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Top Online Colleges – Forbes Advisor

We used an objective methodology to create this list of the best online colleges, but when it comes to choosing a school for yourself, you should also consider factors that are personal to you. To choose the best online college for your education, you should understand your budget, professional and academic goals and preferred learning style—among other considerations. Let’s take a closer look.

Know Your Time Commitment

Are you already juggling a career or family, or is school about to become your full-time job? If you need to fit your education around other life responsibilities, you may prefer a university with asynchronous learning or part-time enrollment options.

Likewise, if you’re ready to study full time and want to finish your degree as quickly as possible, you might look for a university that offers accelerated programs. Accelerated degrees demand a larger time commitment in the short run, but they also allow you to graduate and enter the workforce more quickly.

Know how many hours per week you can commit to your studies before choosing an online college.

Look at Accreditation

Proper accreditation should be a critical factor in any college search, especially if you want to continue your education after graduation. Most graduate programs require candidates to hold undergraduate degrees from accredited colleges. Moreover, employers value degrees from accredited institutions more highly.

To see whether your prospective online college is accredited, check the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s searchable directory.

Consider Your Future Goals

Are you pursuing a career that requires an advanced degree or professional license? Or would an undergraduate degree or a graduate certificate suffice for your career goals? Asking yourself these questions can help you choose the best online college for you.

For example, if you’re deciding on an undergraduate school but plan to pursue a graduate degree after earning your bachelor’s, you might choose an online university that offers both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in your intended field of study. Completing both degrees at the same institution can make the process smoother—and, in some cases, faster.

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