Choosing an accredited online college

There are many degree programs that are 100% online and can help you affordably achieve your academic goals and find career success. What questions should you ask to help choose the online college that’s right for you?

Find Your Virtual Fit

Online learning often comes with greater flexibility and affordability, allowing you to take courses and complete your degree in a timeframe that works best for you.

While some colleges exist completely online (like Strayer University), the norm has become for many “brick-and-mortar” colleges to offer online degrees. If you prefer the convenience of online courses but would like the support of a local college or university, check out this list that breaks down the online degrees offered by schools like Saint Joseph’s University or Drexel. Other resources:

  • Use this tool for searching the U.S. News rankings and directory of schools offering online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in seven disciplines.


  • Affordable Colleges Online offers a directory of online colleges that are affordable and that offer a high return-on-investment (ROI). When a college has a high ROI, it means that graduates of that college have an average lifetime income that far exceeds the total cost of their degree.

Virtual Class Types

Learn here about the difference between synchronous and asynchronous classes and how to decide which type of virtual course works for you.

Being a Virtual Student

Being a virtual student requires you to flex your focus and commitment. Here are some suggestions for excelling in your online courses:


  • Enroll in the courses you need to earn your degree. Speak to your academic advisor if you’re unsure of what courses to take.
  • Communicate with your professors. Schedule an appointment to meet with your instructor during their virtual office hours, even if it is just to introduce yourself. Getting to know your professor will make it easier to ask questions or seek help throughout the course.
  • Connect with your classmates. Start an online study group or use the chat function for live classes.
  • Establish a routine, get organized, and create an area in your home where you can focus on your classes free of distraction.
  • Know where to get help. Does your school offer online or in-person tutoring or writing support? Do they offer virtual library resources for research papers?
  • Read the syllabus and assignment instructions carefully, especially for asynchronous courses. Have questions? Email your professor!
  • Talk to your family and friends about your goals. Let them know why earning your degree is important to you and how they can support you along the way.

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