Where does a prospective student begin his or her own online college search? Many people will use a search engine, but there are a few factors to keep in mind when doing this. The first is that any school, college or university can use a search engine to draw attention to their programs. That is great, but there are some groups commonly referred to as “diploma mills” that list themselves shoulder to shoulder with fully accredited colleges and universities.
Generally, a diploma mill will offer a meaningless certificate, without any professional value to the person who enrolls in the program. It is important, when conducting and online college search, to make sure that the school of choice is accredited and that any credits or transcripts from that school will be honored by all other schools.
This is for several reasons – first a student wants their work to have “real world” value and be honored or recognized by employers or other official agencies. Secondly, if a student wants to pursue a higher educational level the credits earned at a school without accreditation will not be accepted.
Another issue to consider when beginning an online college search is the focus of the student’s studies. There are some schools that are particularly well known and respected for certain or specific fields of study. For example, some colleges and universities with online opportunities are known for their excellence in business studies, while others excel in medical programming. A prospective student should be sure that their online college search includes specific terminology, such as “online business degree”, in order to obtain the most effective results.
A final consideration when beginning an online college search is the kinds of course work a student is prepared to handle. For example, many online colleges and courses rely strictly on email and the Internet while others require a correspondence course style of participation. Neither method of learning allows for a student to be lazy or skip their studies, but one may involve more computer time, and for some students this could present an issue. It is best for a prospective student to review the classes and requirements of each program prior to enrolling.