How to Avoid Online College Scams
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Are you considering pursuing an online degree after high school? When choosing your degree and the college where you will pursue your online degree, make sure you avoid scams. With these tips you'll have an easier time choosing.
Online learning has many benefits, and most of us are well aware of them after having gone through it first hand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online learning's flexible nature has enticed a huge number of students to keep on learning online once the pandemic comes to an end, meaning that they are already pursuing fully online degrees.
If you are considering pursuing an online degree after high school, make sure you extensively research the reputation of the online institutions you are considering before making your final decision.
Our Tip of the day: Steer clear of online college scams!
Some online institutions that appear to be legitimate award illegitimate degrees to college students.
You might be wondering “How can I make sure an online degree or online college is legitimate?" The following are some steps you can take into account to make sure you avoid college scams:
1. Accreditation is a must:
Make sure that the online degree program and the online institution are fully accredited by either one of the two following organizations:
- the U.S. Department of Education
- the Council for Higher Education Accreditation
Where can you find this information? Typically, this information is listed on an online institution or program’s website.
How important is accreditation? If students earn an online degree that isn’t accredited by one of the previously mentioned institutions, they will have earned a lot of knowledge and skills, but they will end up with a useless degree, as accreditation changes how a degree is perceived by potential employers as well as other colleges and universities.
2. Be aware of red flags on the online program’s website
What can be red flags? Anything that seems too good to be true. Do you feel like the advisor you are talking to seems more like a sales person than a counselor? Does earning an online degree —whether a bachelor, a master, or a doctoral degree— seem fast and easy? These are definitely red flags you should be aware of.
Let’s quickly go through the main red flags:
- There is no proof of accreditation from either the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation
- The online program promises full online degrees in an extremely short time period
- The online college charges too little
- The online college charges way too much
- The online program does not list a campus or business address online
- The online college or online program’s website contains several grammatical or spelling errors
- The online college or online program lacks a “.edu” URL
- The online school fails to post information about student support services
What is online college accreditation?
Accreditation is a process outside authorities conduct on colleges and universities so that they can prove the degree programs the institution offers —either on-campus, online, or a combination of both— meet certain standards of quality and rigor.
Accreditation is a voluntary process that comes with several benefits and validates a program to potential employers and other institutions.
Now that you know which are the signs you need to be aware of when choosing where to earn the online degree of your dreams, you can rest assured that you will be able to thoroughly assess all institutions and choose a fully accredited one.