How do I Choose the Best Distance Learning College Courses?

Keith Koons
Keith Koons
A woman taking a distance learning class.
A woman taking a distance learning class.

When choosing distance learning college courses, it is important to consider a few factors before committing to any of them. The college's accreditation status is a vital factor since it determines whether or not the credits will transfer to a traditional university. The flexibility of the programs is another big concern for many students, and many distance learning college courses do not have any requirements when it comes to actual class hours or study time. The actual curriculum and specialized classes are another important factor, since there is often fairly large difference between various online campuses.

Accreditation is a seal of approval from a educational governing body, and in the world of distance learning college courses, there are few issues that are more important for the student. For example, there are many institutions that offer certifications based on life experience or previous studies, but if traditional schools do not recognize the diploma as valid then it can not be used for furthering education. Likewise, employers are far less likely to hire a student who graduated from a school that does not carry accreditation from a major educational governing body, so it often pays to research this topic before enrolling in any distance learning college courses.

Flexibility is another big topic when it comes to distance learning college courses, because a large portion of the students enrolled in these types of programs are also working full time. While some online institutions will require students to attend classes with an actual instructor at a certain time period, others offer recorded lectures that can be viewed at any time of the day. Some universities also require students to attend the actual campus to take final exams and other major tests, so each of these factors should be researched when choosing distance learning courses.

The curriculum itself is another factor that students should consider before choosing any distance learning college courses, because some are more appealing than others. A writer, for example, could complete a bachelor's degree in English or liberal arts at most of the online campuses, but he may be better served choosing an institution that specializes in journalism, creative writing, or whatever field he is pursuing. Several colleges offer nearly 100% of their traditional classes through distance learning college courses as well, so it makes sense to select an institution that is known for the subject matter and has trained others within the field.

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    • A woman taking a distance learning class.
      By: Yuri Arcurs
      A woman taking a distance learning class.