If you have made the decision to sign up for an accredited online college or university, you want to be sure you are choosing a good school. There can be large differences and making sure you select the right school will help make your distance education path a smooth one.
Accreditation is one of the first things you should consider when choosing an online college. Schools must meet specific guidelines in order to receive accreditation. There are some fake online colleges that will list any accreditations on their website or in their brochures. If in doubt, you can contact the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education to check the school’s accreditation status. With non-accredited schools, you can not be sure of the quality of their education program. You also risk having employers refuse to recognize your degree if it comes from a non-accredited school or university.
Another thing to consider when choosing an accredited online college is the instructor to student ratio. Instructors who have large classes may find it difficult to provide one-on-one attention to students who need extra assistance. If you are struggling with something in your coursework, you want to be sure your instructor has the time to help. Most distance education schools offer a ratio of one instructor to every twenty students which is sufficient. A school that offers a very large pool of students per instructor should be avoided as most often the instructor may not be able to offer individual students’ attention.
Check how long the accredited online college has been in operation. A school that has recently opened or just added online education programs might still have some bumps to iron out. Ideally, you want a school that has been established and running online degree programs for a while.
Consider the level of education of the instructors. At traditional schools, the majority of instructors have a master’s or a doctorate/PhD degree in the subject they are teaching. The instructors at an accredited online college should have similar or better education qualification and experience as their peers in a traditional university. You want to be sure that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to teach.
Ask how many students are enrolled in the school and how many have already graduated. An accredited online college with very few students is either new or might have something going on that is deterring students from enrolling. A school with a large number of graduates will help you know whether the students were satisfied with the school and asses the quality of their degree programs.
Tuition for college can be a problem. You need to be sure the schools’ fees fits your budget or the accredited online college offers an alternative way to finance your education, for example, financial aid, grants etc. Be on the lookout for hidden fees. Legitimate schools are open about their tuition and fees. If you have difficulty getting fee information or the admissions representatives are not very helpful when you ask them, these may be signs of bad things to come..
The variety of degree programs being offered at the online school. While schools typically have a wide variety of education programs available, not every school will have the acara of your interest. Make sure the school offers your desired program. Also keep in mind that there are some degrees which can not be earned through distance learning.
Not every accredited online college you come across will be right for you. Take the time to fully examine your options before you sign up.