Why Attend an Online University?
Attending an online university is appealing for a variety of reasons, including the convenience of studying at home while maintaining a full-time job. Whether you are brushing up on job-related subjects that you have previously studied, are targeting a new career, or you just subscribe to the concept of "life-long learning," Internet based universities have become an integral part of the education system in the US and the world.
Choose the Right School.
While many opportunities exist to receive online instruction, the institutions which spend the most on advertising are the ones that usually come to mind first. This does not mean that the lesser known ones are inferior to the big name institutions. Neither does it mean that the most highly visible online universities are all show. A safe way to choose the right online university is to first know exactly which certificate, degree, or courses you need. If the courses will later be applied toward a degree from a traditional college or university, make sure your credits come from a university that is accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education and are transferable.
Expect to be Challenged.
Universities worth their salt will have valid certification and offer degrees, ranging from Associate to Baccalaureate to Masters Programs in a variety of disciplines. Expect the courses to be structured similar to traditional curricula and require about the same amount of time and effort for completion. Be suspicious of "diploma mills" that offer full degrees in a course of study lasting only a few weeks.
Recognize "Good" and "Bad" Online University Accreditation.
One way to be assured that the online educational institution you are researching is accredited by recognized accrediting agencies and state approval agencies is to check the US Department of Education database of accredited schools. The Department of Education cautions that even this database is not always up to date or accurate and that the prospective student should research other sources to corroborate the information in their database. Review any claims that students have filed with the Better Business Bureau. Tap into the experiences of people who have completed courses at the online university for their opinions about the quality of the courses.
Student Financial Aid
Student loans for online university courses of study are available and require the same scrutiny and research that you give before committing to any loan. Student loan accounts are bought and sold like any other commodity and are subject to fluctuations in interest rates and other adjustments without your awareness or approval. Knowing how to judge the best online universities and student financial loan opportunities will pave the way for a successful and enjoyable educational experience.
Popular Online Universities
The University of Phoenix offers classroom and online degree programs from campuses in 39 states. It is the nation's largest for-profit university with a student population of over 300,000 students. It has filled a niche that traditional universities have largely ignored by meeting the needs of working students. The University of Phoenix has earned the trust of hundreds of thousands of students who have successfully completed their courses and have received meaningful degrees and certificates.
DeVry University offers career-oriented degrees and certificates in technology, health technology, business and management to fill a void that, up to now had been underserved by the educational system; working professionals now have the opportunity to extend their education while working 9 to 5. More practical-oriented than text book intensive, DeVry uses professionals to teach rather than professors.
ITT Tech maintains an extensive array of career and academic courses that can result in a degree or a certificate. Regardless of the course, you will receive a combination of hands-on learning experience as well as thorough academic enrichment.
Capella University emphasizes academic studies and offers all of the basic undergraduate courses in addition to classes which can be credited toward a bachelor's or master's degree.
Walden University Online offers students the opportunity to extend their learning to achieve advanced degrees in numerous studies including Education, Health, Management, and Psychology.
Kaplan University Online offers online Associate, Bachelor's, and advanced degrees as well as college entry exam preparation for secondary school students.