In many ways, earning a college or graduate degree online is much different from getting a traditional, in-person diploma. But, when it comes to the planning phase of your higher education, the two kinds of schooling are very much alike. Prospective students, in both situations, have to check the accreditation status of the institution and arrange for payment of tuition, fees, books, and other expenses.What’s the best way to prepare after you know the program is accredited and you have all the costs taken care of?

First, it’s imperative to read about the faculty members under whom you’ll be studying. Most colleges and universities post full academic resumes on the “Faculty and Staff” sections of their websites.Finally, spend several hours reading reviews of the schools on your shortlist. Once you’ve narrowed that list down to just one or two institutions, consider making an in-person visit if the trip is practical. Sometimes, a face-to-face meeting with an admissions counselor can give you insight into the school’s overall quality. Here’s how to get started on your planning tasks.


Fortunately, dozens of excellent websites verify accreditation for higher educational institutions of all kinds. No matter what subject you intend to study, ask schools what organization accredits them. If they have no certification or have recently been put on probation, move on to another choice on your list. Schools that aren’t accredited might be outstanding, but you’ll almost certainly run into problems when searching for a job after graduation. Most employers don’t recognize degrees from unaccredited institutions. You should yield the same caution down the line when you are considering online tutors to help with homework and test prep, authenticating your sources is critical.


Paying for an online degree is usually the first thing students think about, even before they choose a school, general subject area, or specific major. That’s because the cost of studying online, while less pricey than traditional schooling, can run into thousands of dollars. Fortunately, you can take advantage of various student loans to cover some or all of the expenses.

The most efficient way to deal with the money question for many prospective pupils is to work directly with a private lender when taking out a student loan. Private sources offer more flexibility, better terms, more competitive rates, and higher borrowing limits than alternative lenders. If you’re searching for ways to cover all of your school-related costs, explore private student loans as a way of taking the financial pressure off your educational quest.

Faculty and Reviews

You have a right to be suspicious of any educational institution that does not post detailed resumes of its faculty members. Read biographical data carefully, making note of instructors’ degrees, experience, and years at the college. You can tell a lot about an online program based on nothing more than the background of its teachers. Check several review websites to see what past and current students have to say about their experiences. This step can be a dealbreaker if you uncover multiple negative reviews that focus on the same two or three factors or just one central area of concern. Don’t rely on a single review site. Instead, use at least three of the respected ones specializing in education.