Adults are incredibly busy. Whether it’s because of the job they have or the kids they take care of, we know time is very limited. This makes it challenging to attend an in-person college, so many adults turn to online college instead.
However, it can be daunting to figure out where to begin. We have put together the following five things you should consider when picking an online college:
Why is accreditation important?
While accreditation is voluntary, colleges go through the due process to show their programs meet certain standards of quality and stringency to attract students.
Online degree programs are accredited by agencies recognized by either the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Do check the online college’s accreditation status with either of the above before enrolling.
You can also apply for federal student aid at an accredited school, but not at one that has not earned accreditation status.
In the post-graduation scenario, many employers require your degree to be from an accredited school.
Selecting an accredited college for your online degree will help pave a secure path for your career success.
One of the major benefits of online school is that they tend to have flexible programs. For so many online college students, especially adults, also have jobs or families to take care of. Do check with the online college if they will allow you to take courses completely at your own pace on your own schedule.
Take a look at the program you are interested in and see what their group discussions, practical, lab sessions and exam schedules are like. See how variable you will be able to make your schedule.
Choose a college that has a variety of electives taught by a variety of people at the college, whether online or in person.
You can select electives based on your current interests and that are geared towards your major. If your interests change from one semester to the next or even a year or two in, you can switch up your electives to match your newfound interests.
Ensuring that the college you are attending has great program diversity creates confidence in your selection of classes and know that the college will be able to support you as you grow.
In addition to having a wide variety of classes within reach, program diversity also includes the degree programs. Some colleges have just bachelor’s degrees available, while some have associates all the way through masters or higher.
Having a variety of degrees to choose from will help you hit your educational goals. Definitely a factor worth considering when choosing your online college!
Easy Learning Environment
Some online colleges will require you to be online in a live class. Some will allow you to complete the class at your own place but take the exam with a live proctor using a webcam. Others may trust you to do the right thing with your class and exams.
Think about how you best learn. Are you capable of holding yourself accountable? Do you need the pressure of meeting with a live online class every week?
Whatever your learning style may be, will influence the kind of learning environment you want. Look into the different learning environments that the online colleges offer and see which one will best fit your needs.
Not to overlook are things like availability of software programs, tutoring, technical support, library, journals, academic and even career support.
Technical support is important because your learning is almost entirely online. You need your portal and backend systems to work all the time. All systems must work seamlessly.
Having tech support in easy reach, by phone, chat, and email is important to keep your education running smoothly.
Attending an online college also means studying and learning on your time at your own pace, by yourself. Oftentimes, this means working with subjects you may not be entirely comfortable with. This could lead to needing academic support in the form of a tutor.
Check with your online college and see what kinds of tutoring options they have. Many in-person colleges have tutoring centers that students can use whenever they need it. There is a good chance the online college will as well. Ensure it does, so that you know the support will be there when you need it.
Overall, there are many things to consider when thinking about how to pick an online college. Looking at all the different aspects listed above is incredibly important to research before deciding.