How do I Choose the Best Online Associate's Degree Program?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Some of the most common accredited online associate's degree programs are found in fields such as business or human resources.
Some of the most common accredited online associate's degree programs are found in fields such as business or human resources.

You may consider a number of factors as you attempt to choose the best online associate's degree program. Among the most important may be tuition, financial aid offerings, and retention rate. You may also consider the format a program choice will use for online learning and how well it will fit with your learning style and current commitments. Additionally, you may consider the amount of personal attention you may receive while enrolled in a particular online program and how that will bear on your ability to succeed in your studies.

One thing you may consider when you are trying to choose the best online associate’s degree program is the school’s retention rate. If a school has an abnormally high rate of students transferring to a different online program before they complete their degrees, this may be a problem. It is important to recognize, however, that this will happen to some extent with every online associate’s degree program. The key is usually to avoid schools that have retention rates that are much lower than average.

When you are trying to choose the best online associate’s degree program, you may also consider the tuition. You may prefer an associate’s program that is low in cost, but that probably won’t be your only financial consideration. You may also prefer a college that offers financial aid. For example, you may choose to pursue an online associate’s degree program at a college that not only has an affordable tuition rate, but also offers grants, scholarships, and loans. If you will not be eligible for this type of aid, however, you may look for a college that allows you to pay your tuition in installments instead.

The format used by an online associate’s degree program may also prove important when you are trying to make the best choice. Some online degree programs may involve online lectures you have to attend according to a particular schedule, while others may allow you to log on and view lectures at your leisure. Some may incorporate video and audio lectures, while others may rely most heavily on textbooks and other printed materials. You may ensure your ability to succeed in an online associate's degree program by choosing the one that is the best fit for your learning style and availability.

You may also compare online associate’s degree programs based on the level of individual attention you are likely to receive. This can be hard to judge when it comes to online learning formats, but the number of students in each class may help you evaluate the likelihood you will receive personal attention. If a professor has a very large online class, he may have less time to answer your questions, give you personal guidance, and help you understand difficult concepts. A smaller class, on the other hand, may translate into an easier learning experience.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • Some of the most common accredited online associate's degree programs are found in fields such as business or human resources.
      Some of the most common accredited online associate's degree programs are found in fields such as business or human resources.