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How to compare online colleges

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Online college allows you to attend class from the sofa
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Taking the time to compare online college degrees will save you headaches.

Distance learning and online college is an attractive option for many people contemplating a return to college. There are several online learning programs available, but do you know how to compare online colleges?

Do your research before signing up for one of the many programs offered virtually to make certain that the online learning program is a fit for your lifestyle and learning objectives. Here are a few things to think about when researching your online education options.

Check if the online school is accredited. Any good distance learning and online education program is accredited. This means the online school has passed a series of predetermined standards of educational quality. If a school claims it is "state-approved" or "state-licensed," it means the school meets only its stateís qualifications. This may cost less, but can also result in a sub-standard education or training. Some of the more popular accredited online programs are computer programs, journalism or writing programs, and business programs. Choose wisely and you may add to your marketability on the job.

Investigate the study process. Before you take a course online, and especially before you hand off your hard-earned cash, check to see how the classes are conducted online. Is there a message board where students can get assignments? Does the instructor deal with each student directly via e-mail? How about tests? Do you have to take any if itís a course you are taking just for fun? If you know how to compare colleges online, you will have a good idea if you want to take the course in question at a particular online college.

Check the collegeís accreditation.
Many online colleges are accredited through organizations such as The Higher Learning Commission or the Board of Online Universities Accreditation. These organizations review colleges and universities to make sure they adhere to a series of agreed upon regulations established more than 100 years ago by secondary schools, colleges and universities. This assures the student that the school provides the standards necessary to achieve a good education. If the schools pass the review, they receive accreditation. Schools that are not accredited should be avoided since they do not provide the necessary skills and knowledge required for the particular career path you wish to follow.

Choose your degree.
Online courses run the gamut of subjects and interests. Subjects range from business course to writing courses. You can even take courses just for the fun of it. Many craft sites offer online workshops on beading, scrapbooking, or pretty much anything you can think of. If you want to learn to write, there are online courses such as novel writing, creating characters, and plotting, just to name a few.

Assess your skills. Many online colleges offer career assessment tools and test for students helping you decide the best course of study for your specific skills and talents. Through a series of questions, these tests help you see where your strengths may lie. They give you a picture of the types of careers you might enjoy and in which you are most likely to succeed.

If you know how to compare online colleges, you will ensure you pursue the right degree for your skills and your future career. Take the time before you sign up for any online college degree program. You will not regret it and it will ensure that your online college experience is satisfying and rewarding.

U.S. Department of Education: College Accreditation

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