Top online schools educate tens of thousands of students each year in a broad range of majors and disciplines. Because these schools are generally accredited by regional and/or national accrediting agencies, academic credits earned at the schools are often transferrable to other private or public institutions of higher learning.
As the Internet continues to attract businesses, entrepreneurs and educators, it seems as if the numbers of colleges and universities offering distance learning courses is increasing. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that during the 2007-2008 school year, approximately 20 percent of undergraduate students took one or more distance learning courses. Even when students take classroom courses, some professors allow the students to use the Internet to complete a portion of their assignments.
However, the growing popularity of distance learning has also seen unaccredited schools, sometimes referred to as diploma mills, cropping up on the Internet. Getting degrees from these schools may not help you to land quality jobs that pay attractive salaries. You also might not be able to transfer credits from these schools to highly regarded higher education institutions so you can earn advanced degrees. These reasons make it important for you to do background checks on schools you’re thinking about enrolling at so you enroll in top rated online schools.
Learning More about Your Online College
To get started on your checks, you can review college rankings created by publications like the Princeton Review, Washington Monthly, the Wall Street Journal or U.S. News and World Report. In addition to ranking brick and mortar schools, some publications and educational organizations list top 10 online schools. Information reviewed about colleges and universities includes:
- Accreditation reviews the schools have undergone and passed (e.g. Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation, American Bar Association, Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar)
- Year the college or university was founded in
- Numbers of undergraduate and/or graduate degree granting programs offered at the schools
- Tools used to administer online college programs (e.g. video, Internet)
- If the schools are affiliated with religious organizations
- Student activities and organizations offered at the accredited colleges and universities
You can also visit a school’s official website to find out about the school’s minimum teaching and/or work experience requirements for professors who teach subjects at the school. Top online colleges also generally assign you support services and help through academic advisors, financial advisors, enrollment advisors and career counselors.
It’s one thing to attend a college or university that’s popular or widely known. However, if you want to get a quality and balanced education, an education that employers, recruiters and other academicians respect and value, conduct your due diligence steps and review colleges and universities before you enroll and pay your tuition. This way you can increase your chances of attending top online schools, including top online business schools and top online MBA schools. Remember to search factors like accreditations at colleges and universities, student enrollment demographics, popular majors at the schools and student graduation and employment percentages.