This Degree Isn’t For Everyone
The largest caveat to earning a degree online is to not underestimate the amount of work required — and knowing that it’s largely isolated work. While there are programs which incorporate online students into live class sessions, many require you to study independently. Being able to study at any time is a perk for online learning, but it means that your education requires perhaps more self-motivation than average — and you won’t get the networking or teamwork experience of an in-person class.
Taking a moment to identify what you’d like to get out of a degree program can help you decide whether an online college is the best option for you. If networking, tutoring, and group study sessions are important, see which colleges offer an online equivalent.
As you hone in on the specific degree and the best online college that’s right for you, there are a few details to keep in mind. All of the universities on our list have regional accreditation, which means that the university itself has been recognized to provide quality education. However, there are accrediting organizations on the degree-level, too. Researching if there is an accreditor for your specific degree (whether business, social work, or otherwise) and then checking if a prospective school has that accreditation adds another stamp of approval to your degree.
Additionally, the professors at a given university will be an even larger part of your academic experience than with an on-campus program. Taking a closer look at a department’s faculty, the courses they’ve taught recently, and the research they’re interested in can help you identify whether a program meets your specific interests.
Finally, you’ll want to keep an eye on each prospective university’s state authorizations. Different states can have different requirements for higher education, and this can translate into one state not recognizing another’s authority for awarding a diploma. If you live in a different state than the university, you’ll need to make sure your home state has authorized the university to grant degrees. Most universities have a specific webpage for their information, but you can also check with the admissions office or your local Board of Education for more details.
Find the Best Online Colleges in Your State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Other Online College Rankings
- Catholic Colleges
- Christian Colleges
- Best Online Colleges for Women
- Best Online Colleges for Working Adults
- Best Online Colleges with Lowest Out-of-State Tuition
- Best Online Colleges with Open Admissions
- HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities)
- Best Online Colleges for Veterans
- Best Online Trade Schools