How to Choose the Best Online Classes
Deciding to pursue a degree online is an important step, but it’s only the beginning. Soon, the questions start to pop up. Where should I go? What should I study? How do I know if the school’s a good one, or if it’s right for me? There are many things to consider when beginning an online education, but these three things are at the top of the list.
- Do your research. Just as you would expect to spend time learning about a physical university, you need to take time to research your online education options. Not all online institutions are the same. Some let students take as many courses as they’d like, and some limit the number to two courses per semester. Additionally, determine what you want to study and see what online schools offer degrees in that field of study. You might wind up attending an online school you hadn’t heard of before only to discover a perfect fit.
- Check the accreditation. It’s vital that whatever online school you choose be accredited and recognized as a legitimate educational institution. In order to make sure you’re getting the quality of education you need, check that your chosen school has been accredited by a federally recognized body. The Office of Postsecondary Education can help you track down accreditation information about your school, and the Department of Education’s College Navigator is an authoritative listing of universities nationwide.
- Know the reputation. The ease of online communication has also given rise to some fraudulent business. As if choosing an online college weren’t enough, there’s also the daunting task of making sure it’s a legitimate degree-granting institution and not simply “diploma mills” created to make a profit at the expense of the students. Check ranking sites like U.S. News & World Report and the Online Education Database to get more information about the school. It’s also a good idea to perform a simple web search and see what comes up. Has the school made any negative headlines? Is anyone talking about the school? Has it been written about anywhere besides the school’s own site? Learning about a school’s reputation is one the best ways to avoid scams and ensure you only give your money and time to a legitimate institution that’s going to provide a quality education.
Online classes are seemingly available from an infinite number of sites these days, but choosing the right classes for you requires a little homework that will pay off in the end.