What Makes a Good Online Degree or College?

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How can you be sure a college is right for you?

Ultimately, you are the only person qualified to answer this question! We can provide some insight as to some of the factors to consider when selecting a distance learning course, degree or provider:

Online degrees and courses:

  • What delivery and media technologies are used?

  • What interactive tools and strategies will be used?

  • Do the instructors have previous experience with distance education, as either an online learner or instructor?

  • What formal training and credentials do the instructors have?

  • How many students will be in the online course?

  • Are there any prerequisites or entrance criteria necessary for new students?

  • How will your work be evaluated?

  • How do the costs compare to other learning options?

  • Does the curriculum reflect your learning needs or goals?

  • How many weeks does each course last? Is this an accelerated program or traditional semester length?

  • Is the delivery method synchronous, asynchronous, self-paced, cohort style or other?

Colleges, universities, and schools:

  • What is the reputation of this college or school?

  • Are their programs and offerings accredited and if so what type of accreditation do they have?

  • Can you speak to employers who have hired their graduates?

  • Can you speak to learners who have used their offerings?

  • What types of resources will be available to you?

  • How long have they been offering distance learning?

  • Do they use one of the leading learning management/delivery systems such as Blackboard® or Moodle?

  • Is financial aid available at this school?

  • Does the school have the degree or course of study you are looking for?

  • How are the learner support services for the school and are they accessible?

  • If applicable, does this school and its degree program meet state licensure requirements? For example, if your goal is to be a Certified Public Accountant, do you know for sure that this program will meet your state's requirements?

Your criteria and personal circumstances:

  • Do you know what you'd like to study or what degree you'd like to earn?

  • Do you have a preference for certain schools or school reputations? In other words, is it imperative that you enter a nationally-ranked top ten business school?

  • Do you know the top-rated schools for your field of study? (e.g. New York University would be an excellent, top rated business school, however, if your focus is computer programming, New Jersey Institute of Technology might be a better fit.)

  • Have you considered what you intend to do with the degree once you graduate?

  • Do you know if this school/degree/program will enable you to meet your goals?

  • Do you have a budget or know what amount of tuition you can afford?

  • Do you have personal scheduling considerations?

  • Have you spoken with those already working within the profession you are aspiring to enter or move up within? What do they have to say?

  • Are you going to be employed part-time or full-time while a student?

  • What are your familial obligations? Can you sacrifice time away from your family to learn and if so, how much?

  • Do you have the support of your family and does everyone have realistic expectations as to what will be required of you?

  • Do you want to attend school at an accelerated pace, full-time, or part-time?

  • How much education do you currently have? How many transfer credits, etc.?

  • Are you willing to take a GMAT or GRE if required for the school's application process?

Again, this is not an exhaustive list but, these are the kind of questions you should consider when planning your journey.