College Learning & Resource Center

AC Online is committed to providing current and prospective students with the necessary information and resources to succeed in college and after graduation. We've talked to numerous experts and done extensive research to help students make well-informed decisions about higher education and college life, from academic support to health and safety. Check out the guides below for expert-driven information and tips.

Meet Our Experts

Academic Support

  • Accelerated Degree Guide

    Accelerated degrees can be a viable way to save time and money for motivated students who are ready to tackle their education head-on and get started in their careers sooner. Find out what to look for in an accelerated degree, who they are best for, how to get the most from an accelerated program, and what fast-track degrees are popular.

  • Cleaning Up Social Profiles

    With the growth and popularity of social media, platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter now play a large role in recruitment and hiring. Recruiters user social media to find qualified applicants, while employers and hiring managers use it to get additional insight on candidates before making a hiring decision. Learn about red flags to avoid and find quick and easy social media profile fixes to ensure your professional success.

  • College Admissions Ultimate Guide

    By the time a student begins the college admissions process in earnest, they’ve likely already spent more than a decade in education – moving from preschool or kindergarten to senior year. Despite feeling like a seasoned professional when it comes to navigating high school, applying to and gaining acceptance to a college is often a daunting process for students and their families because there is so much to be done. This guide will help navigate students and parents through the process of applying and being admitted to college—from that first visit to campus to those crucial acceptance letters and beyond.

  • College Student Writing Guide

    College Student Writing Guide Perhaps the only thing a college student does more at college than reading is writing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a biology major or an English major, most of your professors will expect you to write and write well. Even before then, you’ll be expected to craft great essays for your college applications, and if you’re looking to receive scholarships, there are more essays for you to write. The good news is, there’s plenty of writing help for college students. This guide offers tips, advice and resources for students of all writing levels and abilities. Anyone can be a strong writer in college, and this guide shows you how.

  • Complete Guide to Accreditation

    The accreditation process ensures that the education and resources offered by a college or university meet acceptable, pre-determined levels of quality. Attending a properly accredited institution is also necessary if one wants to qualify for federal financial aid. This guide helps current and prospective students understand why accreditation is important and how it works for brick-and-mortar and online colleges.

  • Degrees for Social Justice

    Dedicating a career to social justice doesn’t mean you have to become a social worker or an activist. In addition to roles like these, college students who seek to end inequality can make a difference with degrees in fields like law, communication, politics, education and human services—just to name a few. Learn about potential degree and career paths, specialized social justice programs and other resources for fighting inequality.

  • Degrees Working with Animals

    Degrees that enable students who care about the welfare and well-being of animals go way beyond the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. From agriculture management to zoology, degrees working with animals run the gamut and include business, biology, ecology, marine biology and more. This guide covers degrees working with animals, animal degree paths, and interviews with animal keepers from the Buffalo Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo.

  • Degrees Working With Children

    Students who are considering getting a degree that will enable them to work with children often gravitate to teaching, which is a great choice for those who want to make a difference in a child’s life. Look beyond teaching, however, and there several other degrees that those who aspire to work with kids can pursue. This guide offers a look at over two dozen of these degrees and offers the comprehensive steps students can take to reach their goal of working with kids.

  • E-Learning Guidebook

    The options for online education have never been so extensive and exciting. Nearly every college offers one or more degree programs online, while upstarts like Coursera and Khan Academy provide alternative learning paths. This guide walks new e-learners step-by-step through these options while giving valuable tips and insights for success in the digital classroom.

  • Green Degrees and Careers

    The environment and sustainability have become major concerns in recent years, with many businesses and organizations making a commitment to reduce waste and pollution, protect the environment, and embrace more eco-friendly processes. Likewise, individuals have become equally concerned and many want to pursue careers that have a more positive impact on the planet. This guide explores the most popular green degrees available at today’s colleges, as well as the potential careers graduates may pursue.

  • How College Transfers Work

    One in three college students transfer schools at least once before graduation. This includes students moving from junior college to a four-year university, switching from university to university, or transferring credits from the military or internationally. The following guide helps students with the transfer process from decision-making to getting settled at a new school, with scholarships, expert advice, and key resources.

  • Navigating the College Career Fair

    College career fairs can be found on most college campuses. Many students make it a point to attend, because they are a valuable way for future graduates to get a leg up on the competition by seeking out job opportunities before graduation. Students learn more about the companies they are interested in, and they have change to talk one-on-one with representatives of those companies prior to a formal interview process. It’s important for students to be well-prepared for the college career fair, and should know what to wear, what to bring and what to say. This guide addresses the details of the college career fair, including how to navigate it and the best way to approach company representatives.

  • Online Classes

    From high school to college courses, online classes are a great option for students of all ages to make up time in their degrees. Online courses cover a variety of subjects and help students make up a class that didn’t go well or the desire to graduate early. This guide helps prospective students with tips and resources for finding the right online course for them.

  • Online College Guidebook

    Students interesting in pursuing an education at an online college used to have few choices, and their choices were mostly limited to for-profit, completely online schools. The online college landscape has undergone tremendous change since then, and most universities offer some form of online education. Many public universities and several prestigious, private universities have jumped on the online learning bandwagon and now offer courses and entire degree programs online. With more choices than ever, students need to be armed with in-depth and comprehensive guidance on how to choose the right online college program. This guide offers expert advice, the most up-to-date information on MOOCs and tips on how to succeed in an online learning program.

  • Outdoor Degrees and Careers

    Working in an office isn’t for everyone. Students and job-seekers looking to spend their workdays outside can explore degrees and careers in fields like natural science, engineering, outdoor leadership and agriculture. Learn about the variety of outdoor careers available, what they entail and how to get them.

  • Plagiarism Prevention & Awareness

    Plagiarism isn’t limited just to lifting the written word; accidental plagiarism can occur when someone fails to correctly cite sources or uses images, ideas or other forms of media without proper attribution. Learn what schools and students can do to help detect and avoid plagiarism – accidental and otherwise – on the college campus.

  • Students’ Guide to Dealing with College Stress

    College is often a person’s first experience living as an adult. New situations like an increase in schoolwork, managing jobs, roommates and relationships can cause an increase in stress levels. With this guide, students can learn get more about the situations that create stress, healthy coping mechanisms and learn when to seek help.

  • Studying Abroad

    Thinking about studying abroad, but not sure where or how to start? This guide explores the most popular destinations, areas of study, and program types. Get detailed information and resources on how to find and select the right travel program, finding international housing, financial planning, scholarships, and safety tips that all students should keep in mind when studying and living in a foreign country.

  • Study Skills for College Students

    College students who have strong study and time management skills have discovered the key to academic success. All students are capable of doing well in college if they take some time to learn these skills, and this guide will help. Discover the #1 study skill students should have, and find out how to combat all types of procrastination.

  • Support for College Student-Parents

    Juggling life and college is difficult for everyone, but it can be especially challenging for parents. This guide offers information specifically for student-parents to help them overcome obstacles within higher education and stay on track to succeed. Find out more about scholarships and financial aid, information on on-campus childcare, resources for single moms, and online programs.

  • Using Your Alumni Association

    Joining an alumni association is a great way to stay in touch with your alma mater, make valuable networking connections, and even take advantage of a range of perks and discounts. However, it’s also a great way to give back. Read more about the benefits of alumni associations and how to make the most of them.

  • Volunteer and Nonprofit Degrees

    Nonprofit organizations give skilled professionals a chance to make a positive impact to help causes they are passionate about. From volunteer to paid positions, find out what it means to be a skills-based volunteer, what it is like to work at a nonprofit, and examples of available opportunities.

  • Workforce Development Guidebook

    Workforce development and continuing education gives employees the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and stay competitive. It also helps businesses and industries thrive and advance. This guide explores why workforce development is important and where individuals can find continuing education opportunities.

College Life

  • College Student Entrepreneurship

    There’s no reason why college students with great business ideas should have to wait to graduate to bring their ideas to fruition. Some of the best startup businesses have been conceived by students who haven’t yet received that diploma. Find out how they are doing it, and how you can to. This guide for college entrepreneurs is packed full of resources for funding, business ideas, expert advice and solid tips on how to get moving on that big business idea.

  • College Student Networking

    According to some estimates, 40 percent of job offers come from networking. College students shouldn’t wait until graduation is looming before making the crucial connections needed in today’s job market. Powerful career and life connections are often made through networking that starts the freshman year of college. This guide will teach college students how and where to network, and who to network with.

  • College Student Rights Guide

    Most students heading off to college are embarking on adult living for the first time in their lives. It’s important they understand that some of the legalities that may have not applied to them when they were minors are now rights due to them under the law. Conversely, some of the laws that may have protected them as minors are no longer in effect now that they are adults. In addition, there are additional rights and responsibilities that college students specifically are afforded under the law and need to be aware of. Find out how Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the right to privacy affect students enrolled in college.

  • Crushing the College Employment Hunt

    College jobs and internships provide students with meaningful experiences that can set the foundation for future career and personal success. But landing the best ones isn’t easy. This guide arms students with the resources and expert advice they need to find quality employment, beat out the competition, and balance work and school life.

  • Cyberbullying in College

    In order to combat cyberbullying, it’s important to understand what it is and what drives perpetrators of this high-tech harassment. Get more information on cyberbullying and how it affects college students, tips for stopping the harassment, and resources for reporting it.

  • The College Gap Year

    Taking a gap year can offer much more than just time off from school. Students who take a gap year are using this time to travel and study abroad, learn new skills, expand their horizons, do volunteer work, work and save money, and recuperate from “academic burnout.” Taking a meaningful gap year requires some upfront planning and careful consideration of what you hope to gain from the experience. Find out the best way to plan your gap year, how to get the most out of it, and how to merge back into your academic or career path once your gap year has ended.

  • Going Green in College

    Going green matters now more than ever, and many organizations and people are working hard to reduce their carbon footprints. Some colleges are leading the charge, offering housing focused on green living, green building and even organic farming on campus. Students are following suit, and looking for green colleges to meet their green goals. This guide helps with tips, tools, resources and more to help college students go green.

  • Guide to Campus Safety

    Whether you’re a high school student going off to college for the first time or a college student returning for the new year, campus safety and security are big concerns. With this guide, students, parents, and guardians can learn more about college crimes, including sexual assault, and find out how and where to find resources, support services, and help.

  • Guide to Student Mental Health

    Mental health and wellness has become a big concern on college campuses across the country in recent years. Get more information on the most common mental health challenges that college students face, as well as guidance on resources, support services, and coping strategies from various mental health and counseling experts.

  • Health Insurance for College Students

    Aside from some exceptions, all Americans are required to have health insurance, including college students. This guide helps college student navigate health insurance requirements, provides the steps to signing up and a glossary of important terms, and offers information on insurance for students studying abroad.

  • Recognize Warning Signs and Preventing Suicide in College

    It’s important for college students to recognize the warning signs of depression and suicide contemplation in themselves and others. This guide delves into the crucial subject of suicide prevention on college campuses while offering dozens of resources, help and hope for anyone affected by this issue.

  • Religion and Spirituality

    College life and culture introduces students to new experiences and challenges, especially for those of religious and spiritual backgrounds. Discover how to balance faith at college with expert insight, support services, and variety of spiritual and religious resources.

  • Smart College Student Finances

    Nobody wants to be a broke college kid, and while money management might seem difficult for students, it doesn’t have to be. Start setting a budget and using credit to establish a bright financial future in your university years with this guide. From budget tracking tools to savings assistance resources, this information can help students sort through their financial priorities.

  • Substance Abuse in College

    Students who are concerned that they or a friend may have a problem with drug and alcohol abuse may not know where to turn. This guide offers encouragement, help and resources for students, along an in-depth examination of who is at risk, the warning signs, and the various types of substances being abused on college campuses. We also look at binge drinking and the use of legal drugs illegally by students.

  • Taking Advantage of College Perks

    While earning a degree may be the clearest benefit of attending college, there are many other perks students can (and should) take advantage of while in school. Whether it’s free tickets to the big game, student-only shopping deals, or special travel discounts, college definitely has its perks. Follow this guide to see exactly where to find them.

  • Volunteering & Internships Abroad

    Students and recent graduates can get the most out of their international travel experiences by volunteering or interning abroad. Prospective volunteers and interns can choose from thousands of program options ranging for two-week trips to two-year adventures serving and learning in fields like healthcare, education, community development and conservation. Explore your program options, learn about funding opportunities, and get expert advice on how to make a difference and gain skills for the global workforce.

  • Vote 2016: Where Presidential Candidates Stand on Education

    Education issues play a prominent role in the 2016 presidential election, particularly the issues of college affordability and the role of the federal government in K-12 education. Take our quiz to find out which candidate’s views are most in line with your own, and learn where they stand on crucial issues such as student loan debt, free public post-secondary education, disbanding the U.S. Department of Education, and more.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

  • College Calculators

    Beyond just paying tuition, there’s much involved in financing college. Students and parents need to understand how much college will actually cost, how much student loans will really cost and what those payments will look like in the future, when and how to start saving for college, and what’s involved with staying on a budget while attending school. This guide discusses all this and more in depth, and offers an exhaustive list of calculators to help devise a plan for paying for college.

  • College Savings & 529 Plans

    Saving for college early can make all the difference when it finally comes time to send the kids off to college, yet only 48 percent of parents report that they are actively saving for their children’s educations. Read about the various savings options available, compare plans and start savings for your children’s educational futures today.

  • Debt-Free College Degree

    Rising tuition costs and student loan debt are two things that often stand between an individual and a college degree. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. This guide explores several different ways to pay for college such as crowdfunding, military benefits, scholarships, and tax credits and deductions. Find out how you can earn a college degree without accumulating crushing debt.

  • Financial Aid for Hispanic Students

    From tuition to textbooks to lab fees, making college affordable is a challenge. This guide offers financial aid and scholarship information as well as other educational resources specifically for Hispanic students.

  • Financial Aid for Minorities

    When it comes to financial aid and scholarships, minority students can find several opportunities to help them achieve their academic goals. Finding these opportunities, however, isn’t always easy. This guide provides step-by-step information on how and where to find scholarships for women, African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Native American, and Hispanic/Latino students.

  • Financial Aid for Online Colleges

    A comprehensive guide to understanding your financial aid options for online colleges. Learn what is available, how to apply, and get expert FAFSA® advice from several education experts.

  • Financial Aid for Women

    From scholarships to grants to work-study programs, women in higher education can find financial aid from several different sources. Find a list of scholarship opportunities for various disciplines and information on other financial support options specifically for women.

  • Graduate Student Financial Aid Guidebook

    Graduate students bring maturity to their studies, and many of them have spent several years in the working world before embarking on a graduate degree. What’s more, some of them even continue to work in their field while pursuing a graduate education. Because of this, graduate students have a unique opportunity to seek college funding in places that undergraduate students may not. Graduate students can find funding from unexpected places such as employers, professional organizations where they hold memberships and teaching assistantships. Find out more about graduate student aid, scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistant opportunities and more in our comprehensive graduate student financial aid and scholarship guidebook.

  • Professions That Pay for School

    There are many ways to help pay for the cost of a college degree beyond student loans, scholarships and traditional financial aid. Explore some lesser-known options, such as tuition reimbursement and paid training programs for professional studies, and find which companies offer part-time and full-time jobs with special incentives to help their employees pay for school.

  • ROTC to Pay for College

    ROTC programs are a great way for students to fund their college education, but these programs also offer other benefits. This comprehensive guide examines the goals, benefits, financial aid options, and potential career paths for those interested in pursuing formal ROTC training.

  • Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

    Many scholarship resources exist for students with disabilities looking to help fund their college educations. From specific to broadly-focused, learn about where to find these scholarships and how to apply, and find out where to turn for other financial aid opportunities.

  • Student Loan Guidebook

    Loans make up a bulk of funding for students in college. However, many go about loans the wrong way, which can hurt when it’s time to repay the debt. Learn the right way to think about loans from experts in the know.

Student Interest Groups

  • Help for Homeless College Students

    Homelessness can affect people of all ages, including college students. Find information on higher education fee waivers, scholarships, resources, and support services for homeless college students in need.

  • Helping Visually Impaired Students

    College students with visual disabilities face a unique set of academic challenges and barriers, but that doesn’t mean that earning a degree is impossible. Read more about what colleges are doing to help visually impaired students succeed, and find information on assistive technology as well as insight from experts in the field.

  • International Student Resources

    Every year, students from all over the world make the decision to attend college in the United States. Before embarking on your journey, learn more about life at American colleges, program options for international students, and resources for support and success abroad.

  • LGBTQ Friendly Colleges

    Finding the right college is important, particularly for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students. What are colleges doing to make their school welcoming and supportive for the LGBTQ student community and what should students look for when choosing an institution? Learn more about LGBTQ-friendly colleges, including resources, student organizations, curriculum, and recommendations from community experts and allies.

  • Military Online Colleges

    Online colleges offer several financial aid and flexibility benefits for military students and their families. If you’re an active service member, a veteran, or qualified dependent find out whether you’d be a good candidate for online learning, review your financial aid options, and find out how to choose a military-friendly online college.

  • Multiculturalism & Diversity on Campus

    Cultivating a culture of inclusivity is an important part of creating a positive campus experience for everyone. Students and teachers can learn to foster that environment with resources and scholarship info, and discover how to get involved on their own campuses.

  • Resources for Students with Disabilities

    A college degree is more attainable now than ever before for students who have disabilities. Discover resources for adaptive technologies, advocacy and transitional information that can help to make postsecondary education a possibility for everyone.

  • Women in STEM

    Despite women’s advancement in higher education, they still remain underrepresented in STEM and STEM-related fields, both inside and outside the classroom. This guide serves as a comprehensive resource for women who are interested in pursuing a STEM career. Learn more about what colleges, programs, and organizations are doing to close the gender gap and find scholarships specifically for women interested in science, technology, engineering, and math.