If you are considering to get a degree from the comfort of your home and you’re clueless on where to start from, then start from here. This article on how to find the best online colleges near your locality at World Scholars Hub is all that you need to get started.
How do you know the best online colleges? How do you know the program to study? Which schools offer the program online? This guide is here to answer your queries and assist you in choosing the best online college around you.
Online education is moving from being an alternative to becoming a norm. A lot of colleges and universities adopted online learning formats during the COVID 19 pandemic.
During the pandemic, online learning was an alternative but now online learning has become the norm for many students, especially the ones with busy schedules.
Everybody is slowing accepting online education and changing their perspective on it. Before, a lot of people especially employers usually think online degrees have low quality but that is no longer the case.
All thanks to technological advancements, students can receive quality education from anywhere. Even, the world’s best universities provide online programs. So, why will anyone think online degrees have low quality?
Without any further ado, let’s get started.
- Why Online Colleges Near Me?
- How Do I Find the Best Online Colleges Near Me?
- Step 1: Choose an area of study
- Factors to consider before choosing a degree level
- Popular Areas of Study
- Step 2: Determine which online learning format suits you best
- Fully Online Learning
- Hybrid Learning or Blended Learning
- Step 3: Research for Online Colleges (With your location)
- Factors to consider before choosing an Online College
- Step 4: Check for the availability of your study program
- Step 5: Check Admission Requirements
- Step 6: Find out how much it will cost to study your program
- Step 7: Apply
- How to apply to Online Colleges
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How long does an online program take?
- What are the in-demand degree programs?
- How can I fund an Online program?
- What Do I Need to Apply to Online Colleges?
- Are Online degrees worth it?
- We Also Recommend
Why Online Colleges Near Me?
You are probably wondering why you have to choose an online college close to you, since online programs can be taken anywhere.
It is advisable to enroll in online colleges close to you because of the following reasons
Most colleges including online colleges have different tuition rates for residents and non-residents. In other words, in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition.
In-state tuition is for students with a permanent residence of the state in which the university or college is located.
Out-of-state tuition is for students coming from outside the state in which the university or college is located.
So, what this means is that you should enroll in colleges in your state so you can pay tuition at cheap rate.
- Easily visit the school
If you are enrolling in an online program delivered through hybrid format, where you will have to take physical classes, then you should apply for a college close to you.
In this case, living close to the school will save you a lot of money and also save you from stress because you won’t have to travel a thousand miles to receive lectures.
Also, you will be able to meet your lectures or professors in person.
- Access campus resources
You can only gain access to campus resources if you live close. Online students can gain access to campus resources like libraries, laboratories, halls and gyms.
- In-person residency or orientation requirements
Not every online program is fully virtual. Many include an in-person residency, where students have to visit the school’s campus a few times each semester.
- Financial Aid
Most online colleges provide financial aids to in-state students only. In most cases, only residents (of a state where the college is located) are eligible for federal financial aids.
So, if you had like to fund your online program with a financial aid then you should consider a college in your state.
If you are planning to seek for employment in your locality, then it’s advisable to enroll in an online college with campus in your locality.
Why? This is because local employers usually recognize degree issued by local colleges. This may sound untrue but it’s happens a lot.
How Do I Find the Best Online Colleges Near Me?
Here is the steps to take when choosing an online college. These steps will make you choose nothing but the best of the all the top-notch colleges in your locality.
Below are 7 steps in finding the best online colleges in your locality:
- Choose an area of study
- Determine which online learning format suits you best
- Research for Online Colleges (with your location)
- Check for the availability of your study program
- Check admission requirements
- Find out how much it will cost to study your program
- Apply to the Online College.
Let’s carefully explain these steps to you.
Step 1: Choose an area of study
The first step to take is to identify your interest. What do you enjoy doing? Which career would you like to pursue? What are the subjects you performing excellently in? You need to provide answers to those questions before you choose an area of study.
Make sure to choose an area of study that suits your career interest. For example, someone who wants to pursue a career in healthcare should choose an area of study in nursing, pharmacy, medicine, therapy and other field in healthcare.
Once you have chosen an area of study, then you need to determine what degree level meet your career goals. Also, make sure you have the prerequisites before you choose a degree level.
Online programs are offered at different levels including:
- Associate’s degree
- Bachelor’s degree
- Master’s degree
- Doctoral degree
- Undergraduate Certificate
- Graduate Certificate.
Factors to consider before choosing a degree level
You need to consider a few factors before you choose your degree level
The duration of a program depends on the degree level. A bachelor’s degree will take four years to complete while a certificate program can be completed within a year or less.
- Career opportunities
The higher the degree level, the higher the pay and career opportunities. A bachelor’s degree holder may be paid higher than a certificate holder.
Enrollment requirements for diploma/certificate programs are less compared to bachelor’s degree programs.
Popular Areas of Study
A lot of students are enrolled in these study areas because they are in demand. Choosing any of these study areas may land you a high-paying job.
- Computer and Information Science
- Social Sciences
- Media & Communication
- Criminal Justice
- Visual and Performing Arts
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
Step 2: Determine which online learning format suits you best
Before you conclude on taking online classes, you need to know the different types of online learning and the one that suits you best.
Online programs are usually offered in two main formats: fully online (asynchronous and synchronous) and partially online (hybrid or blended).
Fully Online Learning
In this format, online programs are offered fully online, there are no physical or traditional classroom classes. Fully online learning can either be asynchronous or synchronous or even both in few cases.
In this type of online learning format, students are provided with recorded lectures, assignments and are given deadlines for completing the assignments, viewing lectures, and participating in group discussions.
There are no class meetings and video calls. Also, there is little or no interaction among the students. Asynchronous online learning is perfect for students with busy schedules.
In this type of online learning format, students attend virtual classes, view lectures, participate in group chats and conversations and complete assignments according to a syllabus. There is interaction among students.
Synchronous online learning is not suitable for students with busy schedules.
Hybrid Learning or Blended Learning
Hybrid learning is the combination of online learning and traditional classroom classes. It allows both in-person and online interaction.
In this type of online learning format, students are required to meet in person.
Step 3: Research for Online Colleges (With your location)
The next step to take is to find the right online college. You can do this in the following ways.
- Google Search
You can either search for online colleges by the program/study area or by the state/country.
- Check ranks
There are a lot of ranking bodies like US News & World Report, QS top universities. Check the ranks of the best online colleges on their websites.
- Search on websites
There are a lot of websites that allow users to search for college by either state or program. For example, OnlineU.com
All you have to do is select a program, degree level and search. The results of your search will give you a list of colleges that offer the program and it’s location.
- Check Blogs
Blogs like Worldscholarshub.com is your go-to-blog for any education related articles. We have a lot of articles on Best online colleges and online programs. Links to some of the articles are provided at the end of this article under the category “We Also Recommend”
Factors to consider before choosing an Online College
Make sure to verify the following things before you choose an online college.
- Type of Institution
You need to check whether the college is a community college, career college, vocational school, public college, private non-profit college or private for-profit college.
The type of institution has an effect on the cost of program. Generally, public colleges have low tuition rates compared to private for-profit colleges.
Accreditation has a lot of effects on the quality of degree issued by colleges and universities. It will be so difficult to get employed with an unaccredited degree.
Also, the accreditation status of a college can also have impact on the availability of financial aid or ability to transfer credits.
Accreditation status of an institution can be found on it’s official website.
Check the delivery method of the college’s online programs. It can either be fully online (asynchronous and synchronous) or hybrid. This will determine how flexible the programs offered are.
Tuition is an important factor to consider when choosing an online college. Check for tuition and other fees to know if you can the college or not.
You need to check how close or how far the college is from you. Remember, it is very advisable to choose an online college with campus in your state.
- Financial Aid
If you are considering to fund your studies with a financial aid, then it’s important to check for the availability of financial aids and eligibility.
Step 4: Check for the availability of your study program
After you have chosen your college, the next step is to verify if your study program is available online or not.
Also, check for the duration, application dates and deadlines.
You may also check if the online program will be delivered fully online or hybrid.
Step 5: Check Admission Requirements
You need to know the requirements for your study program. Most times, Online colleges require for the following
Colleges require for essay or personal statement to know your reasons for applying for a program, your knowledge and experience of the program.
- Test Scores
Most Online Colleges demand for a particular minimum score in either SAT or ACT. Other test scores may be required depending on your choice if program and degree level.
- Letters of recommendation
These letters are usually written by professors from your previous institutions.
- Official transcripts
Colleges including online colleges require for transcripts from your previous institutions, with a particular minimum cumulative GPA starting from 2.0 on a scale of 4.0.
Step 6: Find out how much it will cost to study your program
Different program, different tuition. Some online colleges charges per credit hours and allow students to pay for courses as they take them.
You also need to check the payment options, whether it’s convenient for you or not
Tuition is not the only fee you should check for, you should check for course fees, textbooks fees, course materials, examination fees and online delivery fees.
Usually, online programs cost less than traditional programs. A lot of fees are not paid by online students, fees like accommodation, meal plan, health insurance, bus pass e.t.c.
Step 7: Apply
After deciding on the college and study program, the next step is to apply.
Applying for an online program is synonymous to applying for an on-campus program.
You will follow almost the same steps and provide same documents, except visa and other immigration documents.
How to apply to Online Colleges
- Complete the online application form.
- Upload the electronic version of the following documents: test scores, essay, official transcripts of your previous institutions, letters of recommendation, and other documents specific to your study program.
- Fill financial forms if there is any
- Pay application fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does an online program take?
The duration of an online program is usually the same with the duration of the program offered on campus.
Bachelor’s degree programs may take 4 years. Master’s degree may take up to 2 years. Associate’s degree may take a year plus. Certificate programs can be completed within a year or less.
What are the in-demand degree programs?
Studying programs in these areas of study can get you high paying jobs
- Computer Science or Information technology
How can I fund an Online program?
Eligible Students who can’t afford to pay for their studies can apply for financial aid like loans, grants and scholarships.
What Do I Need to Apply to Online Colleges?
Most Online Colleges will demand for the following
- Test scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal Statement
- Official transcripts
Are Online degrees worth it?
Yes, accredited online degrees worth it. You will receive the same quality of education received by students attending physical classes. This is because the program are mostly taught by the same professors.
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There is no perfect online college anywhere, the idea of a best online college is the college that meet most or all your demands.
Before you choose any online college, do well to ask yourself the following questions: What area of study interests you, What type of online degree do you need to meet your career goals, What type of institution offers the degree program you need.
We don’t mean to brag but with this guide you can never go wrong when choosing an online college. You can now go ahead and choose the best college in your state.
With this guide well followed, you should be able to find amazing online colleges in your locality that you can so much benefit from.