When you have a question, it’s always best to turn to a subject matter expert for answers. In our blog series, Ask An Expert, National University staff and faculty members take turns answering challenging questions in their areas of expertise. This time we speak to enrollment counselor Kelly Kephart about online bachelor’s degrees.
If you’re thinking about returning to school or starting college for the first time, you might be asking: “Can you get a bachelor’s degree online?” You could be asking the question for many reasons: maybe you work full-time, stay busy with your family, travel frequently, serve as a caregiver, or simply lead an otherwise busy life.
Fortunately, the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!” If an online degree seems a better fit for your current schedule and obligations, you’re likely to find a program that matches your career interests. For example, Kelly Kephart, enrollment counselor at National University, says most bachelor’s degrees offered at her school are available as a 100 percent online option. From cybersecurity to public health, nursing to early childhood education, to name just a few, you can likely find an online degree option at National that will help you achieve your professional goals.
Benefits of Online Degree Programs
If you were to ask a few dozen online degree students why they chose this form of education, you’d likely hear a similar response from all of them.
“Flexibility is the number one reason our students choose to study online. Most of our students are working adults,” says Kephart. In fact, Kephart is one of those working adult students: she not only works in National’s admissions office, but she’s also taking classes herself.
Convenience is another benefit of online degrees. Not being tied to a physical campus location or committed to a specific block of time is appealing to many.
“Classes can be take taken from anywhere,” she says of the online format.
While classes and schedules vary from school to school, many online degree programs are designed in an accelerated format. This means that rather than take three or four courses over a traditional semester, you might take one class at a time for just four weeks. Kephart says this is how National’s program is structured. Focusing on one topic at a time is a valuable benefit for many students, especially those returning to the classroom after many years.
What Are Classes in Online Degree Programs Like?
Online learning management systems (the programs you use to access your course materials) have come a long way. This means that short of being in a physical classroom at a specific time, you’ll likely still feel a part of a small learning community.
“I’ve had a pretty good experience communicating with the students in my classes,” explains Kephart. “We even did a few group projects.”
Sometimes instructors may offer a live video lecture or real-time discussion, which adds value to online degree programs. Typically, these are coordinated around students’ schedules and, usually, if someone misses it, they can access a recording or transcript.
How Do Internships or Student-Teaching Work in Online Degree Programs?
Many degree programs require (or encourage) an internship or, in the case of an education degree, student teaching. Kephart explains online students will be able to search for an internship site close to where they live. For student teachers, she adds, “They’ll be placed in a school in their area.”
Kephart explains that at National, for some majors and programs, there’s a certain required amount of hours. So the internship may last for two of those four-week terms.
Can You Get a Bachelor’s Degree Online and Still Be Eligible for Financial Aid?
Most accredited colleges and universities offer financial aid to online students who qualify. Typically, if you’re attending school on a full-time basis, whether online or on campus, you’d be eligible to apply for financial aid. Kephart adds that the veteran-owned, veteran-friendly National also accepts the GI Bill.
Online Degree Programs at National University
San Diego’s largest nonprofit university, National University, enrolls students from around the U.S. and the world. Kephart says business and healthcare programs are especially popular with online students. However, with more than 100 areas of study, someone interested in earning an online degree is sure to find an option to fit their professional goals.
If attending college online sounds right for you, visit our program finder page to explore degree options today.
Thanks to Kelly Kephart for serving as our expert for “Ask the Expert: Can You Get a Bachelor’s Degree Online.?” Kephart has been with NU admissions for just over a year and was recently promoted to the counselor position from enrollment advisor. She helps train new advisors and helps center directors manage the online team. She’s also an NU student, now in her fifth class of the Masters in Marketing. On the weekends, Kephart enjoys sailing in San Diego Bay and spending time traveling or with family and friends.