While online education allows for flexibility and accessibility to students, it is important for all students to understand the importance of finding the right school for them. Factors including accreditation, technology and degrees are factored in to present the best accredited online colleges for the 2013 - 2014 academic year!
Today, more than 1 in 4 college students are taking at least one of their higher education classes online. Online school offers a more flexible approach to education, often times a lower tuition rate, and allows students to work while studying. In 2013, the state of Florida announced it will become the first state to open an online-only public university in the United States. While most state universities offer some online courses, and even full online degrees, this new Florida university will operate fully online and yet will maintain status as a public research institution. It’s already announced that tuition for this online university will be at most 75% of traditional in classroom education. Students interested in a virtual education don’t have to move to sunny Florida however, there are plenty of private colleges that operate completely or mostly online. Perspective students should do their due diligence before enrolling in an online college to be sure they will receiving a high quality education and degree that will get noticed in the job market. Here’s what to look for in an online college.
A degree from a college that isn’t accredited is not going to end up being very helpful in the long term. There are two types of accreditation: regional and national. In general, regional accreditation points to a more academic standard of education. Regionally accredited degrees are more likely to be transferable to other colleges and the best employers are more interested in these kinds of degrees as well. The U.S. Department of Education has a searchable database for accredited colleges and universities around the country.
Students will get the most from online classes if technology is used to its fullest potential. Just reading from a textbook and then emailing assignments to a professor isn’t the best way to learn. Instead, students will most likely get more if they take classes from a college which offers video conferences and lectures, online forums for discussion, online chat for group projects, and more.
Online colleges often specialize in a certain field such as creative (graphic design, creative writing, etc.), business (economics, marketing, administration, etc.), or education. Perspective students should have a good idea of their career goals before picking an online college to make sure their studies are putting them on the path to the job they want.
Below is a list of the best online colleges in the country. The methodology used to complete this list referenced data from surveys completed by current students, graduated students, faculty, and experts in the field. Additionally, student graduation rates, tuition costs, and the rigor of courses offered were taken into consideration.
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