Earning a degree online is a good way to advance your career. And there is no shortage of good online schools which offer quality degree programs out there. But although finding one is important to your career, it is also tricky. There are just too many schools out there both good and bad.
If you make the mistake of enrolling in the wrong school, you will end up with an unaccredited degree and a student loan. Meanwhile, your career prospects will not have improved. Keep in mind that employers do not recognize unaccredited degrees. So how do you go about finding the best online colleges? Here are seven things to consider.
1) College History
Colleges with a history that goes back decades usually offer the best online degrees. They have already made their reputation by offering quality programs. But those with shorter histories too can offer quality programs. You will just have to investigate them more deeply. Be keen on the success rates of their students and alumni. Also note down the student satisfaction rates.
According to the US Department of Education, the aim of accreditation is to ensure that institutions of higher learning maintain quality standards of education. So if a school is not accredited by the right agencies, its programs are not worth enrolling in. They are a waste of your time and hard-earned money. Enroll only in accredited institutions such as Ohio University if you want your degree to be respected.
3) The School’s Financial Position
Be wary of any school that is in a poor financial position. Also keep away from any which refuses or hesitates to share its financial information. And lastly, double check any that has set up shop only recently. It may look stable now but what about tomorrow?
4) Transferring Credits
The longer you take to pursue your degree, the more it will cost. Chances are that you will also take on student debt to complete your studies. Transferring credits lets you can graduate in time. So only enroll in programs with a direct route to graduation.
5) Hidden Charges
Most schools are transparent and do not charge any extra costs during the course of the degree program. But some will hide these costs to make their programs more attractive. Only later do you realize that they duped you. Sometimes courses that seemed cheap to begin with can end being more expensive in the long run.
6) The Relevance of the Program to Your Career
Only enroll in programs that advance your career goals. If you want to land a corporate finance job, consider pursuing an MBA with a finance curriculum. Also, do away with any credits that do not line up with your career goals. They will only make your program more expensive. It will also take longer. As mentioned earlier, more time spent on your degree equals more money spent on it.
7) Support Offered to Students
Online students spend most of their time away from campus. They, therefore, need more support services from their school than do those taking traditional courses. Inquire on how to access online tutors and student advisors. Also, find out about online student communities.
Good online schools do exist. But to find them, you will have to do some digging. You must investigate a college’s history, financial position, and accreditation. Also, know whether you can transfer your credits and graduate in time. Do not forget to inquire about student support and hidden charges. Finally, ask yourself how relevant the degree is to your career goals. If everything lines up, go for it.