Once you’ve made that decision to either get a degree or certificate from an online school, you have to start thinking about the best place to enroll.
Admittedly, if you don’t have any idea one way or another, making a decision is going to be a huge task, so start early if you want to meet the registration deadlines.
It is great that there are so many educational institutes offering online degrees and certifications, but on the other side of the coin, it means more work in choosing.
Fear not, though, because, as usual, we have a list of eight ways to help you weed through the endless number of online colleges and online courses in order to pick the best option for your needs.
#1 Course Prerequisites
One of the first things you will need to know when you have chosen a field of study is whether or not you meet the application requirements. Often, online schools that offer certain degrees and certifications demand previous qualifications such as a high school diploma, specific math or science courses, work experience, or even an age requirement for adult learning. Most legitimate and serious schools will want basically the same, so be sure to check first before assuming you can apply.
#2 Tuition Fees
Unfortunately, the more prestigious schools are going to be more expensive, which is understandable, but when sorting through online colleges, know your budget restrictions. Don’t bother wasting your time looking at schools and courses that you could never afford. Of course, if you qualify for some sort of grant or scholarship, then at least apply to see what happens.
#3 Professor Reviews
If you are torn between a couple different online institutes, try to find websites that allow students to post reviews on instructors. But remember that you need to take some criticisms with a grain of salt. Read between the lines. Just because professors are tough does not mean they are not the right ones to teach the class.
And just because one student received a poor grade does not mean you will. They probably did not apply themselves to their assigned work. You do, however, want to know about personality traits that might not be compatible and might hinder you from doing the best you can.
#4 Mix of Online and Physical
There are some universities that offer online courses, but for the degree, as a whole, not everything is through the internet. Some courses may still be actual courses at the college, while other parts of the course grade, such as participation in discussions, may require your physical presence. If you absolutely cannot make it for these meetings or classes, then you need to find a school that is 100% online.
#5 Job Opportunities
There are two parts of the equation to getting a rewarding job after completing your studies. First, you want to look for colleges that have a good record of their graduates getting relevant work. Second, you need to choose a field where there is an abundance of jobs.
#6 Proper Accreditation and Certificate Value
This seems like an obvious point, but don’t assume that because a glitzy website offers a degree program or certificate that this is a real school. If you are going to pay for online courses and commit the time to a program, you want to make sure your diploma counts for something, and that it is recognized by not only employers, but other educational institutes. Check to see what state or federal body has accredited the school.
#7 Transfer Credits
If you have already completed some course work elsewhere, inquire as to whether you can transfer those credits to the program in which you plan to enroll. If one or more of the online colleges agree to the transfer, then this will not only save you time in completing your goal, but will also save you money, since you don’t need as many courses to graduate. Take the shortest path to that certificate or diploma.
#8 Online Support
Reputable colleges will have student advisers, physical or virtual instructor office hours, and documented ways to get help regardless of whether it is technical challenges or understanding of the course material.
Is it possible to transfer from a college diploma program to a university degree program?