Statistics reveal doubling of the number of students joining online schools from 2003 to 2007, which touched 3.9 million. It is a 12% increase over the corresponding conventional college enrolment growth. This leap is attributed to benefits of online schools, which include:
* Flexibility to learn at different paces. For instance, accelerated learning programs enable students to complete their course faster than at conventional colleges.
* Faculty with exhaustive first-hand experience in their specific industry
* Accredited online universities typically have faculty with exceptional academic qualifications
Popular programs include career and vocational courses, language courses, business and marketing courses, and health and medicine.
Choosing Online Schools: Criteria
The best way to gauge the reliability of online schools is to visit them personally and ask some important questions. Here is a list:
* Accreditation: Check whether the school is accredited by a recognized educational body. If not, enquire whether they plan it done.
* Courses offered: Ask whether the school offers the course that you are looking for.
* Expenses: If money is a deciding factor, opt for institutions that provide financial aid or charge low tuition fee. Fees at these institutions are typically lower than that in regular universities.
* Flexibility: Opt for accelerated programs if you wish to finish your course quickly. Else, opt for slow-paced ones.
* Teachers’ experience: Check whether the college has faculty with educational credentials that are comparable to regular university professors.
* Student-teacher ratio: As the number of students assigned per teacher increases, individual attention for students decrease, thus diminishing the quality of education delivered.
* Prestige: If you are conscious about studying at an elite institution, seek prestigious colleges. Else, you can opt for any accredited college with competitive course content.
* Hardware/software: Ask for additional computer hardware or software that may be necessary for taking the classes.
* Assistance: Ask whether help is available for addressing student queries and questions. Several colleges schedule time for student-teacher interaction over the Internet.
Also consider the number of enrolled and graduated students, and the mode of communication (phone numbers). For comprehensive information on leading US universities and online colleges, visit http://www.topeducationguide.com. The directory offers information on accredited colleges, trade and career schools, which is searchable by region, program and college.