Tip of the Day: Avoid Online College Scams

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Interested in studying online? Great choice! There are many reasons why you should study a university degree through online learning, but make sure you avoid online college scams.

Is earning a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctoral degree through online learning an enticing idea? We are all aware of the benefits of online learning, mainly because of its flexible nature, which is the main reason why more and more students are flocking to online learning. 

Before choosing an online degree, make sure you extensively research the reputation of the online institutions you are considering.

Our Online Degree Tip of the day is Steer clear of online college scams!
There are some online institutions that appear to be legitimate but award illegitimate degrees to college students.

How can you make sure that an online bachelor’s degree, online master’s degree, online doctoral degree, online certificate or any other online degree is legitimate? There are some steps prospective online college students can take:

1. 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

How can you find this information? Typically, this information is listed on an online institution or program’s website. 

Why is accreditation so important? 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 for sure, 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. Make sure to look out for any red flags on the online program’s website.

What can be a red flag? 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 the online degree -whether a bachelor, a master, a doctoral, or a certificate degree- seem fast and easy? These are definitely red flags you should be aware of.

What can be red flags? Let’s quickly go through the main ones:
  • 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 that a college or university needs to go through, mainly conducted by an outside authority, so that they can prove the degree programs the school 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.

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