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How to Choose an Accredited Online College for Successful Virtual Studies

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If you’re currently working and do not have adequate time to attend classes at a college campus, earning your college degree online would suit you best. Online colleges abound today. As opposed to traditional colleges and universities, online colleges promise far more flexibility and convenience. Students are allowed to continue their education without the restraints of time or geography. All you need is a computer with Internet connection.

Now, there’s a wealth array of online colleges. Without careful research, you may end up studying at an online college that is nothing more than facades for a company churning out “degree for hire”. These degrees would not be recognized by any employer. So it’s important to choose a reliable accredited online college to get your degree. The key factor your need to consider is accreditation.

What is Accreditation?

According to the Websters Dictionary, accreditation is given to an educational institution that serves as the criterion to qualify graduates for professional practice. In the United States, accreditation is the primary standard to determine the validity of online schools, including online colleges and universities. An accredited online college also assures students that the online degree program is recognized. Degrees earned from accredited online colleges are valid when you apply for jobs or enroll in further schooling.

What Are the Valid Accreditation Institutions?

When you’re searching for an online college, make sure the school is accredited by certain accreditation institutions approved by the United States Department of Education or the Council of Higher Education Accreditation. Some of the top accreditation entities in the United States are listed below:

• The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

• The Distance Education and Training Council

• Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools

• New England Association of Schools and Colleges

• North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

• Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

• Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges

• Western Association of Schools and Colleges

If you want to confirm the accreditation, do not contact your school. Numerous attempts have been made to steal the identity of accredited schools and pass their schools as accredited. The best and most reliable way is to contact the accrediting body and ask whether the school’s accreditation is valid and legitimate.

After having a better understanding of the standards and accreditation institutions of accredited online colleges, it won’t be difficult to pick up a good one for your virtual studies.Here’s a list of some common steps to find an accredited online college and get a degree.

Go Online and Find Out Possible Selections

People with basic Internet knowledge and skills can conduct a search for accredited online colleges. You can either use Google or Bing and you may be surprised at the large number of online accredited colleges. Or you can go through your state’s yellow page and find out possible selections.

Check the School’s Accreditation

When you have several selections in mind, check the schools’ accreditation. You should make attempts to reject any school that has no accreditation or has a bogus accreditation. The online colleges’ accreditation can be checked at the websites of the U.S. Department of Education and Higher Learning Commission. Only the institutions listed on these two websites are valid.

Both regionally accredited colleges and nationally accredited colleges exist. You should understand their difference. Regionally accredited online colleges are recognized as the most legitimate. Institutions, like trade schools and business colleges fall into the category of nationally accredited schools.

Be Wary of the Degree-earning Requirements

Find out the requirements to earn a degree for graduation. If no or little work is required, it can be just a diploma mill. The time required to get a degree should be considered as well. Remember no accredited online colleges can promise that a bachelor’s degree can be earned in few months.

Find out the Tuition Rates

The tuition fees of an online college program cannot be neglected. Tuition usually varies based on the degree you’re planning to earn. Now tuition fees for most online colleges are charged per credit hour or semester. If the price of your school is significantly higher or lower than normal, you should pay special attention.

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