Jennifer Poole is studying to earn her online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. She is a student at Colorado Technical University.
Jennifer chose to study online because the flexibility of online classes lets her spend time with her son. After earning her bachelors degree, Jennifer hopes to pursue a career in law enforcement and earn a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice.
I decided to pursue my bachelors degree in criminal justice online because I needed the flexibility to stay home with my son. I am computer savvy, as well, so logging in to class and finishing my homework online is a great option for me.
I chose Colorado Technical University for my bachelors degree in criminal justice because of my previous experience at another online school. At the first online college that I attended, I had very little interaction with my professors and I left before I finished the program.
A criminal justice degree is also a practical option for me since there are many local job openings in the field. In fact, I live within 40 minutes of several detention centers, jails and courthouses.
Colorado Technical University offers a variety of support services that I have used, including tutors, labs and comment forums. The help I have received from tutors in math and English has been particularly valuable, and my grades have improved because of it.
The math and criminal justice labs are interactive centers that give direct feedback over the web rather than in-person. When I submit my homework in the math lab, for example, the professor can see and respond to it right away. The math lab also has a tool that breaks down each problem and shows the best ways to find the answer. The criminal justice lab also has interactive features like tours of courthouses and jails.
Another resource that Colorado Technical University offers is virtual comments. The virtual comments function much like Facebook and other social networking sites. Students can navigate the comments to make friends, ask other students about professors or receive help with homework.
An online criminal justice bachelors degree entails the study of laws and procedures as well as how our court system prosecutes people who violate these laws. The degree provides a broad foundation for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the field.
My online criminal justice program requires me to complete general education courses and core courses in criminal justice. Some of the general education courses, like English, are just as important as the subject-specific courses because I will write reports and documents in just about any criminal justice job.
Although I find the coursework challenging, one strength of my program is the online format. It is very easy to stay in touch with other students and submit my assignments to the instructor for grading.
In fact, my only difficulty so far has been finding enough hours in the day to study and participate in class activities. My young son sometimes makes it difficult to catch the live chat events. Since the school archives any live exchanges, I can catch up on my classes when he is asleep.
My online classroom experience has been very positive. The professors and students interact with and encourage each other, which did not happen at my previous college. Most of my classmates are adults in their 30s returning to school like me. Some have already worked in criminal justice, while others are getting into criminal justice for the first time from other fields like accounting.
In terms of course materials and presentation, we use live chat events and e-books in our courses. The e-book is particularly convenient because I can print out only 1 or 2 pages if I only need to read certain sections for an assignment.
My most useful course so far has been my English class because it focused heavily on writing. In the criminal justice field, I will need to write clearly since I will do quite a bit of paperwork.
I feel the professors in my online criminal justice program are very knowledgeable. They have given me very useful feedback on my assignments. My grades have improved a lot because of the help I have received from my English professors in particular.
My professors in my criminal justice classes are also working professionals. If I had attended a traditional institution, I think I would have had fewer opportunities to network with and learn from experts.
I interact with my professors primarily through e-mail. They often respond to my e-mails within 4 to 5 hours, and I have always gotten very thorough answers to my questions.
The biggest thing I would have done differently in pursuing my bachelors degree online is research the schools more thoroughly. I wasted thousands of dollars at my first college because I failed to do sufficient research. I would advise students to avoid making my mistake. They should find out what the schools offer and see if their students have good things to say.
I would also advise students to prepare themselves for the online education format, which differs a great deal from campus-based education. While an online program is more flexible and gives you opportunities to network, it still requires determination and time management.