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Choosing the Right Online School

By Brenda on July 15th, 2011
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Choosing to best online college or university for you takes a little digging under the surface. Most online schools have excellent websites, great sounding programs, and several degree options, but no two schools are the same. Of course tuition prices are a major factor but there are other things that you should consider. Read on to find out…

State Licensing Approval

Many professions require licensure in order to legally practice. Approximately 1 out of 5 occupations requires you to be licensed by an organization so you have to make sure the licensing body recognizes the school you are planning on attending.

Regional versus National Accreditation

In general, attending a regionally or nationally accredited does not make a significant difference except if you plan on going into a career where you know you will have to obtain a degree later on. If the school you are thinking about matriculating to only offers associate’s degrees but you know you need a master’s degree you had better make sure the school is regionally accredited. Why? Regionally accredited schools do not accept credits from a nationally accredited school in most cases. For example, if you received a bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited school and then transferred to a regional school to get your master’s degree, chances are they would not accept any of your credits.

Scheduling

One of the main benefits of online learning is that the schedules are flexible. But not all online institutions work the same. Some follow a traditional quarter or semester system where the term is 12-16 weeks while others break up courses into 8-10 weeks. Some online learning schools also offer self-paced programs meaning they follow no academic calendar leaving it up to the student when they want to complete. You should take into consideration your personal schedule as well as what schedule accommodates your learning style best. Some students are self motivated and will finish a self-paced program while others need the accountability of deadlines imposed by a calendar system.

Student Services

Most of the tuition money at online schools goes into personnel costs and student services. Ancillary services such as career counseling, student advising, job placement, tutoring, and virtual libraries can enrich your academic experience and make your journey a lot easier. If you are a student who wants to utilize these services you should take the time to see which programs are offered because institutional student services vary from school to school.

You wouldn’t purchase a car without first checking out all the options so use that same mentality when selecting schools. Taking more time up front to find the best fit can potentially save you a lot of time and money. Students who attend the wrong university end up transferring, dropping out of school altogether, and wasting a lot of tuition money. You are better suited to make the right choice the first time. If you know anyone who has experience attending an online school sit down with them and see what their thoughts are.

 

Category: Degrees,Online Degrees,Other and General