Hi there, I have some questions about taking online courses and academics in general. I’m not sure where I can get advice about this stuff online so I’ve come here hoping the science community can help. Thanks! Goal: I wish to pursue a master’s degree in computational biology. Current Education: BS in Computer Science with a minor in mathematics. Situation: I’m currently enlisted in the Navy, and my term ends in August 2016. If possible, I’d like to have a school lined up for when I get out. I know I’ll need letters of recommendation from previous professors for a master’s program. However, I have no intention of contacting my old professors, because by the time I’m discharged it will have been over 5 years since I attended any of their classes. I'd think it would be rude to pester them after all this time. My General Plan: I’d like to take online courses to possibly knock out prerequisites for a master’s curriculum in computational biology. However, I don’t mind taking courses simply to brush up on areas that will be particularly useful or suitable to my graduate studies. I intend to use these courses to demonstrate my abilities and build rapport with my online professors, and hopefully they’ll be willing to provide letters of recommendation for me as well. Fortunately, the Navy should be willing to pay for online schooling through the Tuition Assistance program. I’d like to take as much advantage of this as I can. Questions: Are there blanket standards for prerequisites that all accredited schools would accept? If not, how do I go about finding the appropriate online courses to take when I don’t know which specific schools I’ll be accepted into? Are there academic advisors online who would advise me independently of my committing to any one particular institution? On a related note, does anyone know of a forum where these questions might be better suited? I can’t seem to find general forums on academic advice. I’ve never taken online courses before. Any recommendations on how I get started? Any recommendations on what sort of courses I should take beyond pre-reqs?