If you live in Illinois and are interested in completing coursework in criminology, then you’ll be happy to know that doing so is an excellent opportunity.

Whether you want to pursue an actual degree or certificate, determine where your interests lie and/or if the career field is right for you, or just add some additional knowledge in your life, this is an excellent venture that can lead to jobs, important connections, and much, much more.

Before you enroll in classes, though, there are five simple facts that you should know. Knowing them should help you to get the most out of your coursework.

1. Courses Vary by Level: If you are a degree seeking student, then your classes will be exactly what you need to earn that associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD.

If you’re not earning a degree, however and are just completing coursework for your own reasons, keep in mind that an associate’s degree level course in general criminal justice will vary widely from even a bachelor’s degree level course in general criminal justice.

Furthermore, classes intended for sophomores will be much more difficult than classes intended for freshmen, and so on. So, make sure you choose coursework that is at your educational level. If necessary, talk to an admissions counselor or even complete testing to find the best fit for you.

2. Professors are Important Connections: In the field of criminology, most of the professors you will encounter will be people who have actually worked long and fruitful careers as criminologists themselves.

As such, not only are they wonderful sources of knowledge for you, but they are also great connections to have, especially if you’re looking for work in the field. Forming strong relationships with your teachers is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself.

3. Grades Do Count: A lot of students make the mistake of thinking that their actual grades don’t really matter all that much, so long as they pass the course. However, this isn’t the case in the criminology field. Competition for jobs is intense, and sometimes who gets hired boils down to who had the higher grade point average in school.

4. You Can Get Funding: No matter the reason that you are taking courses and no matter your age, credit, or current educational status, funding is generally available. It might come in the form of scholarships or a loan, but with effort and a lot of communication with a school’s financial aid department, you usually can make your schooling happen.

5. You Can List Coursework on Resumes: Even if your education doesn’t lead to a certificate or a degree in the field, be aware that you can still list your coursework on your resume and that many potential employers will find this quite impressive.

So, don’t be afraid to toot your own horn and be proud of what you have done. It might just reward you in the long run!