Distance Learning 101: Choosing the Right College for You
The availability of so many options when it comes to distance learning can be rather overwhelming, especially for one who wants to make the most out of the whole online education experience. Narrowing your options down to a handful may not seem worthy of all the work, but your future self will definitely thank you for taking the time to do some research for your education. Choosing the right college, then, boils down to your objectives and how you intend to achieve these objectives.
Establish Goals and Objectives
This basically means asking yourself “Why do I want to go to college via distance learning?” and “What do I intend to get out of this experience?” Be honest with yourself. The goals and objectives you establish at this point will help you make the right choices later on.
Choose a Degree
The next thing you have to establish is your specific degree or program. It is important to do this earlier in the decision-making process, as choosing the right school based on your goal degree makes more sense than choosing the other way around. Do you want something that can land you a good job, or do you want a degree that takes your interests and talents into consideration? Do you want both? Keep in mind your reasons for choosing distance learning. If you remain unsure, try narrowing your options down to 3-4 degrees.
Check for Accreditation
Choose schools that are accredited for the programs or degrees you intend to take. Be wary of accreditations given by accrediting bodies that simply give out accreditations to any establishment willing to pay. You can check these accreditations out at the website of the US Department of Education (they have a database for this), as well as online forums that address these issues.
Make a Dossier on Your Prospective Schools
What is the school’s reputation when it comes to graduates of the program of your choice? Do they have a high employment rate after graduation? Are the faculty and staff attentive to the needs of the students? How frequently are they online to cater to any questions and concerns that come their way? Are they prompt enough in putting up lessons, study materials, and grades? Do they require students to physically go to school, and if yes, are you able to meet such requirements? Take note of your goals and objectives once again, and see how your prospects meet these. Try to look for more “dirt” via forums and clubs where students get to talk about their first hand experiences