What Should I Look For in an Online College?

When choosing an online college, there are three primary things to look for: Accreditation, where the school sits in independent rankings, and what kinds of student reviews the school is getting.


Accreditation is important to look for because it shows that an independent third party has examined the school and found it to be legitimate. You can start out by searching the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs, which contains about 6,900 accredited colleges and programs, including most quality online colleges. You can also check up on the legitimacy of the accrediting agency an online school touts on their Web page by examining a list of accrediting agencies recognized for distance education, also provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Another thing to look for in an online college is where the institution sits in independent rankings. While there are still few resources strictly judging online colleges, one reliable place to look for rankings is the Online Education Database. This site uses a set of clearly-stated metrics to determine how online colleges receive their rankings. The metrics compiled by the OEDb include how many years the school has been accredited; acceptance, retention and graduation rates; the availability of financial aid; Web citations by peers and scholarly citations; and the school’s student-faculty ratio. Use the OEDb as a good resource for seeing the big picture of online colleges’ quality.

Student Reviews

When looking for an online college, you should also take a look at what students who have attended certain online colleges have to say about their experience. Reviewers will talk about positive aspects of the college, like how they were able to finish their degree more quickly than expected, how they enjoyed the Web program or how their advisors were helpful. However, they will also talk about negative aspects of the college, like how they had a horrible experience with financial aid, did not receive enough feedback from professors or could not get technical help. The key is to look for trends. If you see certain negatives repeated over and over again, you can get a better idea whether a problem was one person’s experience or something you will run into as well.

Online College Degree Programs

Ashford University - Associate's, Bachelor's, & Master's Degrees. Ashford University has assisted thousands of students reach their goal of graduating college. With degrees available online, students never have to leave their house to go back to school.
AIU Online, American Intercontinental University Online
American InterContinental University Online - Associate's, Bachelor's, & Master's Degrees. American InterContinental University has educated thousands of students over the past 35 years. With over a 100 degrees available, students will find high quality degree programs in their field of study.
More Information on AIU Online University
Liberty University
Liberty University - Associate's, Bachelor's, & Master's Degrees. Liberty University is a Christian college educating students not just in books, but in moral values. With all accredited degrees available online, students have an opportunity to go to one of the most respected colleges in the country from home.
Everest University
Everest University - Associate's, Bachelor's, & Master's Degrees. Everest University is an online college that offers high quality degree courses entirely online. Everest is unique in that it offers only select degree programs in industires with high growth.
Everest College
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University - Associate's, Bachelor's, & Master's Degrees. As one of the most recognized online universities, Saint Leo University has been educating students all over the world through their various degree programs offered online. The programs are taken completely online, giving students the opportunity to work or raise and family while receiving the education they've always dreamed of.
Saint Leo University
More Info from Kaplan University Online
Kaplan University - Associate's, Bachelor's, & Master's Degrees. Kaplan University is one of the best colleges for students to go to if they are interested in obtaining their college degree online. With a large number of undergraduate and graduate degrees, students can find the degree they are looking for.
More Info on Kaplan University
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University - Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's & Doctoral Degrees. Colorado Technical University has been a top choice for many students looking to attend an online college because of its broad range of programs and flexible courses. Students will find the right degree for their educational and career goals at CTU with the schools' helpful staff members and administrators.
Everest College
DeVry University
DeVry University - Associate's, Bachelor's, & Master's Degrees DeVry University is a natural place for students to go back to school because of its convenient class schedules and excellent faculty. DeVry is an accredited university with degree programs available online.
Walden University
Virginia College
Virginia College - Associate's, Bachelor's & Master's Degrees. As one of the most popular online education colleges available, Virginia College offers several accredited online degrees to accommodate individual career and educational goals. Their online courses are easily accessible online at anytime of day at any place with access to a computer.
Strayer University
Strayer University - Associate's, Bachelor's & Master's Degrees. Offering numerous degrees, Westwood College is a perfect spot for students interested in attending college for the first time. With degrees available online, students can attend college from anywhere in the world!
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University - Bachelor's, & Master's Degrees. Individuals seeking to be a part of a Christian community should look into attending college online at Grand Canyon University. Through online portals and discussion boards, students have the opportunity to communicate with fellow students and professors to enhance their learning while attending the university.
Grand Canyon University