Self-Assessment for Distance Learners

Twenty-first century students have many choices when it comes to college. From traditional brick-and-mortar universities to hybrid and online courses, selecting the right program can be tricky. With improving technology, online programs are increasing, and though they are an excellent option for students seeking flexibility and cost savings, web-based classes are not for everyone. Online programs require independent work, discipline, and motivation. The following self-assessment tool is designed to help students determine if an online program is right for them.

Check only one box for each question. Be sure to calculate your score after each section to see how you’re doing.

Learning Style and Environment

  1. Do you have access to a computer with an Internet connection?
  2. How capable are you of handling files and documents on a computer?
  3. How often do you use the Internet to do basic research and manage e-mail?
  4. Do you need supervision to complete tasks?
  5. Can you learn new concepts and ideas independently, either by reading assigned materials or by conducting your own research?
  6. Are you comfortable writing and taking essay exams?
  7. Are you adept at taking objective tests with true/false, matching, and multiple-choice questions?
  8. Do you usually participate in classroom discussions?
STOP! Check your learning style/environment score before continuing on to the next section.

Section Score:
Score 20-24Your learning style will best be served by a traditional in-class experience. Check out ways to prepare for your college program.
Score 14-19You possess many of the skills and resources needed to succeed in an online program, but, depending on the material, you may benefit from a more traditional in-class experience. You may want to consider a hybrid program.
Score 8-13You have the qualities and personality to meet the demands of an accredited online program. When choosing a school, it is important to do your research at respected sites like U.S. News & World Report.

College and Career Goals

  1. Are you goal-oriented?
  2. Have you been a good student in the past?
  3. Do you enjoy the process of discovering new and useful information in a class?
  4. Have you always wanted to go away to college and live on campus?
  5. Complete this statement: “I want to start taking courses immediately…
  6. Do you need additional training or an advanced degree in order to advance your career?
  7. Do you prefer activities, classes, and careers that involve a great deal of hands-on experience, as opposed to independent reading and research?
  8. Do you want to develop a network of friends and colleagues from among your college classmates?
STOP! Check your college/career goals score before continuing on to the next section.

Section Score:
Score 20-24A brick-and-mortar college would best suit your goals.
Score 14-19You may benefit from clarifying your goals. Read more about how to decide.
Score 8-13Your goals align perfectly with attending an online program. Learn more about choosing the school that is right for you.

Current Financial Situation and Schedule

  1. Can you attend classes and take tests on campus throughout the semester?
  2. Can you dedicate the time equivalent of twice a course’s credit hours (for example, six hours for a three credit hour class) each week to class work, homework, and study?
  3. Do you enjoy working or studying at unconventional hours?
  4. What happens when you procrastinate?
  5. Are you able to stay on task and gauge your progress without an instructor or supervisor’s assessment?
  6. Do you need to work full-time while attending school?
  7. Can you use the GI Bill or other programs for veterans to help pay for college?
  8. Are you willing to take out student loans to pay for college expenses you cannot otherwise afford?
STOP! Check your financial situation/schedule score.

Section Score:
Score 20-24With your financial situation and schedule, a traditional classroom experience will likely work best for you.
Score 14-19You may have trouble financing your education and you should consider researching funding options.
Score 8-13You’re ready to start with an online program.

Deciding where to attend college is one of the most important decisions of a person’s life. There are many different options available to today’s students, so make sure you have fully assessed your skills, resources, and goals before committing to a program.