Choosing an online college
The rise in the popularity of online learning in recent years has meant that virtually every college now offers online degree programs. There have even been a number of schools that have been created just to offer online degrees. That can make choosing one a bit of a problem. There are quite a few things that you are going to want to look at when you are picking a school. Far and away the most important is that the school is accredited. There are actually quite a few different accreditations that a school can have but the gold standard is regional accreditation. There are enough schools that meet this standard that there is really no reason to consider one that isn’t.
The first thing that you are going to have to do when you are choosing an online college is to decide on what you want to study. In general you are going to find that most online colleges offer a more limited range of subjects for study. In most cases the offerings are heavily geared towards business degrees. If you want to get a degree in business there will be little difficulty in finding a school, on the other hand if you want to study something that is less popular amongst online learners you may have some more difficulty. It is not just obscure subjects that are hard to find online degrees for. A liberal arts degree is surprisingly hard to find online, especially in the sciences.
The next thing that you are going to want to look at is the course schedule. Some schools offer courses that are self paced while others are going to require you to work on the semester system. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option so you are going to need to decide which you prefer. The advantage of a self paced course is that you can start at any time that you want and can work through your courses at your own pace. This gives you a great deal of flexibility but it does require that you be able to set and maintain your own schedule. This is something that a lot of people struggle with. The advantage of a semester program is that it provides you with more structure so that you can stay on track. The tradeoff is that you lose a lot of the scheduling flexibility.
There can be a remarkable variation in the cost of online colleges and this is something that you will need to take into consideration when choosing one. Unfortunately in many cases you don’t get what you pay for. A lot of for profit schools have been created in recent years, usually they are very expensive. While expensive they don’t generally provide you with the best quality education. In general the best option is to choose a state school, they are almost always the cheapest option and they usually provide the best quality education.