Make sure the college is accredited by a legitimate accrediting agency. Accreditation means that the college and its programs meet specified educational quality and standards. It also means that courses and credits earned can be easily transferred to another accredited institution, whether online or at a brick-and-mortar college. With a recognized degree, you have better chances of employment or promotion.
Be aware of the graduate mills – there are many questionable accreditation agencies online that are blatantly fraudulent and willing to give fake “accreditation” to any institution willing to pay a certain fee. Some of the graduate mills are even owned by the same fake accreditation agencies. Make sure you do your homework and thoroughly research the accreditation that your chosen college claims to have. While many online colleges are legitimately accredited, be aware that there are many that are not. Check your prospective college to see if the accrediting body is accredited by the United States Department of Education or CHEA.
Does the college and major you want to pursue align with your long-term goals and career? For example, if you are thinking of enrolling in an online affiliate program and later hope to earn a bachelor’s degree (online or on campus), find out how likely it is that your affiliate program credits will carry over by looking for a list of colleges that do accept referral credits.
Class size matters a lot in an online distance learning college, just as it does in a traditional classroom. The smaller the better, so you should research the class size of the institution you plan to join.
What about faculty qualifications in the program you are interested in? What degrees do they have? From which institutions? What experience do they have in the subject they teach? Do they have experience teaching online courses? Do your homework and get answers to avoid being tutored by other students who are not qualified.
Find out if the instructor, administration, and technical staff are responsive if you have questions or need help with your courses. The level of support offered to students varies greatly from college to college. Choose one that suits your needs and expectations.
Most colleges offer their online courses all the time. This is great and makes learning flexible. Therefore, you should not feel pressured by the Admissions Office or anyone else to start your studies immediately. You should only begin when you feel your mind is ready. This ensures you stay motivated and put in the effort you need to be successful with your classes.
Check to see if there are any courses throughout your program that require residency or if you can complete the entire program online. This will help you prepare.
Many online colleges offer some form of financial aid or assistance with tuition, loans, scholarships, and grants to their online students. You will be surprised what you can qualify for. Many online schools offer tuition payment plans and staff compensation programs. Be sure to ask which study programs are available for you.
Your search for a good online college should not be a hasty task. Invest time in it and ask lots of questions. Quality education is critical to your career advancement, so you shouldn’t be getting less than you deserve. New and traditional colleges are developing online programs every day. You have more options than ever to get your best education online.
Thanks to M. Jackson