Archive for November, 2009

What is the Best Online College for You

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

There are many, many lists and rankings that provide what the highest ranking online colleges are, dividing each by cost, degree-type, and future career options.  However, determining what school is best for you is an important part of researching for college.  Rankings which may pertain to one person do not necessarily relate as well to the next person, which is why these lists should be purely supplemental in beginning your online college search.

One of the most important factors to consider in choosing an online college is their accreditation status.  Many online schools resemble traditional online universities, but are sham operations and give out “fake” degrees all while boasting a “fake” accreditation.  There are a few tips to look at when researching whether a school is one of these diploma mills: their accreditation rests on claims of affiliation with different organizations that are not related to school accreditation or they use words such as “state-approved” to suggest the equivalence of accreditation.  Additionally, many schools that only offer postal box addresses or offers little interaction with professors is a clear sign that something is not right with the school.  Many times, the name of the school is also a dead giveaway if it resembles a highly reputable university.  Finally, if schools only offer tuition on a per-degree basis rather than on a per-course basis, it is clear that something is awry with the terms of enrollment.

After this step, you have undoubtedly performed much research regarding online colleges and have begun to look into degree programs.  Schools that offer extensive degree problems for your specific degree are the schools you should begin to seriously look at.  Many schools that are not built-up enough offer simple general degrees without delving too far into a specialty.  However, schools that have been around for years longer are more apt to have an extensive degree program which offers a multitude of smaller degrees that can be just what you are looking for.  While broad degree programs may be perfect for some students, others require a more specialized degree, especially if they are searching for a supplemental graduate degree in a certain field.

Finally, reading former students’ remarks may help you decide whether you want to pursue a degree in the institution.  While the school typically will not publish unfavorable remarks, these comments do tend to provide insight into specific degree programs and professor schedules.  Additionally, seeing the manner in which they are written (as well as the subsequent career these students earned) is an important part of the college application process.  Treating online colleges like traditional colleges makes a big difference between ending up with a diploma mill degree and an accredited highly-ranked degree.  While the best online college for you may be vastly different from the best online college for your neighbor, the easy accessibility which the distance learning process offers ensures that there will always be a specific niche for everyone.