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Online Education: Questions You Should Ask

Choosing the right online education is just as important as choosing the right brick-and-mortar college or university. If you were planning to pursue an education through traditional classroom studies, you would surely visit the campus, sit in on a class, meet with an advisor, and more before deciding on the right school for you.

Since many online educators don't have a campus or are far enough away that you could not visit them, we've compiled a handful of questions for you to ask prospective schools so you can be sure you're getting the best education for your needs.

1. Is the school accredited, and who is the accrediting body?
If your prospective school is not accredited, you may learn that your degree is worthless! Read more about accreditation.

2. Does the school have a demo of the online learning environment that you can review?
In addition to making sure that your computer is sufficient for accessing your online classroom, you'll also want to review a course demo to determine if it matches your learning style.

3. Who will be teaching your online classes and what are their backgrounds?
Lacking face-to-face interaction, it's easy to forget that there is a real person teaching your class and grading your assignments. Make sure the instructors have the appropriate education to be delivering your higher education. Expect them to have master's degrees, Ph.D.s, and appropriate professional experience, just as you would in a classroom setting.

4. What costs are associated with my degree?
You know you have to pay tuition and some standard student fees, but make sure there are no hidden costs. You should never be required to buy a specific computer or software from your online school.

5. How many students are currently enrolled in online degree programs and how many have graduated?
You want to know that your school has a successful record of recruiting and graduating students. Newer programs may not be as stable as established programs, and higher graduation rates generally indicate that students have been pleased with their programs.

Remember, spending a few minutes asking these basic questions about your prospective school can save you a lot of heartache and money as you pursue your online education.