ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Choosing the Best Online College

Updated on August 28, 2013

The right online college to enroll in is the one that best meets your needs and offers classes in a format you enjoy. Online courses, once thought of as 'diploma mills', now provide legitimate degrees in many subjects. Finding one that matches your unique likes, dislikes and learning style can be challenging, but here are some tips to help you find a great college and earn your degree online.

If you want 'the right college' for a brand-name degree, you are better off finding a bricks and mortar institution that offers distance-learning options, or waiting until you can attain a degree from a major university. In today's job market, unfortunately that's a reality - people do look at the school you attended, especially when you're starting your career. As time goes on, however, experience and credentials outweigh the name brand value of your school.

Education is expensive and takes time. All things considered, pursue a degree from a college YOU enjoy, not one you think will propel your career. Hard work and time will help you advance your career; educational experiences last a lifetime, and provide a basis for knowledge that will service you in good stead no matter where you go in life.

Look for An Accredited Institution

When examining the credentials of online universities, only consider accredited institutions. What is accredidation? Colleges and universities must apply for and earn accredidation status from one of the major bodies across the United States set up to review and affirm the quality of educational programs available at the school. I've included a link at the bottom to an article I wrote explaining more about accreditation, and where you can find each accrediting body. They are organized regionally. As you review each online school, if they claim to be accredited, check the accrediting body against the list in the article. If it is not an organization on the list, it may not be a legitimate accreditor and you should skip the school.

Online Degree Programs at Bricks and Mortar Schools

Schools may be solely online, or degrees may be granted by bricks and mortar institutions with online programs. You have a much better chance of finding an accredited, legitimate program at one of the major colleges or universities offering such a program. Some undergraduate degrees and master's degrees are offered online. State university systems, community colleges, and even some 'big name' colleges offer courses or entire degree programs online. Best of all, credits can usually transfer from the online program to a seat-based, bricks and mortar program when attained through these schools.

Be Sure Your Learning Style is a Match

Online learning is very different from seat-based learning. You gain the flexiblity to take classes from home, but lose the social interaction with your professors and fellow students. You need more self-discipline, since distractions will tug you away from the computer. You'll need to have a strong independent streak and the ability to work on your own.

Other Distance Learning Programs

Other distance learning programs incorporate video and audio taped courses alongside online technology to create unique programs. Auburn University, for example, offered a distance-learning MBA course that included videotapes of actual on campus courses, coupled with emailed assignments and telephone consultations with professors to provide a unique program. Broaden your search terms to include distance learning so that more courses open up for you.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 

      10 years ago

      I am interested in online paralegal studies. This will be helpful thanks.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)