The Corner College

With distance learning technology, “just around the corner” can be on the other side of the world.

Ever wish you had earned a college degree? Or a different one? Maybe it would impress customers or potential financial backers. Maybe you’d pick up competitive skills to advance in your field. Heck, maybe it would just boost your morale. Nothing wrong with that.

But ….

Class and work schedules conflict. The commute is too long. Who’s going to watch the kids? Maybe there’s no college within commuting distance that offers what you want. You’d have to move. College is out of the question, right?

Not so fast! Today, a respectable college degree is within your reach even if you can’t venture any farther than your office or loading dock.

Changes In Higher Education

A lot has changed in higher education over the last few decades. Good, reputable, accredited colleges now offer outreach programs that enable the self-employed, regardless of age or location, to earn undergraduate or graduate degrees at their own pace — at home or at their place of business.

Computer Campuses

Commuter colleges are giving way to computer campuses. If you have a computer and a modem, maybe a fax, you can attend an “on-line” degree program.

Unlike campus courses, all lectures, class discussions, assignments, and papers happen on computer. You log on when they have the time and energy.

Phoenix University (San Francisco) offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Management. Both are two-year “degree completion programs” requiring 50 transfer credits and two or three years of professional experience. The BSBA trains financial decision-makers. The BA in Management program trains organizational managers who are responsible for people, budgets, and organizational goals.

Television And Videotaped Courses

If “on-line” isn’t your style, some college degree programs rely on increasingly popular televised courses and videotaped in struction supplemented by textbooks and other course materials. Mind Extension University coordinates a variety of senior college and graduate programs offered through basic cable television, satellite or videotape by 25+ affiliated colleges and universities.

You do the same work as campus students, including exams and term papers, and your college credits and your degree are from the sponsoring institution. You just get to skip the commute — or the move. M.E.U. currently offers a B.S. completion program in Management through the University of Maryland; a B.A. in Social Sciences through Washington State University; a B.S. in Agriculture, another in Interdisciplinary Social Science through Kansas State University — to name only a few. New programs evolve constantly, so check with M.E.U. for their latest offerings.

Independent Study

College independent study is open to anyone. The Public Broadcasting Service offers a wide variety of credit-bearing courses in collaboration with local colleges. Students watch lessons on television, complete the reading, homework assignments, and papers at home, and meet with a college instructor every few weeks to discuss progress or take tests. PBS courses are widely accepted for undergraduate elective credit and community colleges should have information. These days many colleges offer some courses by independent study using this mixed format.

Taken together, the correspondence study departments of Brigham Young University, Louisiana State University, Ohio University, University of Alabama, University California, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, and University of Oklahoma, offer a phenomenal range of accredited college courses by independent study. These courses are done without campus requirements and courses are completed by regular mail or electronic mail.

You can get a good, well-rounded college education through these few schools. What’s more, Thomas Edison State College and Excelsior College (formerly Regents College of the University of the State of New York) allow unlimited transfer of accredited courses from other schools. This includes accredited correspondence courses.

With a little planning, highly respected two-year or four-year degrees can be earned from these schools entirely by correspondence! Both these schools offer help with degree-planning.

Academic Equivalence Credits

It is common these days for colleges to grant undergraduate credits for knowledge gained in non-academic settings. Academic equivalence credits are commonly earned by assessments of life/work experience or by examination.

Assessment of experience is based on documentation rather than examination. It often takes the form of papers, interviews by experts, or documentation such as military training records, jobs descriptions, licenses and certificates, and other palpable evidence of skills (e.g. published articles or books).

Credit by examination can be earned by challenging individual courses by examination. Ohio University offers credit by examination for about 150 college courses. Thomas Edison State College and Regents College collectively offer over 400 course and broad subject exams.

You can earn more credits by passing broad subject examinations such as the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) rather than challenging one course at a time. Some colleges grant 15-30 credits undergraduate credits for high scores on subject exams of Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

For people with lots of work experience or independent learning, academic equivalence credits can really speed up the process of earning a college degree. And dramatically cut the cost.

Not matter where you live, no matter what you do for a living, no matter what your current level of formal education, if you are interested in a college degree, one is as close as the phone, the mailbox, or a PC.