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Online Degree Colleges: What to Look for Before Spending Money

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Online College Degrees (23965)

More students are choosing to pursue a degree through an online college and for good reason. Online education saves time and money on travel and allows for a flexible schedule designed to fit individual lifestyles. Because of this increased demand, new online colleges are springing up all over North America offering a wide selection of courses and degree programs.

Unfortunately, many online colleges are simply degree mills, churning out graduates and worthless pieces of paper. Too many students graduate from these colleges only to discover their degree is not considered valid by the relevant industry or other educational bodies. If students do not do their research, it is possible to pay a considerable amount of money only to discover that their online college credentials are not recognized.

Therefore, before you do anything, it is crucial to ensure that your school of choice is accredited by the relevant government agency. College accreditation is a formal recognition or guarantee that a college meets expected standards and provides a quality education. The importance of accreditation is to assure students that the course they are taking will be recognized by employers and other universities or colleges An online college with accreditation assures that the degree courses are recognised in the work force.

In the United States there are six accreditation bodies which are approved by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Accreditation. To find out if your college of choice is accredited in the United States, visit the U.S. Department of Education, College search form.

In Canada, college accreditation is the responsibility of Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

The second criteria to consider when thinking of an online college is the number of degree programs it offers. The more programs offered, the greater likelihood students will find the courses that are closest to their needs and interests. This is important because colleges with a limited number of programs often offer generalized courses that cover the basics but may not be what students are looking for.

The next way to measure the quality of an online college is the retention rate. This evaluates the number of students who return to the school each semester. In other words, if a college has a low retention rate, this means that many students dropped out or did not return. If retention is high, then students are happy with their courses and the college. The main reason students leave college is because they chose the wrong course, usually claiming it was not what they expected or wanted. This is another reason to choose a school with a greater number of programs.

Finally, examine the college's graduation rate. This is equally important as it tells prospective students how many students graduated versus the number that dropped out. A good college, whether online or campus-based, will have a significant number of successful graduates.

Taking the time to research an online college will make certain that students will receive a quality degree, one that will be recognized in the workforce or can be applied to further education. Always choose online colleges that are accredited, offer a good selection of courses and degrees, and have high retention and graduation rates.



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