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Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Is MacMurray College a not-for-profit, brick-and-mortar institution?

A: Yes, MacMurray is located in central Illinois and is a four-year, private, liberal arts institution. Learn more about us.

Q: When can I apply?

A: You can apply anytime! New students will start classes in August or January of each academic year. The RN to BSN program only starts in August because it is cohort-based. Advanced transfer students in other programs may be able to start off-cycle. To apply, use our online application.

Q: Is online education faster than the traditional on-campus program?

A: It depends. Full-time students will earn 30 credits a year by taking two courses every session, which is similar to on-campus progress. However, every term (comparable to the on-campus semester) has two sessions that are eight weeks each, which means one can earn individual credits more quickly.

Q: Can I take more than two courses a session?

A: We recommend not taking more than two courses a session as a general rule. Because all the courses are accelerated, two courses per session means committing to about 30 hours per week of work. Individual circumstances do vary, however, and some sessions may permit you to take three courses.

Q: Is online learning easier than traditional on-campus college?

A: The "easier" part of online learning is the time flexibility and convenience. If you have a full-time job, are a full-time parent, or cannot attend school on a physical campus for other reasons, then online learning might make it easier for you to attain your degree. However, MacOnline is academically rigorous, just like our on-campus programs. Our 8-week format means you are doing a lot of work in a short amount of time. It will be a challenge, but it will be worth it!

Q: What kind of academic work should I expect?

A: Online college at MacMurray is academically equal to our on-campus courses. You should expect to do a lot of reading, online research, specific projects, assignments, online discussion participation, and research papers. You are a college student. The main difference is that your classroom comes to you, wherever you are.

Q: How much time do I have to spend on the computer?

A: The time you spend in "class" varies by individual; whether you take one or more courses at a time; and the amount of reading, homework, and other assignments that the instructors require. You should plan on 15-18 hours per week on coursework for every 3-credit hour course that you take. Most of the time logged in to the online classroom is spent participating in the discussion boards with your classmates. You should check in with your class at least 5 out of 7 days of the week to stay caught up.

Q: How do I know if online learning is right for me?

A: If you are comfortable with a computer, are self-motivated and can work independently, want to get your degree but cannot go to a physical college campus, and have reliable access to the internet, then online learning may be right for you. The rigor of the classes is comparable to on-campus. The 8-week sessions may be more convenient to help plan around the rest of your life. Sit out a session if needed.

Q: Do I have to be a "techie" to take online classes?

A: You should be proficient enough with the computer to handle basic word processing, easily contribute to online discussion threads, and navigate the internet. You do not have to be a computer guru, but you might be by the time you are done with our online programs! In fact, the first course you will take is our Technology in the Workplace course which will introduce you to our online structure and give you the basic skills with Microsoft Office applications, which you can put into practice immediately for class assignments as well as on the job.

Q: Do I have the right computer equipment?

A: See our technology requirements for a successful online experience. You must have a computer other than your phone; taking a whole class on a phone is a very uncomfortable experience, although doing a quick check-in with a class may be feasible on a phone.

Q: Once I'm accepted, then what?

A: You will be issued a student ID number, email account, and be set up with our My portal system, which connects you with the campus community so you can finish up the financial aid process and take care of other business affairs. The MacOnline program will register you for your courses and tell you how to access your schedule. You will be able to log in to Moodle where you will find your courses, and you'll be ready to go! Courses will typically be opened in Moodle the weekend before they start.

Q: How do I sign up for classes?

A: The MacOnline program does block scheduling. That means students are assigned classes based on their needs with few choices. The benefit to the student is passing all your classes means you will graduate because the classes assigned are the classes you need. If you wish to discuss your planned classes or a schedule of courses, then please contact your advisor. If you wish to change from full-time to part-time or vice versa, take an extra course during a session, or otherwise modify the assigned courses, then please contact your advisor.

Q: What is the online calendar like?

A: The MacOnline academic calendar has three terms: Fall, Spring, and Summer, just like on campus. The Fall and Spring terms have two 8-week sessions. The Summer term has one 8-week session. Breaks occur between all terms. There is no break between sessions in a single term.

Q: What is the difference between a "term" and a "session?"

A: Each course is 8 weeks long and belongs to a specific session. Each term has one or more sessions. For example, you may take global business in Fall term, Session 1 and take Advanced Argumentation in Fall term, Session 2. The three terms match the on-campus terms with Fall (term 1), Spring (term 2), and Summer (term 3).

Q: What is the online "classroom" like?

A: MacOnline currently uses Moodle, which serves as the online "classroom." When you log in, you see everything you need to participate in the course. The instructor will post the syllabus, the learning outcomes, the assignments, expected due dates, and anything else you need to know.

There are discussion threads where you will communicate with your instructor and classmates. This important aspect of e-learning provides a dynamic and exciting interaction each week. Responding to weekly prompts, you will learn from each other's life and work experiences, share and debate ideas, and demonstrate your knowledge of the given topics. This is a very important part of the online experience. Not only will it challenge you to think and communicate, you will get to know your classmates quite well throughout the program, which fosters excellent friendships and networking relationships.

Your instructor will be active in the online classroom to guide discussions, answer questions, and encourage you as you work toward your educational goals.

Q: What about graduation?

A: As graduation approaches, you will be prompted to file an application to graduate, a special form available on My All students must file a form to officially graduate. The MacMurray College commencement exercises take place on campus in May. We happily invite our online students to participate in graduation if they are able to travel to campus. If you finish your course work earlier during the academic year, that's okay; we will gladly see you in May. If you cannot attend graduation your diploma will be mailed to you.

Q: Will my diploma and transcript say "MacMurray College" or "MacMurray College Online?"

A: Your diploma and transcript will say "MacMurray College." There is no reference to online study on these documents.

Q: Is this program accredited?

A: Yes. MacMurray College is fully accredited with the Higher Learning Commission. The RN to BSN program is accredited by CCNE. More details are available on our accreditation page.

Q: How do I know this is a quality education?

A: We make every effort to ensure that our online programs meet best practice standards for educational quality and design. On-campus full-time faculty develop online curriculum, have the same general education learning outcomes, and ensure that the MacMurray College values are infused into every aspect of the online programs.

Q: What student services are available to me as an online student?

A: Most of our on-campus services are available to our MacOnline students, including tutoring, library services, and disability services. You may email any of our offices for help at any time. Our on-campus offices will respond to email requests from online students during our normal operating hours, which are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT. For a list of our offices, see the department directory.

Our Center for Learning Excellence offers tutoring and assistance with writing. You may submit research papers for proofing and recommendations for revisions.

You will have access to all of our online databases in our library for researching material for your papers and assignments. Our library has thousands of electronic resources, including electronic books, government documents, journal and newspapers articles, online references, and streaming videos. Our helpful staff is available by chat during normal operating hours.

Our student-centered philosophy is just like our on-campus college culture: we value individualized attention, with personalized service. Our friendly staff and faculty are interested in your success. As an online student, you will be valued as an individual, and every effort will be made to help you complete your degree.

Q: Will I get a student ID card?

A: Yes. As part of the admissions process, you will email a photo and other information to us and a student ID will be mailed to you. Your photo should be a jpeg photo "headshot" of you against a white/neutral background. The ID will have a bar code/library card number on the back which will grant you access to our library databases.

Q: Will all of my previous college credits transfer?

A: If you are transferring, you are required to submit official transcripts from all previous colleges attended. Your transcripts will be evaluated. In general, transfer credit is awarded for courses that earned a grade of C or better (on a 4.00 scale), were completed from a regionally-accredited postsecondary institution in the United States, and are regular college-level courses (not remedial, highly technical, or vocational).

A maximum of 60 transferable community college credits may be awarded, and a maximum of 90 transferable credits may be awarded if they are from a 4-year institution.

International students may receive transfer credit for coursework taken outside the United States. The prospective student must provide a course-by-course translation of foreign transcripts prepared by a US-based credential evaluation agency. Further information may be obtained from One-Stop Student Services.

The final 30 credit hours of your degree must be completed at MacMurray College.

Q: How much does MacOnline cost?

A: Tuition is per credit hour only, with no additional fees. See our tuition costs. There is no application fee.

Q: Can I get financial aid?

A: Yes. Government grants or loans are available for online students within the United States. You should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1 of each year. One-Stop Student Services will assist you with this process. Refunds of excess financial aid will be issued once each term (during the 1st and 4th sessions). Excess financial aid may be used for books. Visit our Financial Aid web pages.

Q: Are scholarships available?

A: Online students may obtain scholarships from private sources to help pay for tuition. Students are responsible for researching and applying for these opportunities. Institution scholarships from MacMurray College are not available for our online programs.

Q: When will I get a bill?

A: The business office will issue bills 2 to 3 weeks prior to the payment due date. Payment plan options are available on My

Q: Can I take a session off if necessary?

A: There may be a time when you need to take a session off but plan to return to the program. Just be sure to communicate with us to avoid disruption with your financial aid and so we can help you plan to complete your educational goals.

Q: How can I stay connected to MacMurray College after I graduate?

A: You will be pleasantly surprised at how connected you will feel to Mac and other students as part of an online education community. You will get to know Mac faculty and students, and they will get to know you. As a MacMurray College graduate, you will be a proud member of the MacMurray Alumni Association, an international body of graduates and former students who represent MacMurray's proud heritage. See more about the Alumni Association.

Q: How can I contact you with more questions not answered here?

A: Feel free to call our Online Degree Programs office toll free at 800-252-7485 or 217-479-7116 or email us.