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Looking to get a degree online. But also have a lot of questions & don't know where to go.

tru988tru988 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
(I know this isn't specifically about online degrees) but hi! I'm 20 and I am just now ready to pursue a degree. The problem is I have no idea what the process is. After my sophomore year of high school I moved to another state and did my junior year online (Connections Academy) and during that year I lost my parents. I moved in with my sister and I've been living with her since. I was 16 going on 17 but I was never adopted by her. I graduated in 2016 online with a local school. I didn't really talk with counselors about going to college because I was going through that trauma and I didn't think about my future. Anyways, now i'm motivated to become a medical interpreter. I speak English and Spanish and I'd like to get a BA online in something like Health Sciences (and also get certified through another organization after). I was really hoping someone could briefly answer some of my questions or know how I can get guidance after already graduating high school a few years ago.

1. Having been to 3 different high schools and 2 online, I didn't really get to know any teachers well. But I'll need letters of recommendation. Do I email some who I feel like I got to know the most, or who's class I exceeded in from each school, and ask them about writing one for me? What if I can't get them?

2. I will need to talk to a financial aid office about my special circumstances for FAFSA. I don't understand what the process is, do I fill it out first, or do I talk to them first? And do I fill it out after or before applying to schools? Do I apply for scholarships at the same time?

3. When do I know how much financial aid I can get? do I have to use it right away? I'm working to save up now and I would like to wait until next year to apply to any schools. I'm confused about the dates to sign up for FAFSA.

Thank you so much to anyone who reads this mess :x

Replies to: Looking to get a degree online. But also have a lot of questions & don't know where to go.

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 29,327 Senior Member
    You should start by visiting your local community college in person, and find out everything you need to know. All of that will apply to online and to live classes equally. Chances are that they even have an online division you can enroll in.
  • moooopmoooop Registered User Posts: 2,186 Senior Member
    A lot of degree programs don't require letters of recommendation.
  • buckeyeinbamabuckeyeinbama Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    @tru988, the FAFSA opens each year on October 1, so the application cycle right now is for those who will be enrolled in college during the 2019-2020 school year.

    If you won't be applying to schools until fall 2019, then you won't file your FAFSA until October 1, 2019. The sooner you file the better because at many schools, when the money is gone it's gone. This is truly a case of 'early bird gets the worm.'

    I'm sorry about your parents. If your sister is providing for more than 50% of your financial support then I believe her tax information is what you would use on your FAFSA. But I would definitely clarify that with the financial aid folks here on CC. There are very strict guidelines for claiming independent status, and it's typically age 24+ and/or military service.

    There's a great book by Jeffrey Selingo called 'College (Un)bound' that I read just this month; there will be a lot of useful information in there for you.

    The previous two posters are also spot on.
  • RoaringMiceRoaringMice Registered User Posts: 662 Member
    You are considered an independent student for the purposes of financial aid if you were made an orphan or ward of the court when you were between ages 13 and 18:

    For the letters of recommendation, you do reach out to old teachers for classes where you felt you did well. Remind them of who you are, what classes you took with them, the grade you got. They may ask you for some additional info at that point, but it's completely normal to do this. If you have a teacher who you feel you did get to know a bit, or someone you took more than one class with, that person would be a good one to target.

    If you want to start college in fall, 2019, you'll complete the FAFSA now. If you want to start in fall, 2020, you'll complete it in October, 2019. You can complete it before you even know which schools you plan to apply to, so do not wait on that. In fact, it's best to get the FAFSA in as soon as you can, as some aid is time-dependent.

  • BellaMorganBellaMorgan Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    Try to check Lumerit, I am seeing a lot of good reviews online.
  • SophleySophley Registered User Posts: 364 Member
    edited February 24
    Stick with online degrees from the big public schools like Penn State, Arizona State, Florida, etc. If they outsource teaching and curriculum development elsewhere, it’s not a true degree from that institution. Should be the same degree, taught by many of the same professors who teach it on campus.
  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN Registered User Posts: 3,219 Senior Member
    edited February 24
    Are you also considering schools that are not online? Perhaps there is one that offers what you want in your area. Maybe they have a few classes online and some in person- you might want to look around and consider all the possibilities. There might be better services offered for helping you get a job or internships with a school in your area.
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 8,459 Senior Member
    What state are you in? Are there any schools you can commute to from home?
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