The promotion of online schools and education proliferates on the internet and television. It seems like every commercial is aimed at those wishing to take an online degree.
And for the individuals that have never given it a second thought, graduates are paraded around with their stories showing how their lives are incredibly better from having enrolled and obtained the degree.
Obviously, we don’t dispute the benefits of an education and we do believe that everyone increases their opportunities by having a degree, but it is important to note that not all digital education is created equal. It is a very windy road trying to determine which path to take, as many are fraught with fraud, inferior education, unaccredited institutes, degree mills and generally bad practices.
To help you find your way through the fog, let’s take a look at several points that should help you distinguish the good from the bad when choosing an online degree program.
Firstly, and probably most importantly, is the accreditation of the supposed school. Many potential students are confused by the letters. The unaccredited classes are very obvious to find and you should stay away from those entirely. The schools promoting fancy words and special letters are the ones to be wary of. Just because an online venue says it is accredited does not mean it is. Go to the governing body and find out for sure.
But, also, the accreditation, itself, must be of value. In other words, what type of accreditation is it and is it from a reliable source? There are specific organizations out there that put their stamps of approval on schools and the venue you choose needs one of the real or approved facilities.
The accrediting body must be recognized by the Department of Education or The Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Don’t do anything until you have checked their databases.
#2 Quality of Courses
You should inquire about the courses and curriculum. You might want to know whether those course can be accepted at another institute. It is not necessarily for the reason that you would change venues, but if no-one else will accept the courses, then maybe they are inferior.
Further, depending on the degree you want, does the course require hands-on work to be granted? It is a big red flag if you choose a field like giving people needles or taking bloodwork and you never have to do any real-life examples. Even computer technology, it would be odd to complete only written course work and have no hands-on assignments.
#3 Available Support
Likewise, you should inquire about the help you will receive. Just because you are working online does not mean that there should be no instructors. A bonafide and real school will have specific staff to support your education. You will be assigned people to contact. You might even be required to be on-site for certain parts of the curriculum.
#4 Be Aware of Scams
Finally, do not hastily jump into signing up because you saw a commercial or you received a coupon. If the online school is well-known, then there is less that can go wrong. But for any others, the hype and the discounts are a way to get your money while at the same providing nothing at all or providing a shoddy education which won’t be worth anything when you are done.
ABC News has done an investigation, you might like to watch.