Are you looking for a good online degree program? Trying to choose a college that suits your requirements? Confused about where to begin? Well, since location is not important when deciding on an online degree program, you literally have hundreds of programs to choose from, making things even more confusing. To make things simpler the following is a list of things to look out for when choosing an online degree program:
1. Check out the track record. Universities and colleges have snazzy brochures and catchy advertising to lure students in to enroll for their programs. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by such slick marketing. Instead, take some time and check the graduation and drop out rates for the program you are interested in. It will give you a clearer picture of how well students are being taught by the particular school.
2. With online education growing by leaps and bounds, the entrances of ‘diploma mills,’ which churn out degrees that are more or less useless have also increased. To be on the safe side, make sure that you are enrolled with a college that is accredited by a United States Department of Education recognized accreditation agency. Without this accreditation, you might end up with a degree that is not acknowledged in the work place.
3. When deciding on your online degree program, find out if it specializes in the programs you need for your career advancement. If possible, ask the relevant employers if the degree you are interested in is recognized by them. Check if the programs being offered have up to date material, particularly in the field of your interest. Also check if the license or certificate being applied for at graduation is valid in the state where you plan to use it.
4. Colleges and the online degree programs they offer have different policies regarding credit transfers. Not every university will accept online credits, so check before enrolling.
5. Who is on the faculty? The quality of the faculty is imperative in an online program. Success depends on how students are instructed and guided through the study material. Check how long the faculty of the program has taught online and whether teacher-student interaction is encouraged by the college. If it’s possible, take a look at how classes are conducted before you sign up. It will give you a better idea of the teaching style, communication levels and how students are assessed.
6. Before committing any time or money to a program, read the fine print carefully. Study the program schedule to ensure that you will be able to meet all the deadlines and submit your assignments on time.
7. Look for a well-designed program that is clearly organized with in-depth instructions for assignments and other logistics. There should be opportunities for interaction and activities that encourage students to participate.
8. Are there special services offered to online students by the college of your choice? Will there be someone to help you out and answer your questions on financial aid or where to research your next assignment? Is the school’s website accessible and is the program advisor responsive to your calls and e-mails? Clear cut and transparent information is essential for any good program to function.
9. Before enrolling for your program, it is recommended that you e-mail the school a list of your questions about the program. Some of these questions could include: Is the program completely online or is there a portion that has to be completed on-campus? Are there entrance exams to be taken before being accepted for the program? How does one register? Are there facilities for online tutoring in case you have problems with the program material? How soon can you complete your degree?
10. Enquire about how the college handles the technical and technology requirements of online students. Since you might be working on your assignments at any time – night or day, it is important that tech support should be available around the clock.
Once you have all the answers to these questions and are sufficiently satisfied with the information you have received, you can confidently go ahead and sign up for the online education degree program, taking that first step towards enhancing your career and your qualifications.