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The Successful eStudent: A Student's Guide to Success in Online Education (Part 2)

Updated on February 12, 2014

Page Outline

Choosing An Accredited School

Choosing The Right Degree

Introduction

This is the second part on the series "The Successful eStudent: A Student's Guide to Success in Online Education". The aim of this section of the series is for those who have decided that online education is a good option for them. We will discuss how to choose an accredited school as well as how to chose the right degree.

CHOOSING AN ACCREDITED SCHOOL

It is essential that you choose the best school for you. It is also essential that the school you choose is respected among professionals within the field into which you wish to go. How do you find this out? The best way is to talk to someone in that field and ask their opinion. This, however, is easier said than done; especially if you do not personal know anyone in the field. A good thing to consider is to only go through an online program offered from a physical brick and mortar university. This is definitely the safest option, and usually the best. However, what do you do if such a school does not offer your desired program? Well then you need to look for a purely online, but still accredited, school. There are regional accrediting agencies that are well respected and recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Be aware that this is not true for all accrediting agencies. There are databases of accredited school that you can look through.

USDE - http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/

CHEA - http://www.chea.org/search/search.asp

In addition to the respect of the field, there are other reasons to go to an accredited school. The biggest reason is that only students attending an accredited school are eligible for financial aid. Additionally, accreditation verifies that a program curriculum meets certain standards. This avoids scams.

The Successful eStudent

Poll

Is online education as good is going to a brick-and-mortar institution?

See results

CHOOSING THE RIGHT DEGREE

It is very difficult to choose which degree is right for you. There are many factors to consider. The biggest thing to consider is what your motivation for going to school is, and what your motivation behind a certain degree is. If you are going to school for the money, then that should be a higher priority than how much enjoyment you get out of the program, and work. Consider the fact, however, than you will be doing this work for the rest of your career. Do you want to spend 40 to 60 years doing something you do not enjoy? It is a common belief that your work and fun should be separate. Work should not be enjoyable. Although a common belief, there is no reason to belief this. It is a myth and all thoughts of this type should be rejected immediately. You can enjoy your work. In fact, you should. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What lifestyle do you desire?
  • What fields of today's economy and society can provide for that lifestyle?
  • How much money do you want to make?
  • What fields are most in demand?
  • In what fields do you already have experience?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What fields or subjects do you understand well?
  • What fields or subjects are difficult for you to learn?
  • Do you want to be in the field only because your friends are in it?
  • Is the field within your capabilities?
  • What financial investments are required for this field after college?
  • Do you want to be in the field only because other people want you to?

Are Online Degrees Credible?

The video to the right discusses the credibility of online degrees. It discusses three main factors that go into choosing an online university. The three factors are:

  1. Does Your Chosen College Operate a traditional Campus?
  2. Is the name of your chosen college respected by local employers?
  3. Is your chosen college regionally accredited?

The video is quite short, and is definitely worth your time. Take a few minutes and watch it!

Bill Gates - On Online Education

Bill Gates is very well respected. He has his own perspective on online education vs traditional education. Check it out in the video to the right!

Stanford University offers the experience of both traditional and online learning.
Stanford University offers the experience of both traditional and online learning.

Conclusion

It can be difficult to determine if you want to go to college, and equally difficult to determine what style of education is best for you, traditional or online. Once you have made those decision, you are faced with yet another challenge: what school to go to. Remember, it is always best to go to a respected, accredited online school with a physical (brick-and-mortar) campus. Hopefully the information in this article will help you in making these difficult decisions!


See you in Part 3!

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