We’ve talked before about accreditation. That is perhaps one of the greatest ways to tell if a university, online or off, is credible, however it’s not the only way to determine whether or not the online college you are looking into attending is worthy of the admiration of future employers, et al. The school may also tout awards, cutting edge research or membership in consortium.

You may be saddened to realize that the online school you’ve been excited about furthering your education with is not accredited. Well, if it really feels right take some time to have the school reps sell you on why to attend. If they have set themselves apart in a particular area, your area of interest, you may hear marketing messages about awards won and honors achieved. If this is a case, take some time to investigate the particular award they have won. It’s not too difficult to create your own award and give it to yourself. You simply need a cool name like Great Northwest Medical Billing Association. Next you just need to think of an award name like the Great Northwest Medical Billing Association’s Award of Excellence. The name does most of the job of convincing people that it’s legit. Just make sure your school isn’t the one that created the award in the first place, requirements for obtaining such honors can be pretty loose.

Another way to tell how your degree will be looked upon is to look at their research programs. They may top in their field for a given area of interest. You can do some Google searches to determine how involved they have been in contributing to the understanding that’s being generated in the field. If they are mentioned often in top research studies you can probably breathe a little easier knowing that your degree will worth the paper it’s printed on at least! 🙂

Another way similar to investigate the props of a prospective online college is to look at what degree they are involved with online education. Schools that help with research to determine better ways of educating students online often are trying new things, applying what they find, taking feedback and improving themselves. Sometimes how information is presented is just as valuable as the information itself. You’ve heard the phrase don’t judge a book by its cover? Well, sometimes we do that even though what’s inside could be very valuable to us.

So, in addition to checking to see if an online school is accredited, check to see what kind of research they’re involved with, if they belong to any groups that strive for excellence, if they may have won any awards or honors. In the end, what you feel about the group is going to be one of the most important factors in determining whether an online institution is going to right for you or not. Ask some questions, pay attention to how you feel and you should be fine. Good luck in choosing the best online college!

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