Cheapest Accredited Online Colleges - - How To Select
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Cheapest Accredited Online Colleges  -   -  How to Select

It can be tough to tell a reputable online degree program from one that is a waste of time. As a student, one needs to also be a savvy consumer to ensure you're enrolling in a program that will give you top quality education online.

There are certain things to look for in picking the cheapest online colleges that also provide good quality education. These indicators can help you make a decision as to whether the college is a safe bet or not.

Accreditation

The first thing to look for is accreditation. Accreditation is basically a stamp of approval from academic standards committees that alerts both students and employers that people who graduate are prepared for the workforce. Look for regionally accredited institutions or councils such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the Department of Education.

Also, check the college navigator tool on the DoE's website, which will give you the choice to pick from accredited schools, graduation rates, default rates on student loans, and whether or not your credits will transfer.

Credit Transfer

Speaking of qualifications for good schools, determining whether the credits you'll earn will transfer to another college if you switch programs is a vital factor. Do other colleges consider the courses in your program up to their academic standards? Can you pick up where you left off if you abandoned your education at a certain point?

Curriculum

Depending on what field you want to get into, the curriculum will play an important part. Take for example a computer information technology degree, which should include courses in operating systems and programming languages. Likewise if you're looking for a counseling degree, the program should include courses in human behavior and psychology as well as policy and management. Be sure you know how online classes work by reviewing the school's curriculum outline.

Teacher Communication and Academic Support

Just because your'e online doesn't mean you won't need tons of help! In fact, some experts believe that being online increases the need for academic assistance because students have no face-to-face contact.

Make sure that the college you pick has an advisement program or online tutoring service. Do they also provide career services? Will they be responsive to your needs? Get a feel for the support services by contacting the school or browsing their website. If you have a hard time getting information about the school's support, that's a red flag.

Additionally, avoid schools that have pushy financial aid counselors. Anyone pressuring you to take out a loan is not going to be a good school because it sound like they're looking to make a buck off the loan instead of providing you quality education.

School Statistics

Check for graduation rates and student loan default rates when doing research into the best school for you. If graduates have low employment rates, that means it will be hard for you to get a job when you graduate. Or the school might be considered a "diploma mill" that churns out graduates with basically useless pieces of paper called degrees because the curriculum and lack of accreditation is so bad.

Ultimately, be sure you do plenty of research into the cheapest online colleges that will also provide great quality education. By avoiding red flags and looking for accredited schools with positive reviews, you can increase the chances of finding a good online degree program.


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