Earning a masters degree online has never been easier. The recent and rapidly growing industry of online higher education has resulted in an explosion of available programs and degrees offered by a variety of competing (and competitive) online universities and colleges. So why is the process grueling for so many? Frankly, I don't know. Follow the steps below and you will have your cap and gown in no time.

Ask your self WHY you want to get a masters degree online. This is an important part of the online college selection process, and the program selection process. It is the very first step. Do you need your masters degree for a raise? For a promotion? To keep you job? To stay competitive in your field? To change careers? When you have answer this question, make a list of characteristics you need to find in a potential program in order for it to fulfill the purpose for which you are pursuing the degree. If you do not do this first, you will certainly wish you had when you come to find out down the road that the degree you have earned (and paid for) doesn't qualify you for whatever you were assuming it would. Do this step thoroughly, or you will regret it.

Choose a program. Explore the websites of all of the online universities that offer a program compatible with your needs and aspirations. Eliminate from your list universities that do not offer the type of program you need.

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Choose a University. Now narrow your options by comparing each program and each school. Visit chat rooms and blogs to get a feel for the general attitude of students towards their university and it's programs and interface. Familiarize yourself with tuition rates as well as "resource" or book fees and other fees.

Get a job with the Online University that you have chosen. You will usually receive free tuition as an employee benefit, and depending on your previous job, you may end up with a higher salary. Higher education is quite expensive, but if you follow through with this step, you will save yourself around $20,000.00 in a year. Not bad.

Begin your program slowly. Online higher education is quite different from traditional higher education and traditional undergraduate programs. You will probably never meet your professor, you will be interacting daily with you classmates, and you will submit all of your assignments online. Give yourself time to adjust to this new format before diving in full-speed.

Learn how to write in the university's adopted format (APA, MLA, etc.). YOu will be doing a lot of writing. If you do not know how to type, you should plan for a time-consuming process.

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