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10 Tips to help you select an Online Distance Education College

Sep 6, 2008
Accreditation - accreditation is very important because it ensures that an institution meets or exceeds an established set of educational standards. This means that courses from an accredited online distance education college are likely to be transferable to other accredited online or traditional colleges. Your current and prospective employers will look positively at degrees earned from an accredited institution making it easy to earn a promotion or get a new job.

Degree mills and fake colleges - today the internet is flooded with fraud and fake accrediting institutions that give "accreditation" to any willing organization at a fee. Be safe and stay on the look-out for such institutions when you're choosing your online distance education college. There are always "tell-tale" signs of institutions that are not legitimately accredited. If in doubt, check with the United Stated Department of Education or CHEA to find out if the college you are interested in is accredited.

Before you choose an online college, it's also important to think about what your long-terms plans and goals are as far as your education is concerned. Incase you intend to pursue further education, think about if you'll need to transfer credits from one college to another. With this knowledge you'll be able to choose a college that allows and accepts credit transfers.

Class size is as important in online education as it is in a traditional college classroom. Do your research on the average class sizes at the online distance education institution you are considering. Small classes make it easier to interact and voice your opinion.

It good to know more about the instructors of the programs you are interested in. Are they qualified to teach that class? Do they have experience in their field or specialization? Have they taught online classes before? How long have they been teaching? Get the answers to these questions. It is more reassuring if more instructors hold degrees from the college that you're planning to enroll.

Are the administrators, technical staff and faculty responsive if you need help or have questions with your courses? Since every college offers a different form and level of support, make sure you find one that is aligned with your needs and expectations. This will alleviate frustration when you need help during your classes.

One of the great things about online distance education programs is that you can begin almost anytime. Thus you shouldn't let anyone rush you into starting your program until you feel ready to put the time and effort it will require for you to succeed.

Verify whether during the course of your program, there are classes that will require residency or if you will be able to complete the entire program online. This will help you prepare in advance.

Check if the institution you're interested in offers any form of financial aid assistance. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that financial aid, loans and the scholarships available to you. In addition, many colleges and universities offer tuition installment plans which help make college more affordable. Ask before you enroll whether such programs exist.

Don't settle for less than quality programs and education when selecting your online distance education program. Unlike there before, when online degree options were severely limited, it is now possible for those willing to spend some time gathering information to find almost exactly the degree program that meets their needs.
About the Author
Mary Jackson is a web contributor for accredited online degrees and offers tips and online distance education resources to help you succeed with your distance learning.
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