IT'S NOT JUST THE DEGREE ... IT'S THE SCHOOL
Where should prospective students start their research when there is so much information available?
Distance learning seems like the Holy Grail to workers who are held back at their jobs because they lack a degree. But some online degrees aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
Many institutions are getting labeled as "degree factories" that don't provide their students with any of the skills that employers are looking for, and some employers are starting to look skeptically at online degrees. So how does a prospective online student find the right school for them? A great place to start is www.completeschools.com, one of the most comprehensive guides to distance learning programs at colleges and universities in the country.
As recently as twenty years ago, earning a college degree while working full-time was a near impossibility. Slowly, a handful of colleges and universities started offering degree programs at night and on weekends, but choices were very limited and you still had to attend classes - usually at their campus. Now, thanks to the Internet, distance learning has become the saving grace for people who need to get a college degree after joining the workplace.
Do your research before applying to any institution offering online degrees. First, find out if there are any schools in your area that offer degree programs at night or on the weekend. These should be evaluated at the same time you research distance learning programs. The most important thing you need to know about any online program is whether the school is accredited. A non-accredited school shouldn't be considered - employers won't consider such a degree meaningful.
Next, find out what degrees they offer and how comprehensive the coursework is. (While prospective students may like the idea of easy coursework, a program that is too easy won't provide the skills required for career success.) Finally, find out what prior students think of the school and the degrees they received. If they were able to go places with the degree, you can feel confident that you will too.
Completeschools.com can be an invaluable service. The site offers extensive knowledge of all colleges and universities in the United States, including: admission statistics, degrees offered, enrollment data, and total costs - including the application fee. It also provides the Real Answers for Real People section where prospective students can see what people who have attended the college think about the education they received. This can provide the answers to the hard question of whether a degree from this school will get them where they want to go.
Finally, by providing a comprehensive list of colleges and universities by location and degrees offered, www.completeschools.com makes all of this information extremely accessible. You will also find advice on writing application essays and applying for scholarships. It even allows users to apply to hundreds of schools online, including a large number of distance learning institutions, making the entire process painless.
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