Accreditation – this is perhaps the most important of the rules. Accreditation confirms that the college meets certain educational standards that are set by the accrediting education agencies. If you earn credits from an accredited online distance education college, chances are you can transfer them to another accredited institution of your choice. Your chances for acquiring a new job or getting a promotion are greatly enhanced if your degree is accredited.
Degree mills and fake colleges – today the internet is flooded with fraud and fake accrediting institutions that give “accreditation” to any willing organization at a fee. Be safe and stay on the look-out for such institutions when you’re choosing your online distance education college. There are always “tell-tale” signs of institutions that are not legitimately accredited. If in doubt, check with the United Stated Department of Education or CHEA to find out if the college you are interested in is accredited.
Before you choose an online college, it’s also important to think about what your long-terms plans and goals are as far as your education is concerned. Incase you intend to pursue further education, think about if you’ll need to transfer credits from one college to another. With this knowledge you’ll be able to choose a college that allows and accepts credit transfers.
Just like in a traditional classroom, class size is important. You want to be in a class where your voice can be heard. So check the class size of the college you’re considering.
Find out if the faculty hold any credentials and if they are qualified to teach the program you want to enroll in. If you can dig further to find out what degrees they hold and if they are experienced in teaching online students, this will save you the distress of finding out later that your instructor is a fellow un-qualified student with no education skills.
Find out if it easy to contact your instructor or administration should you have questions or need help. The level of support offered to students varies considerably from college to college. Choose one in line with your needs and expectations.
One of the great things about online distance education programs is that you can begin almost anytime. Thus you shouldn’t let anyone rush you into starting your program until you feel ready to put the time and effort it will require for you to succeed.
Check out if your program will be offered entirely online or if it will require residency at some point in the course. Some online courses have site projects and require residency so let this not come as a surprise to you.
Check if the institution you’re interested in offers any form of financial aid assistance. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that financial aid, loans and the scholarships available to you. In addition, many colleges and universities offer tuition installment plans which help make college more affordable. Ask before you enroll whether such programs exist.
Your research for a good online college should not be a hurried task. Invest time in it and ask lots of questions. Quality education is crucial to your career advancement thus you should not get less than you deserve. New and traditional colleges are coming up with online programs every day. You have more choices than ever before to get your best education online.