While the utmost importance should be placed on whether the online school you’re interested in is accredited, there are a few other things to look for when shopping around for education online. Different Internet-based schools are more proficient in different courses of study; so colleges that are beneficial to others might not be right for you. Even if a particular college offers the type of degree you’re looking for, take the time to compare the classes and requirements for it with those of other online schools. If one school’s curriculum appears to be subpar to another’s, it’s probably a good idea to remove that school from your list of possibilities. If you noticed a difference, chances are an employer will, too.
Other things to look out for include:
Life experience credit. While there are accredited, respectable institutions that offer credit for life experiences, the process usually involves an interview with a college official and a review of his or her findings before any credit is applied. When applying for life experience credit from a diploma mill, the process is far less arduous; in fact, it’s often as simple as filling out an online form. Even that is nothing more than a perfunctory gesture to make the “school” look a little more credible, because all it’s really doing is selling credit for cash. So when searching for education online, beware of colleges that seem to freely hand out credit for “life experiences.” All you’ll end up with is a life experience you’ll likely regret.
Cakewalk courses. After you’ve begun your search for education online, it won’t take long for you to get a general idea of what’s required of you to earn the degree you’re interested in. So if you come across an Internet-based college that offers a far easier curriculum to earn the same type of degree, you should either do some research into the quality of the school or just move on. By making the requirements to earn a degree easier than other colleges, these types of online schools hope to attract people who want to do less work than others while reaping the same rewards. Although these people may very well get the degree they want, they soon find out it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Furthermore, they end up no more educated than they were before parting with their hard earned cash.
Intentionally misleading names. Less-than-reputable online colleges often try to dupe potential students into believing they’re credible by giving themselves official-sounding monikers, usually incorporating the name of a state. For example, if you assume classes offered by Utah University are accredited and credible, you might be confusing the online college with Utah State University. Northern Utah University might appear to be affiliated with Southern Utah University, but no such accredited college exists. When searching for the right school to get education online, remember–if a school is trying to dupe you into enrolling with a misleading name, it might not be up front in other areas, either. It would be wise to proceed with caution.