The increasing popularity of online education programs has led to an increasing number of online colleges and universities. While some of these organizations offer excellent programs and respectable degrees, other organizations are questionable. Instead of providing a convenient education, these diploma mills hand out degrees for little work and lots of money. If you are interested in online education, you need to know how to pick a legitimate institution.
Diploma mills are not new. They have existed for decades, providing naÃ?Â¯ve, hopeful people with useless degrees. All the “colleges” need to do is create nice-looking certificate in exchange for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. People pay for the degrees because they think it will help their careers. Some people even buy the degrees knowing that they are fraudulent. Such people should be warned that if they know the degrees are a sham, employers are likely to know this as well.
Go with a respected name. The school doesn’t necessarily need to be a prestigious Ivy League university, but it should be a respectable, recognized institution. This looks better on resumes, too. Many regular colleges and universities now offer online programs; usually, the fact that you studied online will not even be noted on your degree.
There are some institutions that focus primarily or completely on online education and have been able to make a name for themselves by offering quality classes and genuine degrees; these programs are acceptable, too. You should, however, avoid institutions that you have never heard of. Fly-by-night colleges, just like fly-by-night businesses, are likely to be
Check out the program before you enroll. If the program seems too easy or too short, it is probably not a good program. Degrees are not supposed to be something that you can get over night without putting in a lot of effort. Degrees should require a significant amount of work; this is what makes them valuable. By paying for a degree from a diploma mill, you are denying yourself a genuine education. This will be evident when you actually try to use your degree in a job situation. A good program should take approximately the same amount of time that a more traditional program would take. Students should be assessed through tests or papers; they should not be automatically passed. Real life experience should not count towards the degree.
Make sure that the online college or university is accredited. Some degree scams actually claim to be accredited, so also make sure that they are accredited by a real, respectable organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. For help finding an accredited college, go to http://www.elearners.com/.
If you are enrolled in a valid degree program, you should be eligible for federal financial aid. You can fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online and receive grants and loans. In the end, a real degree might be more affordable than a fake degree.
Before you enroll in an online program, do a lot of research. Check for accreditation, name recognition, and history. Find out if the college is eligible for federal student aid. Make sure that the classes will actually
provide you with a helpful education and that professors will be
available to guide you. Try to find alumni and ask them whether or not they feel they received a valid education. You could even ask prospective employers whether or not they would higher somebody who graduated from the university in question. And remember: if a program sounds to good to be true, it probably is.