Any student who is on the lookout for online degree colleges would probably have been swamped with the many options marketed to them over the internet. Therefore, it is not a wonder that many students feel confused on the right college selection as they may not know the way to nail down the advantages that certain colleges have over others. Although many renowned colleges charge higher fees for their courses, the extra costs incurred may not necessarily be justified by the facilities, recognition and educational value that they provide to students.
For one thing, different online colleges are accredited by different authorities. Therefore, it is important to find out whether the degrees offered are actually accredited by the relevant educational association for your particular state. Otherwise, you may end up having a degree that is not valid and be rejected by your employers. There are also times when colleges may be in the process of getting accredited. Therefore, this information is important to you as their applications for accreditation may be rejected by the authorities later.
One of the qualifying factors that can be utilized by students to make correct enrolment decisions is by determining the type of college accreditation that has been received by their college of consideration. If the college vaguely states itself as having "nationwide or worldwide accreditation" without stating specifically which regional accreditation body it is accredited with, then most likely this college does not possess legitimate accreditation.
Once you are certain of a college's accreditation, you should then determine the history of the college. How many students have graduated as compared to the enrollment numbers? How long has the course been offered? Answering these questions will give you an idea on the level of experience and expertise that the college has to offer for the particular course you want. After all, you are paying them for online education and deserve to get value for your money.
Apart from that, different colleges will have lecturers of different educational levels. Of course, it would be best that a college have more lecturers with Ph.D. qualifications. Most lecturers should at least possess a Master's Degree in order for them to qualify teaching an undergraduate course. Again, the quality and quantity of lecturers will give you a good gauge on the standards of the college.
You can also check on the lecturer-student ratio that the college is proposing. In order for online education to be successful, the lecturer-student ratio should ideally be low. Better colleges will recognize the importance of this, and will ensure that they don't over-enroll their online students so as to maintain the quality level of their courses. With a low ratio number, students will be assured of having adequate time to work with lecturers.
Apart from that, different colleges impose different rules on their students. For example, some colleges allow students to go on overdrive mode and complete their credit hours over a shorter period of time. On the other hand, other colleges have a minimum course study period that a student has to adhere to and therefore will not be allowed to accelerate or take up extra credit hours for the course. There is good and bad to both of these scenarios as certain colleges want to ensure quality by not allowing students to sacrifice quality for speed of completion. It is therefore up to the discretion of the student to determine if slowing down on their course would be acceptable to their circumstances.
Finally, always ask for a hotline number from the online college that you are planning to enroll in. Legitimate colleges will have a number and someone qualified to answer your questions whenever you need help. Call them up before you enroll and test them out by asking a couple of questions. Also, check with them on other numbers and the suitable time that you can call should you encounter problems with your coursework. Through practical experience and gut feeling, you will then be able to make the right decision on choosing the right college for your online education experience.
Rose Musyoka is the editor of http://www.distance-learning-college-guide.com where you find answers, information and advice on distance learning colleges, accredited online degrees and online courses. See more related information on distance learning colleges and why college accreditation is important.