Online university and colleges make it possible for students to earn their degree and begin work in a new career field. Regardless of your reasons for going back to school online, you want to ensure that you’re receiving a quality education. Read on for tips and advice on choosing a school.
10. Consider Accreditation
Before you enroll in an online program, find out whether or not the program is accredited. This is key because so many online schools have popped up. You want to make sure you’re getting a degree from an accredited one. Without accreditation, your degree is not worth much, especially if you’re studying in a demanding field like education or healthcare. If you’re applying for a teaching job or a career in healthcare, most employers will want to see a degree from an accredited school on your resume before they will hire you. Most schools will list their accreditation credentials on their website. If that info is not listed, contact the school and ask.
9. Consider the School’s Reputation
There is a wealth of school information online. If you google the name of your school and read reviews of it online, you will get a good idea of what sort of school it is. Are most students dissatisfied with their education from the school? What are the common things students are complaining about? A good way to judge school quality is to keep in mind the opinions of current or former students at that school.
8. Read the School’s Website Thoroughly
Two important websites you should familiarize yourself with are the admissions information page and the department website of the program you wish to enter. The admissions page will inform you of what you must do to enroll. The department website should list the degree requirements, such as the courses you must take and any special projects you must submit. A good school will list a challenging course of study. If the degree requirements seems too easy, you should question the quality of the school.
7. Ask Questions
Online university and colleges list their contact info on their website. Email a representative or call one to ask questions you have about the school. Most program information will be listed online, but you may have questions about things not listed or information you’re unable to find online.
6. Visit the School
While you can get information from the school’s website, most online schools also have brick and mortar locations. Also, some programs are not entirely online. For instance, a healthcare program might allow you to complete most coursework online, but you might also have to complete clinical work in a healthcare setting. This means you might have personal contact with teachers from your school in the future. If you get a chance, meet with a professor or two before you enroll. Would these professors make good mentors? Are they helpful and accessible?
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5. Shop Around
Don’t enroll in the first school you find. Instead, note information on program length, program requirements and program cost for several different schools. Then, before you go back to school online, decide which school to enroll in based on what you can afford and what conveniences the school has to offer you. For instance, if two schools both have excellent reputations, but one is significantly more expensive, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to pay more for one than the other.
4. Compare Prices
The cost of attendance will vary for each school. Some schools may seem cheaper because their tuition is lower, but you must also consider things like additional fees and hidden costs. Contact a financial aid representative or admissions counselor from the school with any questions about prices. Ask if you qualify for online college scholarships.
3. Consider Financial Aid
Some schools offer online college scholarships. Find out if you qualify for one by contacting the financial aid offices of the schools you’re interested in. Your decision about which school to attend will often be influenced by things like financial aid. Some schools may not offer state-funded financial aid. There are caps on the financial aid you can receive while earning a bachelor’s through an online degree bachelor program and other limits for advanced degrees.
2. Do Your Research
Some fields of study are more in-demand than others, but this does not mean they offer more job security. Consider the rate at which your field or your school is turning out graduates. Will there be enough jobs for everyone in your area? If not, are you willing to relocate after you graduate? One way to find out about job outlook is to visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. They list job outlook projection and expected pay for pretty much any career field. They can also project how many jobs will be added in that field as well as the percentage a field is expected to grow in the next several years.
1. Word of Mouth
Chances are, you know someone who has completed a degree program online. Find people who have completed an online degree bachelor program or master’s program. Ask a few of these people about their experiences. What would they have done differently if they could have? Can they offer you any advice on a school or a program that worked for them?
Bottom line, to find suitable online university and colleges, you must do your homework first. Do not enroll in an online program before considering accreditation, reputation, cost of attendance, the financial aid offered by the school and the projected growth in your field. Get advice from people you know who’ve completed online degree programs. Contact someone from the school for a sit down chat, if possible. Because so many programs are offered online, you’re bound to find one that suits you.