10 Rules to know When Choosing Online Distance Education Colleges

by Mary Jackson

Check to ensure the college is accredited by a legitimate accrediting agency. Accreditation means the college and its programs meet certain set educational quality and standards. This also means courses and credits acquired can be easily transferred to another accredited institution, whether online or brick and mortar college. You will stand a better chance of securing employment or promotion at work if you have an accredited degree.

Degree mills and fake colleges – today the internet is flooded with fraud and fake accrediting institutions that give “accreditation” to any willing organization at a fee. Be safe and stay on the look-out for such institutions when you’re choosing your online distance education college. There are always “tell-tale” signs of institutions that are not legitimately accredited. If in doubt, check with the United Stated Department of Education or CHEA to find out if the college you are interested in is accredited.

To ensure that the degree program your are considering is aligned with your long-term educational goals, especially if you think you’ll need to advance your degree (for example from bachelors to MBA), it’ll benefit you to check if the online distance education institution you’d want to attend for your MBA accepts transfer credits from another online institution.

Class size is as important in online education as it is in a traditional college classroom. Do your research on the average class sizes at the online distance education institution you are considering. Small classes make it easier to interact and voice your opinion.

It good to know more about the instructors of the programs you are interested in. Are they qualified to teach that class? Do they have experience in their field or specialization? Have they taught online classes before? How long have they been teaching? Get the answers to these questions. It is more reassuring if more instructors hold degrees from the college that you’re planning to enroll.

Find out if it easy to contact your instructor or administration should you have questions or need help. The level of support offered to students varies considerably from college to college. Choose one in line with your needs and expectations.

Since most colleges begin their online distance education programs anytime and all the time, don’t feel pressured to begin your program right away if you’re not psychologically ready. Online education calls for motivation, thus you should only begin when you feel emotionally set and ready to put the effort to get through with your learning.

Be sure you understand whether a certificate or degree can be completed entirely online or whether on site projects, class meetings, or residency periods will be required.

Check if the institution you’re interested in offers any form of financial aid assistance. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that financial aid, loans and the scholarships available to you. In addition, many colleges and universities offer tuition installment plans which help make college more affordable. Ask before you enroll whether such programs exist.

Your research for a good online college should not be a hurried task. Invest time in it and ask lots of questions. Quality education is crucial to your career advancement thus you should not get less than you deserve. New and traditional colleges are coming up with online programs every day. You have more choices than ever before to get your best education online.

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