You don’t have the time for an on-campus degree right now, but you don’t want to postpone your education. That’s why you are looking into online degrees. At the same time, you hesitate because you want your diploma to be worth the same as one from an on-campus university.
But there’s a happy ending to your story. Nowadays, it is possible to find quite a few online courses and universities that match the reputation of on-campus schools. As online education developed so did the quality standards of distance learning. So, how do you pick a great online university or degree?
The basic step is to make sure the degree you want to apply to is accredited – recognised by official agencies as meeting higher education standards. But if you want to be ahead of the game, you should also pick universities that are integrated within an international university network adding extra credibility. Some examples are:
These universities are members of Laureate International Universities, an international organisation that has as the main goal to make quality higher education accessible and affordable.
How are online universities accredited and why does it matter?
Accreditation of online universities is highly relevant and not just in terms of how it will impact your future education or career. Studying at a recognised university also allows you to transfer credits towards other programmes and makes you a better candidate for receiving financial aid.
The process of accreditation of online universities can vary somewhat depending on each country. For example, in the US, distance learning degrees can be accredited on three levels:
- Programmatic accreditation: valid for certain study programmes within a university.
- Regional accreditation: regional agencies vouch for vocational and other professional programmes provided by universities.
- National accreditation: provides recognition at a national level.
Some examples of online universities in the US that are accredited are:
To give you another example, in the UK, universities are accredited by the British Accreditation Council and by various professional organisations. Here are some examples of reputable British universities offering online degrees:
- The Open University UK
- Nottingham Trent University Online
- University of Bath Online
- University of Birmingham Online
- University of Glasgow
Top accredited online universities for anyone
Just because we have given you the example of American and British online universities, it does not mean you have to limit your search to only these two countries. You can find top online programmes in most countries around the world such as at:
- RMIT University, from Australia
- Royal Roads University, from Canada
- EU Business School, based in several locations
- IUBH University of Applied Sciences, from Germany
The key things to remember if you want to be happy with choosing online education is to select a recognised programme that matches your professional interests, that is tailored to suit your schedule and that is within your budget.
When a university is accredited, usually, the information can be easily found at the bottom of the page or have a special tab dedicated to this matter. When in doubt, you can always contact the university directly or international accreditation organisations such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
We believe everyone should get a chance at transforming their lives through education, be it online or on-campus. Because it is only be bettering ourselves that we can give back to our communities and make the world a little bit better.