There are three ways to find the top online schools: recommendations, researching, and goal identification. An online school provides educational opportunities using the Internet to offer courses. Students may complete assignments, watch recorded lectures, and participate in class discussions from anywhere with access to the Internet.
There are two types of online schools, accredited and non-accredited. An accredited school is typically a university or college that is allowed to issued degrees and diplomas upon successful completion of a series of courses. A non-accredited school cannot issue degrees or diplomas, but can provide training in a specific skill or field.
Recommendations from other students are a great way to find the top online schools. Talk with friends, colleagues, and acquaintances about online schools to find out what schools they have attended and their experiences. Read online reviews and postings about the quality of the course material, instruction, and overall organization.
Established educational institutions work hard to provide a consistent, quality program and have a process for recommendations and reviews. Specialized schools do not have the same requirements, and so more effort is required to learn about their programs. Talk with the professional association or group that is the ideal client for this type of school to get more information. For example, the local professional accounting association can provide information on schools that offer accounting or business related courses.
Expand your scope by researching online schools. Look at the list of schools that can meet your needs and create a matrix. List the names of the schools at the top and your requirements on the side. Research the school's ability to meet your requirements and rank them. This is a great way to identify the top online schools.
Keep in mind your own goals, learning style and restrictions when reviewing the top online schools. If the most important criteria is cost, then look at free courses offered by well-known schools. For many people, the top priority is job preparation. Investigate the ability of the online school to provide you with the skills needed to advance your career.
To access courses offered by online schools, you must have regular access to the Internet and a computer. Both these resources are available for free at your local public library. Wireless Internet access is becoming more popular and is now offered in many coffee stores and malls. To use wireless Internet, you need to have a wireless card installed in your computer.