10 Must Ask Questions When Choosing an Online School

There is little doubt that online education is the best choice for many students, especially those who have full-time jobs and family responsibilities. However, all online colleges are not created equal. It is important to take the time to thoroughly research all of your options before choosing the right school for you. In order to help you make the decision, here are some vital questions you should ask the school before enrolling:

  1. What accreditation does this school hold? In order for your degree to be respected and recognized by the greatest number of future employers, you should choose a school that is regionally accredited. Although some other accreditations may be accepted by some companies, the majority prefer a regionally accredited degree.
  1. If not accredited, when will accreditation review occur? There is a possibility that the school in which you are interested is in the process of getting regional accreditation. Find out if a review is scheduled and when accreditation is likely to occur.
  1. What qualifications do the instructors have? Find a school that is staffed by instructors who have doctoral level degrees in their fields.
  1. What is the cost of attending? Are there additional fees and costs aside from tuition? Tuition rates should be the same as, or slightly less than, that of traditional schools. Make sure you get a list of all mandatory fees and charges that are in addition to tuition rates.
  1. What are the class sizes? Even though you will not be packed into a physical classroom, class size matters. The more students each teacher works with, the less time he or she will have to give you help when you need it. Choose schools where the instructors are not overburdened with students so you can get the highest quality education.
  1. What technology is needed? Since you will be completing your classes entirely online, it is important to make sure your computer meets the requirements of the program. It is also important to make sure you have access to all needed software and programs.
  1. What programs are available and how long do they take to complete? Make sure the school you are considering offers the degree you really need in a timeframe that fits your needs. Many online schools have accelerated programs that allow students to complete as much as a year early.
  1. Is extra help available? Many online schools have virtual office hours that provide the opportunity for students to ask questions or get help from instructors. Others, however, expect students to work entirely on their own.
  1. What are the school’s student statistics? Generally speaking, schools that have been established longer and that have a larger number of students provide a more stable experience. It is also important to check the graduation rate as an indicator of the level of success and satisfaction students experience.
  1. How can the school be contacted? Although you will do most of your communication online, it is useful to have a phone number you can call if you need immediate help. Legitimate schools will usually have a phone number you can use when you need assistance.