering courses at a much lower price point than you would expect.

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Reputation of Online Schools

When it comes to choosing a college or university to get an online masters degree, reputation is everything. The value of your degree is directly related to the reputation of the university at which you study. When you go to look for a job people will assess your value based on their perceived value of where you got your degree. If the university has a strong positive reputation in their mind, your degree will be beneficial to you. If the university or college where you attended has a very strong negative connotations in their mind, your degree might actually hurt your chances of getting a job.

In actual practice the perceived reputation of your school will probably be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. A degree from a well-known ivy league school will probably push you toward the positive end of the spectrum. A degree from a for-profit college or university that has just been in the news being accused of operating like a diploma mill, will probably push their perception of you toward the negative end of this spectrum.

The real trick is that you can’t rely on the university’s current perceived value when it comes to preparing for your future. You have to gauge what the perception of the school will be in the future as well. Just because they have a good reputation today does not mean they will have a good reputation in five years. The longer you are out of college the less your degree probably matters. Still you don’t want to have a black stain on your resume for the rest of your life.

This is probably the biggest difference between for-profit and nonprofit universities. For-profit universities are likely to be more volatile in the way they approach things. Since they have the profit motive they may be willing to let the academic quality of their institutions suffer in exchange for greater profit. Obviously this is a good long-term strategy, but they wouldn’t be the first business to attempt something like that.

On the other hand nonprofit universities, unlike Capella University and University of Phoenix,  are often motivated by academic excellence–or at least by portraying the appearance of academic excellence. For a student this is probably a better option. Schools that are attempting to look academically sound are probably less likely to do something damaging to the reputation than schools that are attempting to make a lot of money.

I’m not suggesting that Capella University and University of Phoenix don’t care about their academic standing.  I’m sure that they do.  It is very important to them.  However, they have pressures that don’t existing in other settings and their focus on academic achievement is done for different reasons than it is at other non-profit traditional educational institutions.

The above argument is one of the main reasons you need to be very careful about the reputation of Capella University and the reputation of University of Phoenix. All the schools are well known, they are still for-profit institutions. The educational quality may be very good. The educational quality may vary greatly depending on who is teaching the class. Regardless people’s perception of your degree has very little to do with what you actually learned. It has everything to do with how they perceive the school. You want to make sure you’re attending an institution that will be perceived as highly reliable book now and in the future.

This is why for most people they should pursue a degree at a well-known, well-established institution–ideally one that has a strong physical presence and has for hundreds of years. The chances of Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, or Penn State being labeled a diploma mill are infinitely smaller than University of Phoenix or Capella University. The perception of the University of Phoenix is based on a very short period of time. The reputation of Capella University only goes back about 20 or 30 years. The history of Harvard University goes back a long time. The school was founded in 1636. That means we are coming up on 400 years of academic history with that institution.

The same thing goes for non-Ivy league schools as well. Their number of very good state schools that are offering online degree programs. Don’t overlook these. They often offer outstanding value–particularly if you’re able to in-state tuition. They have a strong physical presence, and in some cases you can take classes both online and in person–and great option for someone to want the camaraderie of a real-life classroom but can’t afford the commute time on every single class.

In the end each person has a different need when it comes to choosing a school. However, you should be very careful to make sure that the university or college you choose will allow you to meet your career goals and will not hold you back because of unexpected changes in the future. If Capella University or University of Phoenix help you reach your goals then by all means pursue an education there.

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Taking An Online Class

If you are working on an online masters degree this post may be useful to you. We are going to cover some of the things at you can do to help you succeed in an online class. There’ve been lots of things written on how to succeed at college but not very many of them are focused on how to succeed in taking classes online. It’s significantly different when you’re trying to study online than when you’re taking a traditional class that has the classroom, students you can talk to, and a teacher at the front room.

1. Keep a detailed schedule of your online class

First of all you need to be very careful that you understand the schedule. In an online classroom you can be easy to overlook when something is due or miss an important date. Make sure you have some type of calendar for your course work that you can write down anything that the teacher says is due. You don’t want to get in a situation where you accidentally missed something. In a traditional classroom you have other students to help remind you. You’re likely to run into them in class and outside of class. Most of us can remember a time that we went to a regular classroom and heard another student mentioned that they were studying for an upcoming test and it reminded us about the test which we had forgotten about. Those type of situations don’t happen in an online classroom–release they don’t happen as easily. So take very careful notes about exactly what is due and when it is due. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of the syllabus  with the schedule nearby so you know exactly what to expect when. Keep in mind that you’ll be juggling a lot more things than a college student living on campus. There’s a lot more to distract you. You may have your full-time job, family commitment, kids, a spouse and all kinds of other things that she’ll be doing at the same time you take the class. Don’t rely on your memory. Make sure you write things down in a way that you won’t forget them.

It’s a good idea to have some type of notebook that keeps track of everything you need to do. That way if you’re watching online video and the teacher mentions that something is due you have a place to write it down with all the other deliverables you need to keep track of. Just make sure you check this regularly for anything that is coming up that you might have forgotten about.

2. Follow on the directions

The second area we want to talk about is following directions. It’s amazing how many students in an online class simply can’t follow instructions. You got it. The teacher has hundreds of students are dealing with and many of them can’t seem to follow the simple instructions are given on how to turn in homework, how to work their way through their class, etc. This is got to be extremely frustrating for the teacher. It’s a breath of fresh air when they find someone that can actually follow the instructions they are given.

One of the downsides of an online education is that you are more of a number and less of a person to the teacher. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way but it is. The teacher is more likely to get more slack to somebody that they know personally was attending a class than someone who gave only receive e-mails from over the Internet. That’s another reason you need to be extra careful to make sure you follow instructions. Make sure you know exactly how the homework is to be turned in. When it’s to be turned in, what you need to be doing toward your coursework, etc. You also need to make sure you keep track of everything that is necessary for graduation. You don’t want to get to the end of several years worth of study only to discover  that you’ve missed some important step at the very beginning that will prevent you from graduating.

For example some schools have a residency requirement that you need to keep track of. Other schools have limitations on how long you can take the completed your greed program–if you take longer than five years you may have to retake the classes you took at the beginning. There are all kinds of little things like this you need to keep track of. Make sure you’re paying attention to them or you may be in for some unwelcome surprises right around the time you think you’re going to graduate.

3. Get to know your teachers of your online class

Third, you get to know your teachers. By making a little bit of effort to be more than simply a person acting in an e-mail you can establish a report with your teachers that may be very beneficial in all kinds of different ways. As mentioned before teachers are more likely to be gracious with someone that they actually know than someone who’s just an e-mail address to them. If you can make an effort to meet your teachers and person that’s ideal. For example if you happen to be going to the town where the university is located, you might make an appointment to stop in and see each of your teachers were 10 or 15 minutes. It may be wise to stop in and see the teachers and classes you plan to take as well just to say hello, get to know them, and possibly ask any questions you may have.

This doesn’t have to take a lot of time. You don’t need to occupy the teacher’s entire day. However just being a face to go along with the name can be very valuable for you. Most teachers are happy to meet the students that they deal with over the Internet.  A lot of teachers became teachers because they liked the interaction with the students, meeting them in person helps them maintain this interaction in a world where everything is done over the Internet.

4. Keep good records

You need to make sure you keep good records. Just because your classes are online doesn’t mean that everything is going to get recorded correctly. You need to have good records of everything. Make sure you keep copies of your transcript. It’s also a good idea to keep copies of your homework in case something gets lost.

One area of record-keeping that many people pursuing an online degree overlooked is the degree requirements. Often the requirements are listed on a webpage somewhere. Simply bookmarking these is not the same as keeping a record. You should print out the degree requirements and anything else that tells you what you need to do. That way the changes you have the printed copy to go back to to show them that you are actually doing what was expected for your online degree. For example some schools may change the classes that are required. Most of the time this isn’t an issue–they keep track of who enrolled when and make sure that you’re taking the right classes. However don’t rely on them to get this right. Make sure you have what you need to prove that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.

I can think of one example from an online masters degree I recently completed. Halfway to the degree I noticed that the options had changed. They now required that your first three classes be specific classes. You can just take the classes that you felt were most appropriate for the first three. Fortunately I have a printout of the original instructions and when I talked to the people in the office they said that they did not apply to me because I have enrolled previous to the new rule. It’s always better to make sure you have the documentation to prove what you’re doing is right than relying on someone saying that you’re an exception to the rule.

5. Networking with your online class

The fifth area we want to talk about his networking. One of the downsides of an online degree is that you may develop fewer networking relationships with your teachers and other students. You have to be much more intentional about the people you meet in maintaining contact with them. They can be very helpful to get the instant messenger IDs and e-mail addresses of people in the classes you’re taking. Keep up with them during the class. Sometimes just having someone to talk over homework with can be very helpful here it even if it’s just a matter of saying I found problems at three to be extremely difficult how bout you. They may say all I got was difficult Intel I read chapter 5 or something like that.

Your interactions with these people should go beyond the single class you’re taking with them. Keep in touch with them and see how they’re doing. When you finish graduation talk to them and see what their plans are. Get on some type of schedule where you touch base with them on a regular basis. These are people that will be diverse in their geographic location and many of them you may never meet in person. Still it can be very beneficial to have that relationship with them because you may be able to help each other significantly in the future.

They can also be a good idea to keep in touch with teachers. Sending each of your teachers a thank you note after graduation and letting them know about your plans can be a simple way to make the teachers day and also keep you in their mind.  You never know when an acquaintance will know about a great job opportunity or something else that can help you in your professional life.

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Capella University Degree Program

Like the reputation of University of Phoenix, Capella is a major for-profit University that you’re likely to encounter when looking at online masters degree programs or other graduate programs. Capella offers a number of different programs. They started offering degrees in 1993 and have done a pretty good job of presenting themselves as a higher class version of University of Phoenix.

Still, Capella University’s reputation isn’t probably as good as what they’d like. A number of people have complained that they started the class with Capella only to have a teacher go missing in action and then be replaced. Capella’s business model is to use almost exclusively adjunct professors. They try to get people who are actually working in the field they are stitching. Because of this there aren’t any full-time teachers.

Now one hand that’s good. It means that all the teachers actually have industry experience. On the other hand it’s not good because it means none of the teachers are focusing on teaching full-time. This is probably less of an issue for Capella because the classes are very tightly regulated. There is an approved syllabus and the teacher is more of facilitator than actually a teacher. That’s another complaint I’ve heard from a lot of students. They felt more like a teacher was being forced through a series of steps that like erection he doing any teaching. It felt like the teachers are more just there to help answer questions and keep things moving along than actually applying their expertise to the subject.

This makes sense because that’s how Capella’s business model is set up. They want to have a bunch of interchangeable teachers who have enough clout to teach the class but who are the focal point of education. Many people pursuing degrees will choose a school based on what teachers are there–that probably won’t happen with Capella.

The cost of the degree of Capella high. Many of their programs costing  more than equivalent programs offered online through Ivy League schools.

Capella has done a good job of doing is marketing to businesses. They allow businesses a discount if they become the preferred source for degree programs. So for example if you were to General Motors and want to continue your education and how is the program to recommend. This gives them a marketing advantage particular when working with large companies. I’m guessing that they give the large companies a significant discount in order to become the preferred source for education.

The reputation of Capella is important if you are thinking about getting a degree there.  What many people don’t realize is that when you tell an employer you went to Capella University, the employer is relying on the reputation of the school to determine if you will make a good employee.  Right or wrong that is the way it works.  If Capella has a good reputation, then your degree will help you.  If it has a bad reputation, then it won’t.  In some cases it might hurt you.  Obviously the actual reputation is likely to be somewhere in the middle and having a masters degree from Capella will (in most cases) be better than having no masters degree at all.

One simple test of a school’s reputation is to call up state schools and ask if you can transfer credits in from the school in question.  In this case Capella.  If Washington State University won’t let you transfer in credits from Capella, but will let you transfer in credits from Oregon State, then you may want to go to the school with better recognition.

Now sometimes the academic world is a bit different than the business world.  Schools may not accept credit transfer, but businesses may not care quite as much where you got a degree.  This is particularly true if you are looking for work at businesses that don’t have a lot of educated employees.  If the person you are interviewing with doesn’t have a degree at all, a masters degree from Capella will carry a lot more weight than if they have a degree from Harvard.  Reputation is relative.

When making a decision on a school, don’t overlook the perception of that school and how that school is likely to be perceived in the future. Capella’s reputation may be different in the future. Consider that many state schools are starting to offer online degree programs. If state schools start offering these programs that compete directly with Capella, it may change how people view Capella University.  On one hand, it might help their reputation. If all colleges offer online degrees, Capella University may look better because what they are doing isn’t different.  On the other, if colleges with a great academic reputation start offering online degrees, it may make people wonder why you went to Capella–particularly if Capella University is more expensive.

Capella University may be able to increase their reputation by upping their academic credentials of their teachers, but that seems unlikely because it would require a fundamental change to their business plan.

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Online Masters Degree Dangers

There are number of things you should be aware of when looking into online masters degrees programs. First of all the quality of education can vary tremendously from one school to another. There are number of very reputable institutions offering online masters degrees. They’re also a number of institutions with horrible reputation for offering online masters degrees. The bulk of programs probably falls somewhere between those two extremes. However you need to be very careful to make sure you understand what type of institution you’re dealing with. This is particularly true if you’re dealing with some unknown University or a for-profit university that hasn’t been around very long.

Some people don’t recognize an online degree the same as they would a traditional degree. You can minimize this danger by going to a reputable school. However still be aware that you may encounter some resistance to the idea of an online degree. Online masters degrees are probably going to continue to gain market share and it shouldn’t be too long before they become the de facto standard. However we aren’t there yet. Be prepared in job interviews to explain your course of study–particularly if you’re going to a university that has less than a stellar reputation.

With some of the for-profit universities you need to make sure that your online masters degree actually prepares you for the work you want to do. There have been several cases where someone completed the degree program from an accredited online masters degree program that was part of a for-profit school only to discover that–even though it was accredited–it did not prepare them to be able to sit for the exam is necessary to practice within their field of study. This is something you should be a little boy very easily by simply doing your homework and understanding your field of study. Just don’t take it for granted that having an online masters degree means you can automatically set for any necessary licensing exams. Make sure you actually do the work required to understand exactly what you’re getting and exactly what it will entitle you to do.

Another significant danger of an online masters degree program is that you may get into that and discover you can’t handle the work. Or possibly you can handle the work but it is very difficult for you to do it within the social setting of being entirely online. Most people overlook how important the social interactions are around a college experience. An online masters degree takes away many of the social aspects. If that’s the case you may want to have a plan in place for how you can transfer to a more traditional classroom experience. This might make it advantageous to take classes from a nearby university where you can actually attend in person if it turns out you need to.

Online masters degrees offer many advantages–particularly when it comes to scheduling and life study balance. However they are not without dangers and we’ve mention just a few of them on this page. Some of these dangers apply to any form of education regardless of whether it is online or not. It is well worth your time to think through exactly what you’re trying to accomplish and be proactive in looking for any potential problems that might prevent you from accomplishing your goal.

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How Hard is a Masters Degree

I’ve seen a lot of people ask how hard it is to get a masters degree. Of course the answer is “it depends”. Although that’s not a very helpful answer to most people. It’s actually the most truthful answer. There are a tremendous number of variables involved in getting a masters degree. What is easy for one person will be hard for another and what is hard for the other will be easy for someone else. There just isn’t a way to give a simple answer.

However in the interest of being helpful I’m going to look at some of the things to consider when looking at the difficulty of a Masters degree. For me personally high school is very difficult. I had to study a number of things I wasn’t very interested in and it required a lot of self discipline and concentration. When I got to college things are significant easier. I still had to take Gen. Ed classes but much more what I was studying related to things I was interested in. It was much easier to study for my undergraduate degree because the topics were much more aligned with my interests.

I probably worked a lot harder. Just because something more interesting doesn’t mean it’s easier. So in terms of how easy college was compared to high school, college was probably a lot harder–but it didn’t seem like it because it was think there was much more interested in.

My masters degree was more of the same. The master’s degree program is even more concentrated on the things I was interested in. This made it seem even easier for me–even though the work was long more difficult.

So you’re starting something that is very interesting to you you’ll probably find that a Masters degree will make it easy to study–meaning it will hold your attention well and you won’t have to spend a lot of time trying to force yourself to concentrate. You may find many things are difficult, but it’s much easier to do something that’s difficult and interesting than something that’s difficult in uninteresting to you.

I have had experiences in education where things were interesting and still extremely extremely difficult. This is often the case when learning something that is very very different than anything I’ve ever learned before. When there represents a whole new way of thinking about something I find it difficult to get my mind around. Some of the hardest classes I’ve ever taken her masters degree classes. So from that standpoint the work can be very difficult.

Still if you went to a decent school for your undergrad degree and studied a topic that was something more than underwater basket weaving, Masters degree work shouldn’t be too far out of your reach in less you happen to choose a very difficult subject or go to an extremely hard school. Chances are there’s a school somewhere that will be a good match for you and a course of study that will leverage your existing skills.

One thing you can do to help get an idea of how difficult a course of study is likely to be is to find out what the expected time commitment is. Many masters degree programs that are aimed at working adults will give you an idea of how much time you should expect to spend in class and how much time should expect to spend studying each semester. These are only rough guides. Your previous experience will probably have a lot to do with how long these activities take. However on average it should give you a pretty good idea of how much time you need to set aside. If you’re taking a few classes some may take longer in some may take shorter but she’ll at least be in the right range.

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Online Degree – Pros and Cons

Online degrees offer some significant benefits over traditional in-person classes, but there are some disadvantages.  In this post we are going to look at some of the Pros and Cons of getting an online degree and taking classes over the Internet.

Cons of an Online Degree

  • Poor reputation – Some schools that offer online degrees have a poor academic reputation.  In some cases, people will consider any online degree to be associated with inferior academic quality.  As more top tier universities start offering online degrees this is likely to fade, but the stigma may be there for some time to come.
  • Isolation – Many students find that online degrees leave them feeling isolated.  They don’t get the in person attention that they do with live classes and some people may find this very difficult to deal with.
  • Poor networking opportunities – Many of the benefits of going to a top tier school come in the form of networking.  Remember the whole adage, “Its who you know not what you know.”  Online degrees typically don’t offer the same degree of interaction so your networking opportunities are less than with a traditional non-online degree.
  • Expense – Some online degrees are much more expensive than their traditional counterparts. Strangely enough the most expensive masters degrees aren’t the best recognized, so you don’t always get what you pay for. Still the expense can be a downside.

Pros of an Online Degree

  • A short commute – How long does it take you to get from your living room to the room where you keep the computer? For many people the time spend commuting can be the factor that determines whether or not they pursue a degree–they simply can’t afford to spend a few hours each day in the car to try to go to school.
  • Flexible scheduling – Being able to work around existing family and work commitments can be a big plus when it comes to online degrees.  You can simply stay up later and go to class or study on a Saturday morning to catch up. Not all online degrees offer this type of flexibility.  Some require you to view classes live.
  • Not limited by Geography – Most of the time, people are limited to the schools that are nearby.  Either that or going back to get a degree means quitting their job and moving. Online degrees allow you to attend the school that is best for your needs–not just the one that is closest to your home.
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