What to look for in an online university

What to look for in an online university

For many Americans, the first step towards enhancing their careers and improving their lives is making the decision to go back to school to obtain a degree. If they choose to get their undergraduate or post graduate degree through an online learning center or distance learning program, the next crucial step is deciding which online school to choose. How do you know which online university is the best?

One of the most important things to look for when choosing an online learning center is whether or not the program you are interested in is accredited. It may be a great program and you might learn a lot, but if the degree or certificate you earn does not come from an accredited learning center, it is virtually worthless. Potential employers no longer buy into the myth that degrees from online universities are less valuable than those from traditional colleges; however, they do want the online degree to come from a fully accredited online institution. Fortunately, it is not difficult to determine an online learning programs level of accreditation. The school’s website should include their credentials and accreditation information. If the online or distance learning program you are considering does not list this information on their website, then perhaps it likely is not the right school for you.

After confirming that an online learning center is accredited, you should check into their program offerings to see if they offer the degree you are interested in. A great variety of degrees can be obtained online that will help you to get a new job or advance within your current company. Browse the online university’s website to determine if they offer the degree or certificate program you are hoping to complete. You may even discover a new and exciting field that you have yet to consider.

Once you know that an online learning center is accredited and offers the program you are interested in, you should investigate their application procedure and prerequisite requirements. Some require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and if you are seeking a post graduate degree an undergraduate degree is almost certainly a prerequisite. If you do not currently qualify for the program you are interested in, there may be an entry level course you can take so that you meet the requirements.

Another important factor when selecting the best online or distance learning program for you is their course requirements. The key to successfully obtaining a degree through an online program is to not overload yourself with work. It is likely that you will be obtaining your degree while working a full-time job so your time is both limited and precious. If you choose a program that requires you to take too many courses at once, you are likely to fall behind, get frustrated, and drop out. Make sure you select a program that allows a flexible schedule so that you can give yourself the best shot at success.


Oct 7, 2011