Education, Lifehacks

How to Choose an Online University

Our world is a hectic one, full of time commitments and expenses. We’re living in a society that mixes lightning-fast technology and ever-changing responsibilities with all-too-slow increases in working wages. Many of us can’t afford to take the time to pursue a degree on a university campus – to say nothing of the expense that that entails! The world is changing.

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But not everything has changed: the value of an education, for instance, is still clear. But how can we reconcile the need to get a great education with the reality that so many of us are short on time and money? One solution: online universities, which can offer world-class educations on our own schedules. Here’s how to choose the right one for you.

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Steer clear of for-profit universities

First things first: there’s a type of school you ought not to choose. We’re talking about the for-profit universities, which range in reputation from outright scams to questionable values.

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Traditionally, universities have been not-for-profits. They exist to help us better ourselves, not to make a quick buck. Be very wary of online universities that turn profits.

Not just online

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One way to ensure that you’re getting a reputable online education is to look for online universities affiliated with brick-and-mortar ones. For instance, you can get an online psychology degree from San Diego Christian College. That’s a brick-and-mortar school, complete with its own campus and athletic teams, so you’ll know that your degree is backed by a reputation that lives in the real world as well as online.

All Degrees Are Not Equal

In fact, online programs themselves don’t always exist solely online. There are a variety of ways to get a great education with your computer, including some that include options for part-time in-person classes. Low residency programs allow students from around the country to work together online for much of the year and then meet just a few times for the in-person portions of the degree. And many online programs through brick-and-mortar schools will give you the chance to attend an in-person graduation.

Choose a school that’s known for your specialty

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Just as with traditional universities, there is no single “best” online program. Schools are known for different things, and the best school for the arts may not have the best undergraduate business programs online. Look at the reputation of the school affiliated with the online program (if there is one) as well as the reputation of the online program itself.

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Look into the history of the online degree program at the school in question – are they newcomers to the world of internet education, or do they have one of the oldest web degree programs around? The schools with the best online degree programs aren’t always the ones you’d expect, so be sure to do your research and focus on the nature of your degree as well as the reputation of the school in general.

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