With a huge growth in online education, choosing an online college can be a task fraught with pitfalls. You are investing in yourself and your future so it’s important you approach choosing an online college as a serious and important decision. Essentially, the process shouldn’t differ from the principles of deciding between brick and mortar colleges, but there are certain differences and factors to consider when choosing an online college that you should definitely be aware of. Here they are.
1. Are Non Teaching Staff There for You?
Are there other support staff? Does the online college have technical support staff, a complaints department or an admin office? You need to check to see if you are going to be left hanging on when you have a problem. Not all of your problems are going to involve your studies, so make sure you check the availability and quality of the support staff when you are choosing an online college.
2. Check out the Course via Its Overview
If you are looking for online courses then you should choose one that suits all of your career goals. You therefore need to get an overview of the course. You should find out if it will help you get your desired job, and you should find all the relevant details before agreeing to do start the degree/qualification.
3. Will the Degree Actually Make a Difference?
You need to have a fair idea of what your career goals are. You need to be sure that the degree you are getting is going to help you in that career. You also need to find out if that degree is actually needed. Are there people in the profession who do not have the degree? How much extra effort would it take for you to achieve your career goal if you did not have a degree?
4. How Convenient is the Online Course
When choosing an online college you need to ask yourself how convenient studying online is. Is it as convenient as attending a college? Do they hold night time classes? Are online lectures done during the day when you are at work?
5. Can the Course Credits Be Transferred?
Whenever you do an online course you need to make sure that all of your online classes can have their credit transferred to another college (be it an online or offline one). If credits cannot be transferred then you may need to reconsider taking the course with that online school. You should find another online course.
6. How Much the Course is Going to Cost You?
Even though you are choosing an online college, you cannot ignore the cost of it. You need to be sure that your tuition fees are affordable. If you cannot pay it all up front then you need to be sure that you are not going to run out of money halfway though. Find out if the course you are doing has a scholarship program.
7. Make Sure That It is Accredited
You should always check to see if the college you are applying for has actually been accredited by the U.S Department of Education. It is the government’s way of saying that the college conforms to all current standards, and that the qualifications you get from it are real and usable in America. You need to make sure that any accreditations are real before enrolling.
8. Consider the Cost of Study Materials
One of the costs of studying online is the study materials. They should be calculated along with your tuition fees. Books alone often cost a lot of money, and you cannot assume that all of your textbooks will be provided by the online course. You need to get a quote for how much your study materials will cost you.
9. How Available Are Your Online Instructors
You are going to have questions and comments as you are doing your course. It will do you no favors if you submit a question and have to wait three days for an answer. You should check the availability of your online instructors to see if you are going to be left hanging for days.
10. The Curriculum and Assignments
The way the assignments are given, and the coursework schedule, needs to be scrutinized. You need to be sure that you will be free to complete the coursework when it is given. You should also check the curriculum if you can. Does it feature a lot of subject matter that you are known to struggle on?
The premise of choosing an online college is simply to make sure everything – or as much of everything – fits your needs. It’s easy to think online study is the simple option, but it isn’t always the case. ‘Scuse the pun, but do your homework when choosing an online course. Where do you attend college, online or off?