Although it doesn’t require moving somewhere new, choosing an online college is still a major decision. Because you’re going to invest a significant amount of time in completing your classes, it’s important to choose an online institution that’s going to help your future as much as possible.
How To Choose An Online College 101
If you’re excited about starting your online education but nervous that you’re going to pick the wrong program, the good news is there are several clear-cut factors you can use to guide your decision. Those factors are accreditation, ease of transferring and cost.
Let’s take a look at the details of each one now:
While it’s important to use all three factors during your evaluation process, if you could only use a single factor to make your decision, accreditation would be the one to utilize. The reason this factor is so important is it determines whether or not employers will place any value on the online education that you spend so much time obtaining.
Because an unaccredited program has no real value, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are unscrupulous operations that try to exaggerate or outright fake their accreditation status. As a result, it’s not enough for an online college to have the word “accredited” on their website.
Instead, you need to actually verify their accreditation status. The best way to do that is by conducting a free search through the US Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
Ease of Transferring
Before you start looking at potential online colleges and programs, it’s important to sit down and think about exactly what you want to accomplish in terms of your online education. But as with attending a traditional college, it’s OK if you don’t have your plan 100% nailed down.
For example, your short-term plan may be to obtain an associate’s degree so you’ll have the last qualification you need to get a specific job. While that’s a solid plan and something you can definitely accomplish with an online program, it’s worth thinking about what may be even further down the road for you.
Continuing with the example, you may decide that after a couple of years of working at the new job your associate’s degree allows you to get, you want to move to a higher position within the company. If the next position requires a bachelor’s degree, you won’t want to start from scratch.
What you will want is to be able to put the majority of the credits you earned for your associate’s towards your bachelor’s. The good news is you can ensure that option is always open to you by choosing a program with a strong reputation for making it as easy as possible to transfer credits.
If you’re worried that cost is actually going to prevent you from joining the program you truly feel is the best, you’ll be relieved to learn it actually doesn’t have to stand in your way. By taking advantage of any available financial aid, as well as looking into scholarships that you may qualify for, you should be able to bring the cost of any online program to a level that you can afford.
Now that you know which factors to focus on during your search for an online degree program, you’ll have no trouble finding the one that will put you on track to the future you truly want!
For more info: Click on “Subscribe to Newsletter” and enter your email address at the tops of the page to receive notice of this weekly feature and other new articles. You may also email your Job Search related questions to Mark@MarkMontoya.com Mark Montoya has been working in personal branding for more than a decade for hundreds of online and offline companies, small businesses and individual service professionals. His focus has been toward improving the way jobseekers find employment on the Internet. He has synthesized his expertise by helping job seekers obtain their ideal choice of employment over the Internet on his sites MyOnlineCareerSpace.com and MyOnlineCareerCoach.com, and through his books 101 Tips Every Job Seeker Should Know and The Ultimate Online Job Search eBook. Learn more at MarkMontoya.com, on Twitter, on LinkedIn or StumbleUpon, or Google+.
"It is the responsibility of the individual to reject the prospect of mediocrity and to strive for the betterment of society as a whole" ~ Mark Montoya