Your checklist for choosing an online college

September 9th, 2011 by Brendon

Finding an Online School ss_13703017Considering online college? That’s a good thing. Online learning is becoming more common as more and more schools are getting onboard, and the stigma of an online degree is fading fast. But, you want to be sure that you’re getting more than a piece of paper. While there’s no perfect method for choosing an online college, here are some important factors that you should take into consideration before making a decision:

Class size – You might not think it matters how many people are in your class because you’re sitting in your living room. But, class size definitely makes a difference. Some universities already cram 200 students into large lecture halls, so why wouldn’t they do the same with their online courses? Make sure that you will have a teacher you can get in touch with and the level of attention you need in order to succeed.

Cost – This seems like a no-brainer, but many students don’t do their due diligence by comparing school costs. The price of online learning can be very affordable, but some schools charge much more than others and some have hidden fees, like activity fees to support on-campus events. Make sure you’re also comparing the price of any books you might have to get.

Accreditation – Investigate whether the schools you’re interested in are accredited by agencies approved by the Department of Education (DOE). That’s the simplest way to check the validity of your education as accredited online schools will have met certain standards in their education and training. Not all training requires the DOE’s stamp of approval – but some employers require their workers to have an education that is accredited by the DOE. Schools generally list accreditation information right on their website, so if you can’t find it, you might want to contact the school or check the websites of the agencies themselves.

Transfering credits – If you plan on going to another school after you complete your online degree, make sure that your credits will transfer. You don’t want to earn your Associate degree online and then realize that you can’t transfer your credits to the school where you want to earn your Bachelor’s. It never hurts to think ahead.

Flexible doesn’t always equal convenience – Just because you can attend class from your couch, doesn’t mean you can choose the time that you attend class. Some courses require that you chime in on instant message conversations at specific times. If you have to work from 9-5 but your professor expects you to participate at 2 o’clock, then online learning won’t work to your advantage in that scenario. Make sure you check the class schedule and find out your professor’s expectations.

Find out who hires their graduates – The bottom line is that you should never be afraid to ask lots of questions before you enroll. If an admissions rep gets annoyed with you, then they probably care more about your money than your future. One question you should definitely ask is: “What companies have hired your graduates recently?” If this question is hard for them to answer, then it’s safe to assume that they don’t spend a lot of time following up on their graduates’ success or fostering strong relationships with reputable employers.

So now that you have a solid approach to finding a good online school, nothing should stop you from getting a good online education. If you are still wary of learning online, then first seek out a reputable school that offers online programs in addition to their campus-based programs. Set up a meeting with an admissions representative and ask them lots of questions. You’ll probably find out what a lot of other students are quickly learning: that you can find a good online education that can help you pursue a great career!

Interested in finding an online college? Ready to begin your college search? Start at US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter as well as searching by zip code.

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How do I choose which online college to attend?

January 11th, 2011 by admin

online-colleges-shutterstock_15527146If you are confused about where to start, keep these things in mind during your selection process.

Word of Mouth – Ask around for suggestions. You probably know someone already attending that will recommend his or her online college. If not, check resources such as the public library, college search websites, and search engines.

Programs Offered – Check to see if they have the program you need for graduation. If you need a Master’s in Women’s Studies, then you need to eliminate the colleges that do not offer it.

Accreditation – This is a voluntary process that shows the institution has met certain academic standards. It also affects the school’s ability to offer federal financial aid. If you anticipate needing a federal loan, accreditation is probably necessary.

Time to Complete Certification – Generally, if a graphics design program takes 18 months to complete at one school, it will take 18 months at the next. However, classes at one school may be offered more than once a year making it easier to schedule classes around your workload. Ask advisors at the schools to explain your options.

Tuition – Your amount owed will be based on the number of credits you request. Before applying for a loan, check if your employer offers tuition reimbursement for certain classes or to a particular college.

Once you have your answers in front of you, you will be able to make an informed decision.

Doing a search for online colleges? Our US college search groups together quality schools in your area to help jumpstart your career. While you’re looking for online colleges, you can also search for online degrees as well. For additional information, use US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter as well as searching by zip code.

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