How to Choose the Best Online College

How to Choose the Best Online College

Education is possible everywhere. Thanks to the Internet, you can get a degree no matter where you live or what stage of life you’re in.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many public universities offered some sort of learning online, and the number of students enrolling has grown significantly since 2019. Online colleges have helped millions of students grow their knowledge, obtain degrees, and improve their career prospects.

But do you know how to choose the right online degree program? Is it even right for you? We’ll walk through some steps to take when making that big decision on whether or not getting a degree — online or in person — is a good choice.

1. Consider if an online degree is right for you.

Whether you’re considering getting a degree right after high school or are looking into online degree programs as a working adult, you likely have some questions going through your mind about how to choose an online college (or any college, for that matter).

So, how do you pick a good school? It might be helpful to sit down and think about your values, financial situation, and whether an online degree might be the right choice for your goals and lifestyle. Ask yourself the following things:

What are my values?
  • Why am I interested in going back to school?
  • What do I hope to accomplish by continuing my education?
  • What are the most important things I want from an online university?
How are my finances?
  • How will I pay for school?
  • Will I need to balance working full time while going to school?
  • What sacrifices will I need to make to succeed?
What’s right for my lifestyle?
  • Is an online school right for me?
  • Do I have what it takes to be a successful online student?
  • What are the best online degree programs?

2. Determine your ideal type of online program.

If you’ve completed the steps above and think that a degree is right for you, first of all, congratulations! You’re on your way to a huge step in your life that should be celebrated.

Perhaps you still want to consider if an online degree is right for you. You may have a few of these questions:

How do online classes work?

Online classes from accredited universities work differently depending on the program. At UC Online, all of our classes are taught asynchronously — meaning you don’t have to log in at any particular time to attend a class, which is great for flexibility.

In other online programs, you might need to tune into a call via Zoom at the allotted class time. The exact curriculum will vary by the class and professor — some may have fewer online lectures, some may require group work, and some may operate on a self-paced basis.

Are online programs valued by employers?

Absolutely! An online degree holds just as much weight as a degree acquired in person. Most employers don’t even differentiate between the two types of degrees, according to recent data.

Which type of online program is best for me?

You’ll want to pick an online program that aligns with your interests and your professional goals. If you prefer to work at your own pace, you may prioritize an online program with that flexibility. If you need a more rigid schedule to stay on top of deadlines, many professors run their online programs that way, too. More likely than not, any given degree will have a mix of both types of classes.

Additionally, if you have college credits from another university, you’ll likely want to pick an online degree program that allows transferable credits.

If you think an online degree is right for you, it’s time to do some research on what degree you’re looking to get. While you may be searching for the best online bachelor’s degree programs and best online master’s degree programs, you’ll also want to search by your interests.

Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of being a financial advisor, but upon further research, you realize that a degree in accounting may better fit your goals and desires. Reach out to Enrollment Services Advisor to learn more about the online curriculum for the program that most interests you.

3. Evaluate your list of schools and programs.

Of course, your first instinct might be to look up which online colleges are highly accredited or have national rankings. However, there are some other important things to consider as you start to research the right schools and programs:

Financial aid available

Having a generous student loan can be the difference between stressing about pinching pennies during your education and being able to focus on your studies. Consider your own financial situation and make sure to pick an online program that has the right options for you.

Student support services

Life happens. Unexpected circumstances arise. While you don’t want anything to go wrong throughout the course of your degree, it’s great to be prepared — and pick a degree program that will be understanding if you fall ill, need financial assistance, or need additional resources and support. Finding an online program with plenty of support services for students is key to long-term success. Here at UC Online, we support your ongoing success, you will be assigned a Student Success Coordinator who works hand-in-hand with you throughout your college journey.

Reviews from alumni

Ninety-three percent of customers read online reviews before buying a product. Why not do the same thing for one of your biggest investments yet — your education? Look up your degree, your program, and your professors and see what alumni or other students have to say.

Why choose UC Online for my degree?

  • Countless awards and recognition – In addition to a nationally renowned faculty, UC Online boasts all kinds of awards including No.1 Online College in Ohio, 2nd in The Top 25 Online Master’s in Taxation, and 2nd in Best Online Master’s in Health Informatics.
  • 200 years of history – With two centennials of history in education and innovation, UC Online is a great choice for your online degree.
  • Personalized support – From application through graduation, our staff is here for you every step of the way. In fact, it’s their job! Our designated student success coordinators are here to do just that — ensure your success — from general support to registration to regular check-ins.

No matter where you are in life, the University of Cincinnati Online will meet you there. At UC, we offer online programs of the same high quality and integrity as traditional courses and the flexibility to complete them at a time and place that’s convenient for you. Learn more about what makes UC Online different and apply today.

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Need additional student resources?
Already an online student? UC Online has additional tips and tricks to ensure you are on the path to success. Check out our Student Resources section for what you need to maximize your learning.
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