With so many online colleges to select from, locating the right one often takes time. To help in your search, recently created and frequently updated this list of the top online colleges. Using key factors such as accreditation status, graduate employment rate, and affordability, evaluate
the top 10 online colleges below. Afterward, we’ll explain how to find the perfect online school for you! Let’s get started!
Accreditation Status – Finding an online college that receives recognition from one of the six accrediting bodies is critical to its success. While a few universities have only achieved slight regional accreditation, most online colleges are accredited. The University of Phoenix, for example, has achieved national accreditation. For a more comprehensive list of accredited online colleges, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website. Just be sure to check for accurate information; there’s a lot out there!
Graduate Employment Rate – This factor goes hand-in-hand with student enrollment. More well-respected online colleges typically accept more students with Master’s degrees in comparison to online courses at for-profit schools. However, most of these colleges offer a lot more online learning options, so it is important to consider which career goals you have in mind before enrolling. Most importantly, ask about tuition rates and financial aid. Examine the terms of each program carefully to ensure you understand all the student fees, including any applicable student loans.
Student Retention Rate – How many online students return to that online degree program following graduation? At present, online colleges are catching up with traditional brick-and-mortar universities; however, this does not mean that all online students are satisfied with their course experience. Unfortunately, there are many “networks” of student returnees, which include
former students of that online college who seek employment shortly thereafter. If the program seems to have a strong reputation, it will be more likely to attract and retain your student. In addition, it can be good to know how many times that online colleges have successfully completed their graduates.
Enrollment Figures – The enrollment figures of an online program are often a good indicator of that college’s success. It is important to consider a wide range of different factors when
evaluating the success of an online program. These factors include student retention rate, faculty rankings, class size, and the total amount of time devoted to each course. A smaller class size, faculty ranking, and lower class size will obviously attract more students than a larger, more prestigious online program.
Accreditation – There are several different forms of accreditation, including regional accreditation, regional accrediting, and national accreditation. It is important for online students to consider whether or not the online colleges have met the criteria set forth by those accrediting
agencies. Most colleges universities that offer online programs have met the minimum standards of state and federal academic professional certification requirements, however just a few have met the rigorous standards set forth by national accreditors. National accreditation agencies are not recognized by most states, and accrediting agencies have the obligation to share this information with their students and/or parents. However, it is very important for online students to become aware that not all online colleges, especially those accredited by national accreditation
agencies, are created equal. Many colleges are now scams that are misleading students looking for a solid education.
Campus Life – On-campus or in-state college campuses can be quite different than online colleges, as students have no travel time to get to class. It is also important for online students to consider if they can meet any of their responsibilities to family members while they attend class. Many online colleges offer on-campus childcare, dormitories, and even student housing. On-campus or in-state college campuses may offer career-oriented internships, professional development classes, and other opportunities for students to further their education and skills.
Student Community – Living and learning on a college campus can provide a sense of community and safety that is not found at an online university. Although many online degree programs require students to live in their own residence, there is usually a great deal of interaction with other students. Students are allowed to live in shared living areas with other students, engage in group projects, and take part in many student activities. However, online students should exercise caution when it comes to living and safety with others. It may be tempting to let everyone know who you are online, but you may also want to keep some anonymity for your personal safety.