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How to Choose an Online School

As the novel coronavirus infects and kills more people in the United States, several schools and campuses have chosen to forgo in-person classes in favor of remote learning.  In response to the pandemic and isolation measures put in place in most countries, course providers are offering learning content for free or at a heavily discounted price. This could be the perfect time to enroll in an online course and take your career in a new direction by learning to code, improve your communication skills at work, or even enrich evening hours with a cooking course.

After you’ve determined that online college is the best choice for you, there’s another significant decision you’ll have to make: which school to attend. Despite hundreds of colleges throughout the United States offering online degree programs, the number of options is daunting. Students have a range of options to narrow their school choices. Take a look at this handy guide that offers some key points to consider before you make your decision.

What to Look for in an Online College

Not all online schools and colleges are equal. How do you ensure you choose a quality institution? Below are checklist points to keep an eye out for:

Accreditation

The majority of students are opting for a college degree for at least two reasons: to grow their knowledge and skills and to improve their curriculum vitae. In order to achieve these objectives, students must attend schools with accredited programs that are respected by prospective employers. The first step in determining the quality of the program is to decide if the program is accredited by the appropriate accreditation bodies. Accreditation of online college degree programs is important because it ensures that you get a quality education. Unaccredited programs may not cover the full curriculum that you will need to know to be successful in your chosen field, and employers are unlikely to give much weight to a degree earned from an unaccredited college when considering you as a job candidate.

Check Out the Credit Transfer Requirements

Many students, especially those seeking a graduate degree, start their online education career with credits from a previous institution that they may wish to use to earn their online degree. However, every institution has different credit transfer criteria. Therefore, requesting an official transfer estimate from your prospective schools will help in your school selection process. As a rule, most schools typically accept between 30 to 50 percent of all credits transferred.

Full-time certified teachers

Accreditation typically goes hand in hand with the teacher certification. Yet finding out how many teachers are available full-time employees versus semester-long contractors can also be helpful. Do a little sleuthing to find out the educational history of your professors. Make sure they are certified and licensed teachers. Besides, having professors that have real-world experience in the field means that they can provide insider information and advice.

Is There A Dedicated Administrative Team?

This is quite crucial to your online experience. You want to attend an online college that cares about your educational experience and will do everything that they can to ensure your success. You need an administrative team that will promptly respond to your calls or Emails and sends out needed forms and applications in a timely manner.

Students wouldn’t want a faulty website or course management program to disrupt them. Even because the curriculum is online does not mean that when they need it, the students will not be able to contact a real person for support.

Read Online Course Descriptions

The course catalog may be available online, but then you can contact the school to ask for a more detailed digital copy. The course catalog will describe the goals and objectives of the course, the required materials, the time specifications, and the difficulty level. Understanding how the course works will help you determine if you are interested in it and have the ability to complete it in the semester allotted to it.

Take A Demo Online Course

Completing a demo online course, if available, allows you to familiarize yourself with the technology used. Some schools boast the state-of-the-art technology, but technology is not a substitute for education. Ensuring that you will be receiving quality, helpful information in your courses will help you choose a suitable online college.

Consider Tuition costs

Just as with any other college, tuition costs vary by online school and degree program. If funding for your education is going to be an issue, plan ahead to research and compare tuition prices for a variety of schools. Also, be sure to find out any additional expenses you may be expected to pay. Whether you evaluate a school-based solely on accreditation, reputation, and research or you use a new Internet tool to decide; you should always prioritize what factors matter most to you personally. Education isn’t one-size-fits-all, and different college choices are right for different students.

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