Choosing a degree at a traditional brick-and-mortar college is often a pretty straightforward task. You can talk to professors and other students, attend major fairs, and take a variety of exploratory classes to figure out what works best for you. However, choosing an online degree can be a completely different ballgame. A lot of the time you choose the degree before you find the school, which limits your ability to explore classes and makes choosing the right school a little more complicated. So how do you figure out which school and degree are right for you?
Check Out Their Website
While visiting a school’s website isn’t going to garner the same results as visiting an actual campus, you can learn a lot from a school’s website. Navigate around the site and learn everything you can about the school and what they offer. Since you are doing your courses online, it is important that their website be informative and easy to use. The experience you have with their website is a precursor to what you are likely to experience as a student.
Browsing their website will also help you figure out what is important to the people in charge of the university. Are they a for-profit or nonprofit school? Do they provide resources for their students or are they more interested in tooting their own horn? These are important things to know and you can get a feel for them based on content.
Check Out Their Accreditation
A degree is only as good as the school from which it comes. Make sure the college is accredited. This is probably one of the most important things you can do whether you’re choosing an online or on-campus school. Don’t just determine if it’s accredited, but examine these accreditations for both the college as a whole and the individual programs. For instance, if they offer teaching degrees, it is important to have accreditation from a teacher’s association to prove they teach the proper skills. Even if the program is good, without the accreditation, you may not be eligible to work in some areas.
Ask Financial Questions
Knowing what about the school and their accreditations is important, but you should also look into the financial aspects. This is where you can catch some of the schools that are just trying to scam you. Look at how much it is going to cost you, and what additional fees are for. Even if the school is legitimate, you will want to figure out if you are eligible for financial aid or student loans. If you are taking online classes offered by a traditional university, you should find out if you can be excused for any fees that are required of students who attend classes at the university’s physical locations.
Ask Students About the School
University employees are going to tell you all about the good things going on and all the benefits of their programs. They may not be very forthcoming about the negative side of things or the things that don’t work very well. You want to see both sides, so it is important that you try to talk to some of the students who attend this university, so you can get a better view of everything. Most students won’t hesitate to tell you about the things that they don’t like or the things that they love. You may even find that the admissions office sees some things as a benefit that actually makes life a little more difficult for students.
Whether this is your first or second degree or you are trying to finish what you started a while ago, it is important that you get a good education. Make sure you really do your research before you pay up for your education. It’s a big purchase and you don’t want to end up regretting your decision.