Tips On Choosing An Online College
By Paul Wilson
The dream of completing your college education or furthering your studies is no longer elusive. The World Wide Web boom has brought education to your key board. Many established and renowned universities are offering degrees in varied disciplines through online courses. Studies done by the Distance Education and Training Council in Washington and other regulatory institutions indicate that over 2.25 million people are registered for online courses at universities in the US.
Before registering for a course you need to spend some time thinking. Do I want to do a course that will further my career or learn something that I have an abiding interest in? Will I be devoted and complete the course work in time? Take a look at your schedules and find out where you will slot in time for study.
Online courses offer great conveniences, flexibility, and a world class education brought to your computer. While choosing a college consider the following:
• What are the basic qualifications you need to be eligible for a course are there any tests you need to take.
• Is the college reliable? Does it have the required accreditations?
• How large are the classes? When the class strength is smaller then each student will receive more time from the instructors. On the other hand a large enrollment indicates success of the course. So you need to carefully weigh all the different aspects.
• Research blogs and other online messaging centers to find out about the opinion and experiences of students who have satisfactorily complete courses or are disgruntled. Read surveys and analysis about online education. Ask the college for referrals. Examine alumni success. Find out what percentage of students successfully complete the program and how many work professionally in the field of study.
• Study the online curriculum as well as suggested time-frame carefully. Find out how many students have been able to complete the course work within the given time. Determine whether the coursework meets your educational needs and career goals. Check how current the course work is and whether the textbooks and study materials are relevant.
• Ask if the university has a 24/7 customer service program and whether you will be eligible for any technical help regarding the software or programs you will need to use. Many universities assign a personal advisor to students one who will answer questions willingly and take care all nitty gritties like enrollment procedures, course work submissions and so on right until graduation.
• Check out the credentials for the faculty, their qualifications and training to conduct an online class room with ease. Otherwise it may be a question of the "blind leading the blind."
• Read the offer document carefully and ensure that the course is 100% online. Some universities are known to use mail, videotapes, and on-campus programs as part of "online course" work. Ask how long the online program has been in place and are there any rough spots they have encountered. Read carefully the institution's ethical standard document, most reputed schools have a policy readily available for review.
• Check thoroughly the institutions financial history and current position. Make sure you are not registering with a fly-by-night operator.
• Find out what the accreditations of the university are. In the US accreditations come from Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, and Southern Western. They have a membership program as well as a system wherein each others accreditations are acknowledged.
• Most important ask about fees and financial aid. Find out what the tuitions fees are and whether any other costs like lab fees, technology fees and so on are to be paid. You will also have to cost expenses towards maintaining your computer and its peripherals like scanners, printers, and fax modem, as well as Internet costs and provider fees.
Surf the World Wide web and visit directories like : http://www.collegenet.com/ ; http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/rankindex_brief.php ; as well as http://www.forbes.com/online_colleges.html among thousand other sites. See official sites like http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cool/ and http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/educ/edlinks.htm and http://www.ed.gov/index.jhtml . It is an important decision to be made and should be made with knowledge and concrete facts.
About the Author
Paul Wilson is a freelance writer for http://www.1888Onlinecolleges.com , the premier website to find top ranking colleges online directory including topics on public colleges, private colleges, online college, college course online, information on college costs, financial aid, degrees awarded, enrollments and more. He also freelances for the premier Dating Service site http://www.1888Dating.com
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