In the course of your interviewing prospective online colleges you will want to get a very clear picture from the schools’ academic advisors. Going prepared to ask some key questions will help you be able to understand what you’re getting into and also give you some common points to compare between the different online institutions. Here is a list of 10 questions you should take to a meeting or call with an academic advisor.

  1. What classes can I take? While you may feel this is predetermined by the degree you are pursuing each college may have slightly different lists of core classes for your major. Be sure to find out what those are so you could be sure that you’re getting the classes that are best going to help you attain your goals.
  2. Do I need to take any other classes before I can be accepted? Sometimes degrees will transfer straight over from one institution to the next. It is not a given however, so make sure to see if you need to take any prerequisites before you can be accepted into your program. They may or may not offer those classes at the institution you’re looking to attend. Learn where you can take them.
  3. What kind of support services do you have? Sometimes you may need to have tutoring above and beyond what a class can give you. You might also like to have help with job placement or have special needs as a student. Ask if your prospective online college offers these to online students.
  4. What experience do your instructors have? Have they been in academia their whole lives or do they have real job experience in the subject they’re teaching. If a teacher has been involved with research and helping local businesses solve their problems this too may valid substitute for industry work experience.
  5. What’s your dropout rate? This may not be a number fresh in their heads, but it should be. Knowing how many students you keep progressing and knowing how many bail before they finish let’s future students know something about the school, granted, it could be any number of things that causes student to dropout, but shoot for a high retention rates and then strive to be one of them.
  6. Where do students end up after they graduate? Good programs have good reputations and those that do typically have good job placement. Ask about where their students are getting jobs after graduation. This will let you know, if you study hard, that you could likely find similar placement.
  7. How much are books, etc.? Often the total cost of enrollment doesn’t include materials. If all your classes are online and textbooks are in digital format this still may be the case, though there’s a better chance if this is the case that the cost shared with you includes all of your “extras”.

There are some of the questions you can take to your academic advisor to help you narrow down your choices. There’s power in a good question. Think of some of your own and jump on in!

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