Indeed, online courses are appealing to millions of students around the world. The technology-based and seemingly relative convenient way to study has allowed many people to complete their high school diploma requirements, as well as obtaining college degrees.
Subjects and topics that do not offer full degrees, but rather certifications, are also widely offered through online colleges. Since this growing trend is prevalent, and fast becoming the norm, in this article, let’s discuss how to choose the best online colleges and online courses.
You should really consider these points as rules to stand by and use when choosing online college courses and we have put together our top six.
Rule #1 – Accreditation Is Everything
Please do not fall for phony online campuses and phony certifications. If an online college also has a traditional bricks and mortar campus, then you can rest assured their programs are legitimate. If however, they are solely internet-based schools offering online courses, then you need to check their credentials very carefully.
In fact use the Department of Education to verify whether an accrediting agency is approved by the US government, and then use the database at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website to ensure the school is accredited by one of those legal entities.
Rule #2 – Make Sure It Fits
Do not choose an online college or online course due to the price factor or the hype. Often, these are misleading and take you down the wrong path. Look for programs that fit with your long term educational and employment goals. Education is not a one-size fits all proposition.
Rule #3 – Inquire About Class Size
Often, students believe that online courses do not have the same big class size issues as physical schools. This is not the case, however. If the internet class is very large and there is only one instructor to support the group, it will be difficult to engage and seek help. You might not be able to get the assistance you require and expect when paying for an education and your grades may suffer or you may be faced with the extra task of finding clarification elsewhere.
Rule #4 – Don’t Rush
Quite a few web-based degrees are rolling. What that means is you can start anytime, not on a calendar semester. Now, not all good online colleges do this, but be extremely wary of someone who is rushing you to enroll because a deadline is nearing. These types of “salespeople” generally come from sites and schools that are not legal and are only interested in grabbing your money before you realize that you have been duped.
Rule #5 – Request and Review Information
While you may not ask for a brochure through the regular post, you should definitely ask questions of at least three to six online colleges. You want to see how they respond and you want to be able to compare the classes. Again, schools that are well-known, you have an advantage in knowing firsthand that they are good, but others, be sure to complete your due diligence. Narrow your search pretty quickly in the pre-decision stages, so that you do not feel overwhelmed by the myriad of options.
Rule #6 – Transferring Credits
If you have already completed some courses, check to see whether the online college will permit you to use them towards their degree program.
Rule #7 – Perception and Reputation
How people perceive online courses must be important to your decision making process. Employers view things differently than others, since they have a vested interest in you. Before choosing any online college, look for reviews from other students, what people are saying in forums, and search out lists from reputable sources that rank individual schools and programs.
Finally, you need to be on your guard and watch for red flags when choosing online colleges that do not have physical campuses, and those that are not divisions of real schools. While several internet-based schools have made a new for themselves and are completely above-board, others
Also, you should remember that online colleges offer financial aid and scholarships. At least review all your opportunities before signing on the dotted line.
The video is about the factors you should use when choosing an online MBA program, but they are just as relevant to any online course, so it is worth the time to review.