How do I Choose the Best College Courses Online?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2018
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When choosing the best college courses online, students have several things to ponder. They must first decide how a class may ultimately help them achieve their education goals. Other things to investigate include the status of the school as an accredited university, whether the class will result in credits or units earned, and if the class is of interest. People may also need to think about price to take classes at the various schools that offer online learning and decide which schools are economically feasible.

In the US, schools should be accredited through agencies that work with the Department of Public Education. There are six regional accrediting agencies and also the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which can be searched to verify that an online diploma or college courses online will count.

Many people choosing to attend college online do so at a single university. When people enroll at a college, especially an online one, one thing they ought to consider is access to help, advice and resources that the school provides. Just as in a bricks and mortar schools, online students will need advice and guidance on how to meet educational objectives, and this usually means taking certain recommended classes.


What may be most important in choosing college courses online is that they meet the objectives of the student in earning some sort of degree or certification. Therefore students should get advice from counselors to make sure they choose the classes they’ll need. Even if a handbook or information on the particular study program exists, it’s always better to get personal verification that classes are the ones needed to graduate. With this information, students really won’t have much trouble when they choose college courses online.

Of course, in many educational paths, people have options of taking various electives. These may have to be in a certain discipline or they may just be needed to meet unit requirements for graduation. Here the choice may be more nebulous. Some things students might consider when weighing different classes include the degree to which such classes might be delightful, informative, fascinating or enriching to a career. Students may want to balance graduation requirements with electives that fall into one or more of these categories.

Sometimes when people ask the question of which classes to choose, they really are asking about free college courses online, which are most often not offered for college units, though there are few exceptions. Again, there can be many ways of determining which ones to take, and fortunately there may even be previous student feedback on available classes to help students choose.

It should be reiterated that if students are studying for a specific degree, they have far fewer choices in free classes. Those merely interested in varying subjects will find literally hundreds of online classes to take that are extremely varied. People should take a look online at some of the choices to see which ones jump out, or they can look within a subject area by using search terms like “free online history classes” or “free online physics classes.”



Discuss this Article

Post 4

There are also some online college courses that cannot be applied as credit, but which give a certification. I took some courses like this that were not directly in my field but that I had a lot of interest in.

If you want to get credit for your degree, this won't be something you prefer. But if you want to expand your knowledge in a new subject and also improve your resume, these can be a great opportunity.

You can check on websites for these courses, which will say something like "online certification course." You might still have to take an exam, but will not receive a grade. You will get a certification of completion once you finish the course.

Post 3

I think online courses need a lot more discipline than regular courses. I thought that it would actually be easier but I was wrong. I took some online college courses over the past summer and it was even harder than usual.

I had to go through all of the weekly lectures on my own, complete assignments and study for the exams at home. It was harder to concentrate. Plus, you need to have someone overseeing you during examinations for online courses. So it can be a lot of trouble setting up all of this.

Each online course will still be different based on the teacher though. So you should look through the syllabus and make sure you understand all of the requirements of the course beforehand. Otherwise, you might get a lower grade than usual.

Post 2

One thing I would make sure before signing up for online courses is that it is a course which you will be able to handle on your own. Some core courses really need physical presence. Online courses do not have the possibility of one-to-one interaction with the professor. So it is a bit more difficult for the instructor to answer questions and explain topics via email.

That's why I would actually suggest only taking elective courses online if possible and taking the core courses of the degree at the institution.

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