How to Find a Good Online College in the United States, How to Find a Good Online College in the United States
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– How to Find a Good Online College –
Have you considered how to find a good online college? I’m sure you did it. You’ve entered the world of online learning. You’ve decided on the major you’d like to pursue. However, deciding which institution you want to attend causes a separate search.
Fortunately, there are lots of excellent degree programs available 100% online that can help you affordably achieve your academic goals and find career success.
This article assists you to get your feet wet and guide you along with 10 helpful tips to find a good online college.
How to Find a Good Online College
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all degree programs are the same. Online courses, like those at traditional brick-and-mortar colleges, are diverse, with some being more challenging than others.
As with any educational expenditure, knowing the cost of courses, the typical length of time it takes a student to finish the program, and the number of credits required to graduate is critical.
1. For How Long has the Online College Been Around
Colleges and universities that have been around for many decades offer many online degree programs, and most times, founded over a century ago.
When you earn your degree online from a school with an established reputation, your degree has proven value.
Evaluate schools with shorter institutional histories by looking at their relationships and partnerships within the educational community, institutions, employers, and alumni.
You can tell a lot about a school by the partnerships it maintains and its student success and satisfaction rates.
2. Is the College or University Accredited
Think of accreditation as an insurance policy that protects the value of your education. The U.S. Department of Education says it best:
“The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.”
It does you no good to invest a lot of money in a school that is not accredited by agencies. Example: If you received training in medical coding from an unaccredited school, that credential isn’t worth much when you apply for jobs.
3. Does the Online Degree Program Accept Transfer Credits
According to research, one of the best ways to reduce taking on student debt and increase your chances of graduating on time is by enrolling only in courses that offer a direct route to graduation.
Online degree programs that make it easy to transfer existing college credits or low-cost online courses are most likely to offer a direct pathway to your degree.
One way to lower the cost of your online degree is to take your general education courses online here at StraighterLine and then transfer them directly into schools in our network of nearly 100 accredited colleges.
4. Is the School in a Good Financial Position
Use caution when considering schools that are having financial challenges, are reluctant to share important financial data, or have seemed to just set up shop without prior academic success or experience.
Look to see if they have strong ties or relationships with partners and respected academic institutions.
5. Are There Any Hidden Costs
Sometimes there can be hidden costs to an online degree program, from technology to lab fees. Reputable programs will make sure any “extra” costs are transparent, such as if there are any on-campus requirements.
Also, be sure to explore the financial consequences of taking any time off. An advantage of taking your general education course online.
Also, prior to enrolling in an online degree program, is that you can take as many courses as you want and work at your own place.
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6. Can the Degree Program Help you Reach Your Career Goals
Too many students load up on excessive and unnecessary credits – and end up spending too much time and money to complete their degrees.
Make sure the courses and degrees make sense for your post-graduation goals. Ask for, and review, a degree plan before you enrol.
Verify student employment and placement rates – and understand the value of your degree to potential employers.
7. Are Online Courses Best in Class
They make not all online courses equal. Courses with stale material can put you out of step in a changing workplace.
Check out which textbooks are required. Are they reputable? Are they up-to-date? Find out if you can take your lab courses online and at home.
Also, many of the best online programs will team up with award-winning courseware provides so you can benefit from the latest learning content and technologies and find greater success.
8. Type of Academic, Career, and Technical Support Available to Online Students
A well-staffed support team can help you get the academic support you need when you need it – and help keep you on track for on-time graduation.
Further, check out your online tutoring options and your access to student advisors. Again, don’t base your decision on a program’s sales pitch.
However, ensure that online students have equal access to career service support and opportunities.
Also, as an online student, you can expect to encounter technical issues from time to time. Be sure the online degree program you are considering has multiple methods.
Again, it should help you walk through any technology-based issues, including chat, phone, or email.
9. What are the Program’s on-time Graduation Rates
Every extra year spent on your college degree is a year of added cost – and added debt. Online or not, you’ll pay an extra $15,933 for every extra year at a public two-year college.
Also, $22,826 for every extra year at a public four-year college.
Again, 4 years of college is significantly less expensive than five or six, and earning your bachelor’s degree in 3 years will cost you significantly less than four years.
Furthermore, online education can provide opportunities to speed up your time to degree – see if your program can allow you to move at your own pace and on your own schedule.
10. What are the Cost and Average Student Debt
First, there is an enormous variation in the cost of online degree programs. There are many excellent, high-quality, flexible and reputable online degree programs that can help you affordably earn your college degree.
A caution just because you can pay for your degree program with the help of loans does not make the degree program affordable!
Moreso, be able to pay your student loan debt back without sacrificing your future. Therefore, the key to choosing an affordable degree program is focusing on lowering your tuition costs.
Alternatively, students who take advantage of scholarships and tuition discounts available through an online course provider.
For example, StraighterLine can save up to 60% on the total cost of their degree through a network of accredited colleges.
In conclusion, with online degree programs, you have an amazing opportunity to graduate with the degree you want, from the school you want for a fraction of the price.
Know your options, ask the correct questions, and be confident that you can find an online college that’s right for you. Furthermore, share this information with your family and friends. You may help someone.
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