How to Choose An Online University - How To Find Them

How to choose an online university - how to find them - are questions that millions of students are facing every year.  During the fall semester in 2008, over 4 million students took at least one of their courses online.  With more students recognizing the benefit of post-secondary education online, accredited universities all over the country are responding.  To find an online college is not difficult.  There are many websites that allow students to seek information from several online university programs.  When the time comes to choose an online college, you do not have to settle for colleges that operate strictly on an online basis.  Prestigious institutions like Harvard University in Boston and Oxford University in the UK are offering on line courses.  Here are five things to consider when evaluating online university programs.<

Employers often disregard degrees that are conferred by unaccredited institutions.  The very first thing a prospective student needs to do is to verify that an institution&#39;s accreditation.  This certifies the credibility and competency of the institution and the value of the degree.  The Department of Education has a list of the credentials of every accredited institution in the United States. 

Faculty Credentials
Students should look into the success of the alumni and professors of the institution.  Any professor should have at least a master's degree in the field they are teaching.  Doctorate degrees are preferred for post-secondary studies.  Sites like LinkedIn can help students assess the success of the school's alumni and gauge the value of the institution's diploma.  There is no need to settle for inferior instruction simply because you are pursuing your degree online. 

Is The Program Well-Established, Or Brand New?
Most students that choose an online college do so because of the established success of their online programs.  How to choose and online university - how to find them - includes studying the history of the institution.  Brand new on line programs are not always inferior.  However, there are many fly-by-night institutions looking to rip students off.  Still, even traditional universities and graduate schools have had a rough time when they first offer on line courses, including technical difficulties that can interfere with the learning process.

Access To The Latest Technology
Before starting an online degree program, all students should assess their own computer.  Some institutions have specific requirements regarding word processing and multi-media software as well as high-speed internet access.  Take an inventory of your computer software and update it as needed.  Many times, all that you will need is to download the latest updates.  In cases where you need to add software, many companies offer discounts to college students. 

Course Time Requirements
All courses are different.  Some are synchronous, requiring the student to be logged in at a certain time to participate in group discussions.  Others are asynchronous, allowing students to meet deadlines by working at their own discretion.  If you have a schedule that is constantly changing beyond your control, then you need to choose a course of study that allows you to go at your own pace, participating when you are available.

How to choose an online university - how to find them - requires some research.  Evaluating these five factors will not guarantee the quality of your online education, but they will help you to organize your search.  Studying online requires self-discipline.  Students who have odd schedules or cannot commit to the same time every week should look for a self-paced program.  Each course requires about 8 to 10 hours of study a week.  Students who do not invest the time required of them are not usually successful in the online learning environment.

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