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Be Sure You Earn Your Online BS Degree

Aug 18, 2007
There are more and more colleges and universities offering online BS degrees these days, and it is certainly an excellent way to further your education under the right circumstances. The caveat "let the buyer beware," however, should certainly be kept in mind when you begin researching schools and degree programs.

At first glance, almost all colleges and universities offering an online BS degree look good. Professional looking websites, enticing descriptions and attractive prices can all combine to dazzle you if you don't look beyond the surface. There are many excellent online BS degree programs, but there are also some online universities that are simply "diploma mills," churning out worthless pieces of paper for an attractive price tag.

Spotting Diploma Mills and Fake Online BS Degrees

To weed out the universities or colleges that are simply a front for pedaling worthless diplomas, ask yourself some honest questions and take the time to thoroughly check out all details listed on any school's website. Things to take into consideration included:

The school should be accredited and find out by whom. While a school may tout being properly accredited, not all accrediting agencies are equal. Be sure you check with the Department of Education, which has a list of approved accrediting agencies available.

Make sure you are actually taking courses from qualified professors and instructors. The quality of the teaching is a reflection of the value of the degree. If you are working toward on online BS degree in specific discipline, the courses should be taught, supervised and graded by experts in that area. Call the school and ask to talk to one of the instructors; if this can't be done, think twice about the school.

Find out if there is an actual campus somewhere for the school. While there are good schools that are purely online, the best ones tend to be backed by a more traditional bricks and mortar campus. In fact, employers prefer online BS degrees that are affiliated with a more traditional campus as well. One reason is that the curriculum is guaranteed to be challenging, since it is nearly always the same one used at the physical campus.

Research if you can be offered "life experience" credit toward your online BS degree. If so, find out how is it evaluated. At first glance life experience credit sounds wonderful, you'll get credit for what you've learned through working, travel or other experiences. If a school offers limited credit for something like mastering a foreign language because you're already fluent or credit for basic accounting if you've been a bookkeeper for ten years, this is a fine way to shave some classes off your schedule. Generally you will need to take an exam, interview with an instructor, prepare a portfolio and provide references to qualify for life experience credit.

If a school offers life experience credit for almost anything, however, be cautious. Most employers won't think much of a degree where you got life credit for babysitting or simply for being employed. If you can buy life experience credits for almost every course, your online BS degree will be worthless because you haven't learned anything new.

Check to see if you are guaranteed acceptance and a degree before you even apply. If you don't have to wait to hear whether you've been accepted, and get your degree immediately (based entirely on the "life experience" mentioned above), then you're not getting an online BS degree. You're buying a fake diploma. Check out the website named geteducated, where you can check to see if your college or university is considered a diploma mill.

If you can avoid the diploma mills you can get a quality education and a respected online BS degree that will move you ahead in your career. Simply keep the above guidelines in mind while you look for the right online college or university for you.
About the Author
Andy West is a freelance writer for Virginia College. Virginia College Online offers many Online BS Degree programs. Please visit Virginia College Online at http://www.vconline.edu to select the online program that is right for you.
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