Online colleges

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Aug 16, 2008 10:46 pm

Greetings. (also posting this under the lounge, but this seems to get the most action). Been haunting the board for some time, but haven’t posted much. I’d like some opinions on online colleges, but you have to know my story first. Have been in the biz for 10 years (changed from discount broker to EJ about 4.5 yrs ago.) Doing ok - abt $35 million on the books, netting over $100k/year. Also, have a few rental properties (which are NOT paid for) but gross over $50k/year. I live & work in lower-middle income area in the country. So I’m probably one of the highest paid people in the county. So life is great for me (in other words, I’m not too concerned about getting a $100million book). However - I’m also VERY busy with family, kids, church, school, etc etc etc, and one of the things I want to do is get a Bachelor’s degree. I have 2 Associate’s Degrees, one in Pre-Business Admin. The Bachelor’s would likely be in Finance, economics, or Financial Planning. Potentially would get the CFP (which REQUIRES a bachelor’s degree), but may just go with ChFc, which I don’t believe, requires a bachelors. Anyway, I really live too far away from a brick-and-mortar college and have looked at several different online options. My long-winded question is: give me your thoughts on this. Do you think it’s worth it? Crazy? Honestly wouldn’t help my business at all, it’s just a goal I have; I may teach one day, never know. If you agree, which colleges do any of you have experience with? Let’s get something straight - I’m not asking for flames & ridicule. I’m asking for opinions here, so let them roll. Thanks.

Aug 16, 2008 11:25 pm

I think the CFP is the greatest designation, just my opinion.  If you have 2 Associates Degress, I think an online degree would be fine.  IMHO, if a client sees that you’re a CFP, he/she doesn’t care if you went to the University of XYZ or took classes online from the University of XYZ. 

  Bottom line seems to be this, worry less about designations and more about AUM. 
Aug 16, 2008 11:46 pm

I would recommend the BBA through the Isenburg School of Management at UMass.   You have the same professors as the live classes and you receive the same diploma as students in live class.   Your clients would never know it was online because the diploma is identical.   Not to mention, it's a great business school!   Also, I attend and can vouch from my own experience.    
Aug 16, 2008 11:47 pm

  If you're going to do it, do it as inexpensively and cheaply as possible.   You're right about ChFC - it does not require a bachelor's degree.
Aug 18, 2008 4:23 am

Renter: I do not posses any online credentials although I am an adjunct (part-time) faculty member at an online associate and bachelor level institution. Here are a few thoughts based on my experiences/observations:

-Online education is MUCH more accepted presently than say five years ago, especially ten. This is increasing daily.

-There are still some people that will discount your education for having been received online no matter what the specific circumstance. Less of the “not even close to being legitimate credential attitude” today and more of the “well, not as good as brick and mortar university.” This is lessening depending on the program.

-Many online programs are as close to diploma mill status as possible while many are becoming renowned in their own right. (Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Online MBA comes to mind.)

-Consider if at all possible an online program offered at a brick and mortar school. Phoenix and other non-profits that have only an online presence still do not have the level of prestige for their online programs even though their online instruction may be superior since it’s the specific focus of the institution.

-The CFP program (and many of the other perks that come with a degree) don’t really distinguish between majors at the undergraduate level. Pursue whatever you are interested in; film history or sociology qualify you just as much to begin the CFP program, go to law school, start a government job at a certain rank, etc.

-In addition to the UMass option listed above, you may want to also look at Indiana University’s online degree program in general studies, which to my knowledge will be fairly liberal in accepting your associates level work. Search other traditional schools if possible. Penn State is another traditional option with online presence.

-Consider “low residency” programs with an online component as well. While more common for graduate level work (Boston University, the Union Institute, etc.), many undergraduate/degree completion programs will require a short (one or two week) residency usually at the beginning or near the end of the program of study to get you used to the program, tie up loose ends, etc.

-Ask for a transcript review or evaluation after your initial offer of transfer credits. Keep in mind that depending on the accrediting body at least 60 credits must be earned at the institution granting the degree, the remainder of which may be transfered from elsewhere. Try to get as close to maximum credit for your previous work as possible.

Good luck in your search for an appropriate program. While many will not be right for you, I’m confident in your ability to find an excellent degree that will meet your objectives and be viewed favorably. Fill out several online requests for information but don’t be surprised to get a cold call from a recruiter! Apply to several programs and evaluate monetary and fit aspects afterward. Keep us posted.