Online degree programs are a wonderful opportunity to further your education without the expense, inconvenience, or added the hassle of attending an in-person program. With online education on the rise, it can be overwhelming to find which school and program is the best fit for you and your needs.
Before you choose an online degree program, you want to be sure that you consider a number of factors. Here are five tips to help you choose an online degree program.
Some online courses require you to take additional in-class courses before and after the program. If you want to take only online courses, you may want to find out what the credit requirements are before you sign up. The last thing you want is to be unclear about requirements and sign up for a program where you cannot meet all of the expectations.
2. Confirm that the college is accredited
Not all online colleges are accredited. Accreditation is the best proof that your degree will have merit and value after graduation as well as a sign of the quality of the education you will receive. If you get a degree from one an unaccredited college, then it may not be any boon to your resume or salary expectations and you may waste your time.
For instance, Washington State University is an accredited college and it has some excellent online courses. A lot of online colleges, though, simply let you print out a bogus degree.
3. Check for Adequate Customer Support
When you take an online college course, you want to be sure that there is customer support. If the program crashes, you don’t want to lose valuable information. What happens if you are taking a timed test online and the program quits unexpectedly?
These days, most online schools have great customer service, but it may be worth it to do the research before you sign up. You don’t want to be in a frustrating situation with faulty technology. So try reaching out to current students at a variety of online colleges you may be interested in to check and see if they ever have any problems with IT support.
4. Read the Reviews
One of the best ways to find out if the coursework is interesting, professors engaging and even if customer service is adequate is to read all available online reviews. These reviews will also help you learn about the school’s culture, successful graduates, and an overall expectation for your time taking classes.
Just like you would look up a restaurant’s reviews, you want to be sure that you look up an online college’s reviews. You can usually find these reviews by doing a quick search online.
5. Look for Financial Aid
On top of everything, you may also want to do your research about whether the college offers financial aid, or has a financial aid program. Sure, college courses online may be more affordable but it always helps to have a little financial assistance.