What to Ask Your Online School

Asking the right questions of your prospective schools is essential to selecting a quality education online program. Read on for a list of questions to ask your admissions officer or college representative before you make your decision.

Are you accredited? If so, by whom are you accredited? This should be the first question you ask of any online school. Online learning institutions without accreditation are little more than diploma mills, handing out degrees that require no academic rigor. Find out if your school is accredited, and even more importantly, which accrediting body provides the accreditation. You can consult the Department of Education website to find out if the accrediting body is legitimate.

Do you offer the degree program I need? The education online program you choose should offer the level of degree (bachelor’s, master’s, etc.) you need in the field you’ve chosen. Make sure the online degree is closely related to the profession you’d like to enter. For example, if you would like to become an accountant, a degree in business administration would probably be too broad to be relevant for you.

What are the estimated tuition and fees for one term? Getting an idea of how much your online classes will cost will help you figure out the proper way to pay for them. You should be able to find an estimate of tuition and fees on the school’s website. Don’t forget to include expenses like books and software.

How long do classes last? Every online college or university will have different term lengths. Some online schools still use the traditional 16-week semester format, but most schools have gravitated toward abbreviated terms. The average education online undergraduate course lasts about five weeks typically. Also find out how many classes you are permitted to take per term.

How long will it take to complete my degree? Find out the average time it takes for a student to complete the degree you want with the education online program you choose. Undergraduate degrees obtained online tend to take 24-36 months in most cases. Be wary of online schools that promise degrees in impractically short periods of time. Quality online degrees will take time to earn.

What kind of financial assistance do you offer? Once you’re admitted to a online education program, your school will likely put you in touch with a financial aid officer to discuss how to pay for your tuition. Before you apply, however, you should have an idea of what kind of scholarships and other financial assistance your school can offer.