Online college degrees are becoming more popular. There are a number of disadvantages and advantages of pursuing a degree online. Before deciding to go the online route, you should definitely do your research and make sure that it is the right choice for you. Here are seven things potential online college students should know about online-only colleges.
1 – Accreditation
Accreditation (certification) is very important. Certification is confirmation from an external authority that a university or college — and sometimes, a particular program — meets certain criteria of quality. Even though getting certification is a voluntary process, certification increases the likelihood that employers will accept a job candidates education qualification. Certification also helps guarantee that credits earned at the online college can transfer to another school. It’s important to make sure that an online program has accreditation before enrolling.
2 – Flexibility
The great thing about online programs is that they are flexible. These programs are designed for busy adults who have other commitments. Online programs are usually designed to be flexible since they mostly attract working adults.
3 – Quality
Online-only does not automatically mean lesser quality. Students must weigh many variables — college, reputation, accessibility of student services, price and the course, to name a few. Understanding these variables will help you understand the quality of the school and program.
4 – Teacher Support
Access to school and student services are available for online programs. Just because students at online-only schools do not have access to a campus does not mean support staff are not available virtually. Students can also use video conferencing to get in touch with their teachers. Many online-only schools also provide services including career advice, tutors and a writing center.
5 – For – Profit Colleges
Many online colleges are for-profit colleges. While public institutions now are increasingly making separate online programs or divisions, online-only universities are more likely to be for profit than nonprofit. Some employers might be more reluctant to take for-profit online degrees, even though they do realize that quality varies widely within the industry.
6 – Clinical Requirements
Some classes may still require students to complete an in person component. This is the case for students pursuing nursing degrees. The only way to get hands on experience in a nursing program is to actually physically be in a hospital.
7 – The Right Fit
These programs are not right for everyone. If you are the type of person that learns best with a teacher in front of you, then an online school is not right for you. If you are the type that is very independent and has great time management skills then an online program would be a great fit for you.
Online colleges are great. They provide flexibility and a great education. Before you decide to pursue an online degree, you have to make sure you understand all of the factors and how it will affect you. The above 7 items are definitely things you need to know before you decide to attend an online school.