The number of students enrolling in online classes is on the rise. One study revealed that the percentage of students learning online has risen since 2014, with some students taking one hundred percent of their coursework over the internet. With the choice of online schools increasing, comparing available degrees, tuition, and class schedules can be daunting. However, if you are ready to choose an online school, there are a few strategies you can use to find the one that best suits your educational and financial needs.
1. Consider Your Priorities
Before you start looking at online schools, it may help if you sit down and make a list of your educational priorities first. Knowing exactly what you hope to accomplish with your education and how you plan to reach those goals can help you narrow down your many choices.
For example, if you want to earn a degree in as little time as possible, consider schools that offer fast- track courses or that allow you to count work experience as class credit. If the cost of tuition is a major issue, consider an online not-for-profit college and how this kind of institution differs from a for-profit university. No matter which you choose, take the time to research a school’s financial aid opportunities and how you might qualify.
2. Research Accreditation
You can narrow your list of online colleges by only choosing those that are accredited by an official peer review board. When colleges are accredited, you can be assured that the education you receive is a quality one. Earning a degree from an online college that is not accredited may not be of much value, especially when you seek employment once you finish. If an online school carries accreditation, that information should be prominently displayed on its website.
3. Consider Education Opportunities
Not all online colleges offer the same kinds of educational opportunities, and understanding what individual universities offer can help you decide which is the best choice for you. To illustrate this point, examine this infographic from Case Western Reserve University, which explains what online students can expect when they enroll to earn a Master of Science in Social Administration. Knowing exactly what to expect and how the professors and student support services will assist you with earning your degree and giving you a positive online college experience can be important when it comes to choosing a school.
4. Realize Your Employment Goals
While enrolling in online college can be exciting, you may also want to think about the future and what kind of employment plans you have. Using this strategy may not only help you find the right online program, it might also help you choose a degree plan that can help you find a job with more ease once you graduate. Understanding your employment goals can also help to ensure you take classes that will serve your career and avoid those that might be a waste of time and money.
Choosing an online college can be a confusing journey. However, when you understand your educational, financial, and employment goals, finding a school that matches them might be a bit less stressful.