Questions to Ask Before Enrolling in an Online College

If you are looking to get a college education but do not necessarily want to attend an actual university, getting an online degree is your best alternative.

Previously, very few degree programs were available via this method. These days however, there are as many if not more degree programs and courses available via distance learning than there are at the traditional bricks and mortar colleges.

It is becoming increasingly common for people to join an online college because of the convenience and in some cases, the financial savings. However, are you just going to enroll with the first online school you hear about without doing your due diligence?

Before you enroll, there are some things you want to know first.

The main thing is to ascertain whether or not the college is accredited. Accreditation is what separates the bogus colleges from the legitimate ones. To find out if a college is accredited, just go to Google and do a search for the “Chea” website. They have a comprehensive database of accredited institutions within North America.

Accredited online colleges have better instructors and facilities and their degrees are widely accepted amongst employers. Some students try to cut corners by attending an unaccredited college because it is less expensive than an accredited one. Despite the costs, it is well worth it to pay more to get an actual degree that you can use in the future.

Studies have shown that accredited online colleges are comparable to regular universities. If you read Thomas L. Russell’s book and website, No Significant Difference Phenomenon,” you”ll be presented with copious empirical evidence that suggests that in terms of education quality, pass rates and drop out rates, online and traditional colleges have similar performance levels.

You may be able to do a basic computer or book-keeping course online without accreditation but if your plan is to get a degree, accreditation absolutely cannot be compromised.

The next issue you need to be aware of is whether or not your prior college credits will transfer over to your prospective online college. The best case scenario is joining a university that accepts all of the hard work you put in before. This way, you’ll be able to complete your degree much faster.

There is the possibility that even though your prior credits were accredited, your current online school would insist on you doing over those courses with them. Just bear in mind that every school has different rules. You can give yourself the highest probability of getting your college credits accepted by attending accredited colleges only.

Also bear in mind that it is not only an issue of whether or not your credits can be transferred out but also how many credits can be transferred.

There are schools that allow you to transfer all of your credits while others have a limit as to how many you can transfer. It can be a pain dropping credits that you’ve invested your time, energy and money into. It may however be worth it if you feel that the particular school you’re interested in offers the quality degree program you need.

Something that often gets overlooked when looking at online colleges is what kinds of student services are available.

Many online schools do offer a career services center just like any other university. This gives you an opportunity to communicate with a counselor and look at what are the best courses for you to take and the opportunities available in the job market after graduation. You want to find out if your intended online school has this facility in place.

Not to be out done is the all important issue of money.

Most accredited online colleges are similar in price to regular universities. You’ll need to find out from your prospective online school what kind of financial aid they provide. Not all online schools offer the same number of financial aid opportunities. This could very well be the deciding factor in attending one online college or the other.

Also note that if a college is accredited, you”ll be eligible for Federal financial aid. As a matter of fact, a surefire way to determine accreditation is to see whether or not Federal financial aid is available for degree students at that school. If it isn’t, the school isn’t accredited.

Venturing into the online college world can be exciting but it is important that you ask the tough questions before you throw down your hard-earned cash.

There are many online universities out there, so take your time, do your research and seek advice if needs be.

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