Subscribe to industry newsletters

Five questions to ask before choosing an online college

Before you invest your time and money into your career, you should learn how to recognise and find online degree programmes that are valuable and useful for your education and your future career.

Five questions to ask before choosing an online college
©atic12 via 123RF
Luckily, there are many online degree programmes available that can help you to achieve this, but sometimes recognising them can be tricky. When you search for a college online, usually there will be a lot of information available, but making sense out of it is not always easy. This is why I’ve created a list of the most important questions you need to consider when choosing an online college.

1. How long ago was the online college established?

A lot of online degree programmes are part of universities and colleges that have been around for a long time, and in most cases, these institutions were founded over 100 years ago. When you get an online degree from an established institution with a high reputation, the degree you receive will have proven value. If you are considering schools that have a shorter history, you should look at their established partnerships and relationships with other institutions, their employees, and community. You can gain valuable knowledge from a certain school’s partnerships with other schools and how it treats students.

2. Is that university or college accredited?

A college accreditation is similar to insurance policies; it protects your degree and defends the value of your knowledge. It usually won’t do you any good to invest money in schools that are not accredited. For example, if you take some medical training from an unaccredited educational institution, the degree you get will likely mean nothing when you try to get a job.

3. Can that programme help you in your career?

There are simply too many students who get burdened with unnecessary and excessive credits. They spend too much money and time getting their degrees without any real need for them. Even though they’ve invested a lot into their online degrees, they still get little and sometimes, even nothing in return. Besides analysing programmes, you should also analyse your own career goals and how a certain online degree fits in with your plans. Before you even think about enrolling, make sure that you ask for a degree plan and review it thoroughly. Make sure to see what the student placement and employment rates are and understand how much this degree is really valuable to potential employers.

4. What kind of support is available to online students?

A good support team can help a student get any academic support he or she needs. Make sure to check all of the online tutoring possibilities and the access you have to student advisors. You should avoid basing your decision solely on a certain programme’s sales pitch. Make sure that you have the equal right, support, and opportunities as an online student as all other students. Be prepared to experience some technical issues occasionally. This is why an online programme should also have good technical support that can help you by offering multiple methods for going through those issues.

5. How much is the average student debt and what’s the cost of studying?

The variations in prices for online studying can be huge. However, there are lots of high-quality, reputable, and flexible online programmes that can earn you a degree for a respectable price. But, be careful. Just because you are able to pay for a certain programme with loans doesn’t mean that programme is actually affordable. You must consider that student loan and whether you will be able to repay it in the future.

An online degree programme gives you the ability to study from your home and attend classes when you see fit, without the need of getting out of your house. They offer a lot of flexibility and, for example, if you are working at the same time, you can organise yourself better to finish all of your daily obligations, without having to sacrifice your education or your job. A lot of people have gotten their degrees online, what’s important is to ask these questions and find a respectable course.

About Charles Mburugu

HubSpot-certified content writer/marketer for B2B, B2C and SaaS companies. He has worked with brands such as GetResponse, Neil Patel, Shopify, 99 Designs, Norton, Salesforce and Condor. Portfolio: LinkedIn:

Let's do Biz