Earning an Online Degree – Checking Out your Options

After you have made the decision to earn an online college degree, your first step is to find the “right” college or university. To do so requires some simple yet important research.

Degrees from unaccredited institutions are worth nothing in the world of work. In fact, simply listing a degree from an unaccredited institution on a resume or on an employment application will often result in the resume or application being discarded immediately by a prospective employer. Rule #1 is, never enroll in a degree program that is not fully accredited. Rule #2 is that you should never break rule #1.

Coursework designed for the traditional classroom may not adapt well to online education. Be certain the program you choose has been designed to accommodate the needs of online learners.

Convenience and flexibility are also critically important to most students considering online college degree programs. Therefore, you probably need to be sure the online college or university you choose allows you to do your assignments at a time and pace in line with the other demands on your time. Also, try to determine which online colleges offer the most interaction with faculty and other students.

Online degree programs vary considerably in cost. Some cost far less than traditional degree programs, while others cost significantly more. Obviously, cost is a factor for most students.

Remember, however, that the “sticker price” of a college may not be your actual cost. Most online colleges and universities offer financial aid, and some offer scholarships. And, if you do a search in Google or Yahoo for “online college scholarships” (without the quotation marks), you’ll find some good, free scholarship search sites.

Be sure you understand the process of applying for scholarships and financial aid and that you adhere to all deadlines. Admissions and financial aid counselors at the colleges of interest to you will gladly inform and assist you, so don’t be shy about requesting the help you need.

The bottom line is that the more questions you ask and the more answers you find, the better your chances of selecting the online college, the degree program, and the educational financing options best for you. Do not be intimidated; be a thoughtful consumer and select a college or university as carefully as you would any other important, high priced product or service.

Dr. Casper Poodel is a contributing editor for a leading educational organization which sponsors websites on subjects including online colleges and fully accredited the best cheap online degree programs.

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