Saturday, March 24, 2012

15 Considerations to Choose Online School

1. Accreditation
Accreditation is the process of reviewing a school’s programs and policies to see if it meets criteria set by an outside agency. When a school is found to meet the minimum criteria, it is granted accreditation. Not all accreditation is equal. Accreditation from the wrong source (such as an accreditation mill) can be worse than no accreditation at all. Make sure that your online school is accredited by an agency recognized by either the United States Department of Education (USDE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). These organizations maintain lists of legitimate accreditors.

2. Residency Requirements
A "residency requirement" is a set amount of time a student must spend on campus in order to complete a degree. Many brick-and-mortar colleges mandate residency requirements for their online students. If you enroll in one of these programs, you may have to travel to campus for several weekends or even several semesters in order to earn your degree. Before enrolling in any online program, make sure its residency requirements will meet your needs.

3. Class Schedules
Whether you want to meet deadlines or learn at your own pace, there is an online class schedule to fit your learning style. Before enrolling in any online college, compare class schedules and pacing. Choosing a schedule that fits your needs will help you manage your time and stay on top of your assignments.

4. Admissions Requirements
A successful academic record. Online colleges want to know that accepted applicants will succeed in their classes, without any face-to-face encouragement. High test scores. Whether they require the SAT, ACT, GRE, or LSAT, your online program wants to test your current knowledge and your ability to learn.
Extracurricular and professional activities. Online schools may not offer a vibrant campus life, but they do want students who will make a difference in their own communities. Well-written essays. The application essay is your chance to let your personality show through.Stellar recommendations. Online colleges also want to know how other people see you. That’s why many programs require several letters of recommendations.

5. Tuition
Your tuition should be comparable to that of regular universities, perhaps slightly less. Make sure that you won’t be overcharged or stuck with mandatory fees.

6. Teachers' Education and Experience
If teachers will be grading your work or leading you in online discussions, it is important that they have the knowledge necessary to do the job. The majority of junior college teachers have at least a M.A degree in the subject they teach, and the majority of university professors have a Ph. D. in their area of expertise. Distance education teachers should have comparable experience.

7. Number of Students Per Teacher
Teachers who are assigned too many students have less time to work with people who need help. Making sure your teachers are not overburdened can help you get the education you deserve.

8. Degree Program
Not every program offers every degree. Before you enroll, make sure that your school offers the degree that you are looking for.

9. Program Period
Some online schools offer students the chance to complete a degree in less time. Some students are even able to finish an entire year early.

10. Pace
While some schools let students complete tasks at their own pace, others require that students participate in virtual class sessions and have specific deadlines for assignments.

11. Curriculum
If you will be required to purchase textbooks, determine what their average cost will be. Books can be expensive, even hundreds of dollars per course. If you are an auditory or kinetic learner (learn best by hearing and doing, rather than by reading alone), finding a school that offers a multimedia element in their curriculum may help you master the material.

12. Tutoring
Some schools provide virtual “office hours” that allow students to communicate with teachers when they have additional questions or are struggling in their work. Others expect students to work independently and do not offer direct assistance.

13. School History
The longer the school has existed, the better. A school isn’t automatically credible because it’s been around a long time, but having experience is always a plus.

14. School Scale
If you enroll in a new school that has very few students, you can expect to encounter quite a bit of instability.

15. Communication
Having a number to call or an actual location you can go to can be very helpful when you need help or are looking for answers. Most legitimate schools will give you a number you can use to reach them.

Types of Accreditation for Colleges and Universities

There are two basic types of educational accreditation, one referred to as "institutional" and the other referred to as "specialized" or "programmatic."

Institutional accreditation normally applies to an entire institution, indicating that each of an institution's parts is contributing to the achievement of the institution's objectives, although not necessarily all at the same level of quality. The various commissions of the regional accrediting agencies, for example, perform institutional accreditation, as do many national accrediting agencies.

Specialized or programmatic accreditation normally applies to programs, departments, or schools that are parts of an institution. The accredited unit may be as large as a college or school within a university or as small as a curriculum within a discipline. Most of the specialized or programmatic accrediting agencies review units within an institution of higher education that is accredited by one of the regional accrediting agencies. However, certain accrediting agencies also accredit professional schools and other specialized or vocational institutions of higher education that are freestanding in their operations. Thus, a "specialized" or "programmatic" accrediting agency may also function in the capacity of an "institutional" accrediting agency. In addition, a number of specialized accrediting agencies accredit educational programs within non-educational settings, such as hospitals.

Note: The U.S. Department of Education does not have the authority to accredit private or public elementary or secondary schools, and the Department does not recognize accrediting bodies for the accreditation of private or public elementary and secondary schools. However, the U.S. Department of Education does recognize accrediting bodies for the accreditation of institutions of higher (postsecondary) education. If an accrediting body which is recognized by the Department for higher education also accredits elementary and secondary schools, the Department's recognition applies only to the agency's accreditation of postsecondary institutions.

Accreditation does not provide automatic acceptance by an institution of credit earned at another institution, nor does it give assurance of acceptance of graduates by employers. Acceptance of credit or graduates is always the prerogative of the receiving institution or employer. For these reasons, besides ascertaining the accredited status of a school or program, students should take additional measures to determine, prior to enrollment, whether their educational goals will be met through attendance at a particular institution. Those measures should include inquiries to institutions to which transfer might be desired or to prospective employers.

read more about accreditation:

What is Life Experience Degree?

'Life experience degrees' or 'work experience degrees' are degrees that individuals can obtain through their past experiences in a related field. These degrees are designed for adults and professionals who have enough experiences in their respective fields but due to various reasons could not get a professional degree.

The concept of ‘Degrees on the basis of Life Experience or Work Experience’ originated in 1987 and was evolved from the philosophy of getting some course credits on the basis of experience as offered by the top schools of United States of America.

These degrees are excellent resume builders and by getting one relevant experience based degree, you will be able to prove yourself with the desired job or a promotion. It is a big prospect for international students who want to earn their degree from their home without traveling all over to any other country or state.Earning this degree is highly flexible and time saving, as you won’t need to attend any classes, take exams, get admission, or study books it is purely earned on your professional experience in your academic career or past job or training in military, personal hobbies or vocational training. [from Online Education Facts]

Accreditation of Life Experience Schools

First of all, yes, they are all accredited. But the question you think you want to know is if they are regionally accredited and recognized by the US Government. The answer is they are not. Some of these schools fully disclose their accreditation status and some try to fool you into thinking they are regionally accredited.

There are only 3 schools that offer Life Experience Degrees that are fully accredited and recognized by the US Government. They are:

  • Thomas Edison State College
  • Excelsior College
  • Charter Oak State College.

You can jump on one of their websites one Saturday morning and get your life experience degree, but before doing that, I thinks it's better to see next two pages carefully.

6 Advantages of Taking Online School

1. Anonymity
Students feel shy when it comes to class participation, which is essential for a quality education. For some, it can be nerve-wracking to speak up in a class, especially if you’re giving your opinion, not just answering an objective question about the work. Online, there’s a certain level of anonymity, which can really help you come out of your shell. In an online classroom, it is much easier to ask questions as well, so you’ll get the answers you need to understand the material better.

2. Best Professors/Faculties
When you go to a campus college, you’re limited to working with professors who live in your area. While most colleges are home to amazing professors in at least a few fields, an online campus isn’t limited by location. So, if the best teacher for Introduction to Anatomy lives in New Mexico and the best teacher for Biology 101 lives in South Carolina, you can have access to them both. With every class, there’s the potential for the best professors.

3. Schedule
Most schools advertise the fact that you can work on your own schedule, even in your pajamas, but it isn’t just about scheduling school before the kids wake up or after you come home from your day job. At an online university, you have more flexibility to work at your own pace. So, even if you can only devote a limited amount of time to your schoolwork, you can still get your degree.

4. Professors are easier to contact.
With a traditional college, most professors have office hours during which time they are available to answer your questions. If you aren’t available during those hours, you might be out of luck, since some professors don’t check their email often. Professors at online colleges will contact you almost exclusively via email, which means that you can ask your question any time day or night, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can.

5. Cost
With a campus college, your tuition doesn’t just cover the expense of going to class. You’re also paying for access to classrooms, a library, and other facilities that aren’t a part of online universities. Server space costs a lot less than actual buildings, and that savings will be passed on to you, so saving for college is easier.

6. Balance a Job and Class
Many students do not want to leave their current jobs. They don't have to while earning a degree online. Students will be able to go to work during the day and study at nighttime. Many people go to night school after work. They are exhausted by the time they get home each night. Online classes provide the same instruction without the exhaustion.