For many people attending a traditional four year brick and mortar college is neither practical nor possible for a variety of reasons. In previous times this meant resigning oneself to accepting only a high school education, to being stuck in a dead end career and perhaps never pursuing the college education that one truly desires. Fortunately, times have changed. These days anyone can obtain a college degree in a wide range of subjects and make their dreams come true. But with so many options and so much variation and quality in online education, it can be a daunting task to decide not only what degree to pursue but what online college to enroll in. This article should help as we ask the question and try to come up with an answer of just what are the best online colleges?
The three factors that should go into the decision making process of choosing an online college are; the quality of the education, the reputation of the school and the cost and suitability of the program. Online colleges come in three variations. The most plentiful are those online colleges that exist only in cyberspace with all learning and course materials conducted purely on the internet. The school does not have a bricks and mortar location available and all questions, coursework and interaction is conducted exclusively online. Some popular examples of some of the larger ‘online only’ colleges are Capella University, American Public University, Westwood College and Walden University, which was recently rated by US News as a top choice in online education.
Online only colleges can offer some of the most cost effective degrees but they also fall short comparatively when it comes to reputation as well as quality of instruction. Sometimes, depending on the degree being pursued, it can be quite valuable to have at least some in person instruction or classroom interaction with a trained educator. This is particularly true in those disciplines where some of the learning is necessarily experiential or hands on like nursing or social work and not purely academic or theoretical like mathematics.
The second variation in online colleges are those that are primarily online but offer at least a partial brick and mortar experience that is either optional or required for part of the degree program. These tend to be slightly more expensive than the online only colleges but they also generally offer a better known and more respected degree. Some examples of online colleges that offer an optional in-person component include The University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, DeVry University and American Intercontinental University (AIU), which has campuses worldwide in addition to those in the US.
The ability to add classroom instruction and to interact with professional educators makes this a more fulfilling experience than simply completing all your coursework over the internet with no in-person interaction. In fact some believe that certain areas of study necessitate in person instruction in order to fulfill the requirements of the degree. While slightly more expensive than the online only colleges, a good argument can be made that it is worth the extra cost.
The last variation of online colleges are those that are adjunct or part of an established, sometimes even famous and world renown brick and mortar university or college. Some people are surprised to hear that such famous institutions such as Syracuse University, Golden Gate University, Boston University, and even MIT and Stanford offer online degree programs in various disciplines. Some of these online degree programs are very highly rated and the beautiful thing about obtaining one of these degrees is that once you receive your diploma nobody except you needs to know you pursued your degree online. The full reputation of these prestigious schools can then go to work for you to obtain a great career advancing job and to appear as a linchpin of your resume for years to come.
Many of these top notch schools require some of your education to be done on-site, but again this depends on the specific course of study you are pursuing and information needs to be gotten on a case by case basis. The one downside to pursuing your education at a famous name online college is the cost. These schools are very aware that their names hold tremendous value in the marketplace and thus charge substantially more than similar degrees from lesser known online schools. However, depending on the degree program, the cost of an online degree can still be much lower than attending the school full time, especially when savings of room and board as well as loss of income if not working are figured into the equation.
With the plethora of options available today there is really no excuse to not obtain your college degree. Research shows that college graduates earn more money and lead more satisfying careers than those without a higher education. With options ranging from low cost online only to higher cost famous name online universities, the only limit is your own drive, determination and dreams. For much more great information on online colleges and specific degree programs as well as links to some of the leading schools please visit www.BachelorDegree.me.
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