College education has become an important requirement to obtain a fulfilling job in today’s society. Some people have to juggle going to work and school to pay their bills. Additionally, more moms have been pursuing a college education while taking care of their children at home. Consequently, there is a growing demand for convenient college education for people who are not able to attend a physical college campus.
Online college programs have been popping up all over the internet and aggressively targeting people who prefer to study off-campus. This is a miracle for many people whose circumstances would have prevented them from attending college in person. Now, the only problem is, making sure that these online programs meet the quality standards of a proper college education.
As you try to upgrade your qualifications through online studies, make sure that you thoroughly vet the colleges and choose the one that is best for you.
This checklist can help you to do a reliable assessment of online college programs.
- College Reviews: You can find out which online colleges have great reviews for the major that you want to study. GetEducated College Reviews is a review site that provides information primarily about online college programs. Hence, you can conduct a search based on a degree level, a field of study and a concentration. This can help you to find a list of the colleges that offer what you are looking for. This site also offers information about the accreditation and the ranking of the colleges.
- Accreditation: There is no sense in pursuing a college diploma or degree that is not accredited. Accreditation ensures that a college program meets the required quality of standards that are needed to meet the expectations of employers in a particular field of study. Graduates of accredited college programs are more likely to enjoy higher wages for their qualifications. However, unaccredited college programs are not usually recognized by employers. Therefore it is more difficult for graduates from these programs to get a job. Moreover, if they are fortunate to find a job, no compensation is offered for these diplomas or degrees.
- The Courses: You can find information about the courses that are covered for a particular diploma or degree. This information can be found online. Or you can request a brochure that has more details. Examine the course details and check online job sites and professional blogs. This will help you to ensure that these courses adequately cover the skills and competencies required by employers in your field. If your occupation will require a license after you finish the program, check the requirements of the licensing authority. You must make sure that these courses will help you meet the expected criteria.
- Cost of the Program: It is important to compare the costs of online college programs. Make sure that you do not pay a fortune for a program that you could pay half the price for at another college. Additionally, find out about grants and aids that can help you to pay for your college education.
- Student Reviews: Besides considering how a college is ranked or whether it is accredited, it is important to consider the experiences of graduates and students who actually attend that college. You can examine the college’s Yelp reviews, Google reviews and student reviews to find more detailed first-hand college experiences. These reviews will tell you what the College websites and other resources will not tell you, especially about negative experiences. For example, students can tell you about the efficiency of the resources provided including training material and instructors. They can also tell you whether the content of the courses is outdated or whether the courses are not practical enough.
- Transferability of Credits: Another important factor to consider is whether the credits are transferable. If you wanted to transfer to another college program for whatever reason, will your completed credits be transferrable? Additionally, if you wanted to upgrade your studies, let’s say from a diploma to a degree, will your diploma be recognized? Will it reduce the number of years you will need to spend upgrading to a higher degree?
It is so frustrating to find out that your college program is not valued after spending thousands of dollars and precious time to complete it. I use the term ‘valued’ instead of ‘accredited’ to point out that not all accredited programs are valued. Your main goal of going to college is to be more marketable and valuable in your career.
However, some college programs are celebrated as passing the quality standards expected by employers while other online college programs are seen as inferior.
You don’t have to waste your time and money doing an online college program that is not valued by employers and professionals in your field. Use the checklist above to thoroughly vet the quality of an online college education program.
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