What to look for in an online degree program

If you are looking to earn a degree online, you need to do your research to make sure that you choose the school that best fits your needs and that when you graduate, you have a credential that will get you where you want to go.

Here are seven things to look for to in an online degree program:

Accreditation. This is the big one and it is the first thing you should check. Accreditation is an assurance that the school meets certain quality standards. Most schools list their accreditation status on their website, and the U.S. Department of Education keeps a database of all accredited institutions.

Program and curriculum. Does the school offer the program you are interested in? What are the required courses? Reading the course descriptions is a good way to tell if a program is up to date and has the content you want. Other questions to ask: Who are the faculty? Are the courses taught by full professors? How are classes run—synchronously in semesters or self-paced? Is there group interaction or is it mostly self-study?

Credits. If you have taken courses elsewhere, can you transfer any of your credits? Does the school award credits for prior learning? If you transfer to a different school in the future, will you be able to take your credits with you? Look for maximum credit flexibility.

Retention and graduation rates. How many people drop out before finishing the program? How many graduate in the specified time period (e.g., if it is a three-year program, how many students actually complete it in three years)? High retention and graduation rates are good indicators of student satisfaction and success.

Student support services. What kind of student support services does the school offer? Do online students have access to library resources? What about academic advisors and career counselors? Many schools have a specialized support network for online students.

Technology. How are the courses delivered? How do students interact with each other and with professors? Is there a mobile option? Look for schools that have a dedicated technical support team for online students.

Cost and financial aid. Finally, how much will the degree cost? Is there financial aid available? Online classes can cost between a few hundred and several hundred dollars per credit. Look for cost estimates that include tuition plus all applicable charges and fees, as well as if you would be eligible for loans or scholarships.

Online degrees are great choices for many people, and the options continue to expand. But before you submit an application or put down a deposit, make sure that the school you choose is the best school for you. For more tips visit http://www.collegementoring.co