How to Choose the Best Online College
Online programs can be a great alternative to commuting to a physical university’s campus for your degree. In today’s education landscape, you can find a variety of high-quality online degrees, including online associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master’s or doctorate degrees, and professional certificates. Most universities offer some form of online degree and certificate programs for students who desire the flexibility and convenience of distance learning. Because of this large and ever-increasing variety of online college choices, it can be hard to determine which school is best for you.
Many factors should go into your decision about the best online college for your situation, including tuition costs, accreditation status, and the availability of your desired program. If you already have an idea of what degree you want to earn, make sure the online universities you’re comparing have quality programs in your subject areas of interest.
After choosing a few colleges and programs to start your research on, you’ll need to look at a few other factors to settle on the right online university.
Accreditation is a review process by a third-party authority to determine if schools or educational programs meet previously defined standards of quality. An accredited school or program is typically considered valid by employers, institutions, or other schools (especially in the event of a credit transfer).
Ensuring your potential school is accredited should be one of the first steps in choosing an online college. Schools should earn accreditation through an organization recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education or the nonprofit Council for Higher Education Accreditation. You can find information on the accepted accrediting bodies and accredited schools online. Additionally, accreditation information for schools or specific degree programs is usually available on a university’s website.
LSU Online houses a substantial portfolio of accredited degrees from the LSU family of institutions. All our universities are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Relevant and High-Quality Programs
In addition to accreditation, the online colleges you choose to explore should have high-quality, in-demand programs relevant to your selected career path. These programs should also be future-focused and prepare you to navigate potential changes in your field.
As you research universities, think about the value of the degree programs they offer and how that value will change over time. How much can you earn in the field? How often does the program update the course curriculums? Does the program or university offer learning options that set you up for success beyond college? What benefits would come from earning this degree from this school? These questions can help you determine if the school you are considering is worthwhile. Think about your professional goals and choose an online school with the program options to support them.
LSU Online offers access to over 150 programs from all six of our family of institutions, making it very likely that we have a program to suit your needs.
Financial Aid Options
One of the most important aspects to consider when choosing the best online school for you is tuition. Decide what you can afford, then search for affordable schools within your budget. Many accredited online schools offer some form of financial aid. Be sure to check a school’s financial aid options early in your research phase. Consider choosing a school with a simple financial aid process, and/or scholarships you’re eligible for. LSU Online, for example, has several financial aid resources to help you invest in your future.
Why LSU Online is Worth Considering as the Best Online College for You
An Entry Point for Every Student
LSU Online provides access to over 150 degrees, certificates, and courses from all six universities in the LSU family of institutions. The wide variety of programs we offer means we have an entry point for every kind of student. Whether you are a new student seeking an online associate or bachelor’s degree, an early-career professional looking to improve their skill set, or a field-experienced professional wanting to certify their expertise with an advanced degree, we have a program for you.
We also boast affordable tuition with no out-of-state fees, making our programs among the most competitively priced in the nation. LSU Online is proud to offer an accessible education to all.
Flexibility is a built-in aspect of many of our online courses. Like you, our students balance many responsibilities and need programs that fit into their busy lives. Many instructors deliver their classes asynchronously, meaning that instructors arrange the coursework into modules that can be completed on your schedule. This coursework can include pre-recorded video lectures, outside readings, and virtual exams.
Such flexibility allows you to gain new skills and build relationships with your classmates while being entirely online.
As technology, the environment, and other factors change how people live and work, we must have the skills to navigate the constantly-evolving world. The programs offered through LSU Online are designed for the work of today and tomorrow. We are consistently updating our program offerings to ensure you have access to the best and most relevant programs that will help you remain competitive in the workplace. We are also committed to building students with the skills to help move the nation-- and the world-- into the future.
Same Quality Education
Online degrees often get the reputation of being less valuable or less rigorous than traditional education programs. This is a common misconception. Online colleges are now more prevalent than ever, and so are online programs offered through brick-and-mortar colleges. The LSU family of institutions has built many highly-ranked and highly-rated programs. Through LSU Online, you can receive the same excellent quality of education that our on-campus students get and learn from the same instructors– without the commute. You’ll also earn a degree that doesn’t have a separate online distinction and looks the same as on-campus students’ degrees. Additionally, since the world is trending toward online learning, the fact that you earned your degree from an online university is unlikely to be a problem in today’s professional landscape.
Unmatched Student Support
One of the most important aspects of a university is its student support. Getting the help you need to succeed can be difficult with other online schools. LSU Online, however, prioritizes accessible support for our online students. Before enrolling, you can connect with an Enrollment Coach who will offer support throughout the beginning stages of your journey. After signing up for classes, a Student Support Coach will be available to guide you to the wide variety of resources for online students. We know that furthering your education is a significant investment of time, energy, and money, so our team works hard to ensure you are well-supported during your learning journey.
Get an Online Education that Works
Choosing the best online college can be hard when you don’t have the proper guidance. However, the LSU Online team is here to help you succeed before, during, and after your time as a student with us. If you have questions or concerns, an Enrollment Coach can answer your questions as soon as today. Ready to get started? Browse the online degree programs available through LSU Online now!
Ready to reach your goals?
Take the first step forward by completing the form and our enrollment team will contact you soon to discuss:
- What program meets your academic and career goals
- Financial aid options (employer funding, military benefits)
- Receiving credit for past education (transfer, professional development)
- The admissions process and timeline