The best distance learning college will first and foremost be accredited by a reputable accreditation agency. This ensures that the education you receive will be high quality, and it will be recognized by other colleges and universities should you choose to transfer at any point. Employers also look for accredited institutions on your resume, and certain types of financial aid will become unavailable to you if you attend a non-accredited distance learning college. Look for a distance learning college that offers plenty of student support and communication with professors, and choose a school that offers the degree program you are looking for with the classes you want to take.
Many four-year colleges and universities are now offering distance learning college programs. When researching specific programs, be sure to note whether the program will require you to attend on-site classes as well as distance learning college courses. This may help determine whether the program is right for you; sciences will almost certainly require you to do lab work, which means traveling to the school or to an approved off-campus lab. If this is an issue for you, try to make an appointment with an advisor to discuss options. The best distance learning college programs will be ready and willing to help you design a schedule that will work best for you.
All college programs can be quite expensive, so choose a school that fits your budget. Most schools also have scholarship money available, so see if you qualify for any financial aid directly from the college. Other financial aid opportunities are usually available, but grants and scholarships are the best types of financial aid to seek out. The college should have a financial aid office that can help you figure out how to pay for your college education.
Find out how online and distance learning classes are structured. Many distance learning classes are now held via the Internet, but there are variations as to how the online classroom environment is structured. Some classes are synchronous, meaning you will have to be online at a certain time with the rest of the students. Asynchronous classes allow you to work at your own pace, usually through message boards and online posted course materials, but communication with the instructors will not be as prompt and you will be responsible for a significant amount of self-directed learning. Research which methods are available, and which methods work best for your learning style.