Whether you're already attending college full time, and looking for some more classes to take on your time, or you're a stay at home mom who wants to learn something new, taking online college courses can be a wonderful way to learn whatever it is you want to learn. If you're ready to begin learning something new from home, here is what you need to do to get started.
The first thing you need to do is find the right college. If you're already a college student, you want to try and stick with the college you're attending now. That way you don't need to worry about reappying, or credit transfers, or anything but the learning. However, if you aren't currently a college student, you've got some work to do. There are many colleges out there that are entirely online, as well as some that have classes in classrooms, and offer other classes online. depending on what class you want to take, it may take you a while to find the perfect college. Don't forget to make sure whatever college you choose has the class you're looking for offered as an online class. Just remember to be careful when dealing with entirely online colleges, and to throughly research the college outside of just their website before paying them. If you can, you probably want to take your online course with a college that's near where you live. That way, if you really like the class and want to continue to learn more, you can look into taking classes at the school building.
The next thing you need to do is apply. You can skip this if you are already attending the college, of course. Otherwise, you can probably apply online, or print it out and fill it out on paper. Some schools have application fees, so make sure you can pay them before you start your online application, or your application may end up not being sent, and you'll have to start over again. If you live near the college, find out if they have any open houses coming up. Some colleges will waive the application fee when you apply at the open house. If it's not too far from home, it's definitely worth looking into- application fees can be $100 or more for some schools! Plus, it never hurts to look at the school and talk to some students before committing to a school.
So you've found the school you're taking the class from, you've picked out the class, and you've applied to the school. What do you do while you're waiting to hear back? The best thing you can do is get yourself prepared to take the class. You're going to need to make sure you have a reliable computer, that you can use frequently without causing an issue (so not one that belongs to your spouse/ best friend/ neighbor down the street/ older brother), and reliable internet access. You also need to start moving things around so you can make sure you have the time. When you're taking an online class, most of the parts can be done whenever you'd like, but you need to make sure that you actually have the time to do them. If you're a stay at home mom, start getting everyone prepared early, so you can deal with any issues they run into. If you have older kids, will they be helping with the younger kids sometimes so that you can work? Can someone else make dinner? Test this all out early. If you're a social butterfly, let your friends know that you'll be spending less time with them. They should be supportive when you let them know what you're doing.
All that's left now is to get accepted, and start the class! If you don't get accepted to the first college you apply to, don't get discouraged, there are many other schools with online classes out there looking for you. Good luck!