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Fake Degrees from Real Universities? How to Spot a Diploma Mill
Over the last decade, we have seen an online college explosion. Many of these programs are fully accredited and legitimate ways to earn your college degree. However, there are also several companies, operating under the guise of online colleges, peddling degrees that are not worth the parchment they are printed on. These companies are called diploma mills, and are fairly easy to identify, if you follow a few simple tips.
- A diploma mill will usually operate exclusively online.
- Many diploma mills offer degrees based solely on life experience, meaning you would not have to take any classes or examinations.
- A diploma will sometimes claim that you can earn a graduate degree (Masters or PhD) in a very short time period, one year or less, usually only requiring one or two courses and that you write a thesis paper.
- A diploma mill will claim to be accredited, however the agencies they claim to be accredited through are an extension of their company they have invented to provide their customers with the delusion of credibility.
- A fully accredited college should be at least nationally accredited by ACCSCT or DETC, or regionally accredited through one of six agencies: The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Northwest Accreditation Commission, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, or Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
- Before you enroll in an online college, it is always a good idea to do some research. Check the organization's accreditation. Find out if the the school also has a physical campus. If you are unsure about a schools validity, you can also visit http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/Education_Degree_Scam_list.php. This site contains a lengthy list of known diploma mills, and unaccredited institutions.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Now that you know what to look for, you can avoid being scammed by these online predators. Just remember to do your homework before enrolling in any online college!