Choosing an online college can be difficult, but using this guide will help you choose the best one for you. You have a lot of options when it comes to your online education. One of the mistakes I see people make is not taking a little extra time to research. The 10 steps below will help you find the right college or university that will help you get to your goals.
Step 1: How old is the college?
Choosing a university that has been around for a long time has the advantage of an established reputation. On the flip side, that reputation will probably cost you more tuition. If the college is new, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad though. Just look at the school’s reputation and the relationships it has with other, longer established schools.
Step 2: Are they accredited?
This seems like a no brainer, but lately there have been a lot of scandals with unaccredited schools. Accreditation is like an insurance policy on your education. Without it, all your work will be basically worthless.
Step 3: Transfer Credits
If you have already completed some credits on campus, you will want a program that will accept those credits. You want to get credit for all the work you have already done!
Step 4: Is the School Stable?
Do some research on the college or university you have your eye on. Do they seem to be doing well financially? Have there been any recent scandals involving finances? If the school seems unstable in any way, don’t risk it.
Step 5: Hidden Costs
Be sure to take into account the additional fees associated with going to school. This includes things like lab fees, textbooks, and the cost of your internet connection. Reputable programs won’t hide these figures. Also calculate the cost of not working or working less if you need to focus on school.
Step 6: Does the Program Match Your Career Goals?
There is no point in going to school if you don’t get anything out of it. The hope is that once you graduate, you can get the kind of job that you want. Therefore, make sure that the degree you are seeking is relevant to the field you want to work in.
Step 7: Is it the best of its kind?
When it comes to education, you want the best you can get. Once you have a school you are thinking of attending, compare it to other similar programs and schools. Is it the best there is? This entails being up to date, the best educational software, and the most respected textbooks.
Step 8: Support
Check out your prospective school’s support system. Do they have good counselors? Academic support, like writing and math labs? What about technical support for the online software? These are all things to consider. You are much more likely to succeed when you have an excellent support system.
Step 9: Graduation Rates
It’s a good thing to check whether people are actually graduating from the school. This includes both graduates and those who graduate on schedule. These numbers mean that the school supports it’s students and educates them well enough to finish their education.
Step 10: Cost
Finally, it is important to consider the cost. In this day and age, this might be the most important thing to look at. You want to avoid getting student loan debt bigger than you will be able to pay back. Look at the field you are going into and assess what amount of debt you could get into and still succeed.
Better yet, try and find a school where you don’t need any student loans. It will be difficult to pay for school without them, but it is definitely more possible with online school.
If you can manage to balance the above 10 tips, you will have the best experience at school.