Researching & Applying
Rule number one in choosing an online college: never pick a school before you decide on a career goal and a major. Choosing a college before choosing a major is like choosing a medical specialist for an injury you don't have yet. Don't even browse through college names until you have a major in mind.
Why not? Because some colleges don't offer certain majors — even popular options. And some colleges can't help you work towards professional certification. For example, if a teacher education program is not recognized by the college's home state as being "state-approved," you probably can't apply that degree towards teacher certification in your state.
This doesn't mean that the school in question is a bad school. In fact, the college may have wonderful programs to offer other students, who happen to have different circumstances. But you need to be sure that the college you select is ideal for your chosen major and your chosen career plan.
If you don't yet have a career goal or a major in mind, go back to the previous section — Subjects to Study (and Careers that Go with Them). If, on the other hand, you're already confident about the major you want to pursue, search eLearners' catalog for a list of online colleges that offer your major. Using the Quick Degree Finder tool, you can enter your desired degree level, the category of your major, and the exact subject you wish to study.
Once you have a list of colleges that offer your chosen major, you can compare them based on the other factors that we discuss in the section.