Every year, more and more students choose to attend an Online Community College. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) notes that almost three million students were exclusively enrolled in a distance education program in 2012. Additionally, another three million were part-time online students. Therefore, there are ample educational opportunities for students to wish to attend college online.
Why Go to School Online?
There are endless benefits to going to school online. Online programs are very accessible for those who live in rural areas or far away from a community college. Because of this, the student will save time and money from not having to commute every day. In fact, online students can attend school from any location with an Internet connection. Therefore, online students with a laptop can study through free public Wi-Fi hot spots. Additionally, online programs are self-paced geared towards independent and organized visual learners. As an added benefit, the curriculum and textbook information are sometimes provided free of charge on the distance learning platform. Finally, online school is the best option for those with restricted mobility, such as the handicapped, and for those with family responsibilities, such as single parents.
Why Go to Community College?
Attending an Online Community College will save a large amount of money. Community college tuition rates are very affordable. Community colleges are also geared towards a personalized education. As a result, average class sizes are smaller than larger universities.
Finally, community colleges programs are designed for students from every background. This means that they cater to part-time students, working adult and older adults returning to school. Therefore, they are the perfect option for online students.
How Does Online Accreditation Work?
The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) is the premier distance learning program accrediting organization. They are recognized by both the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Their website offers a helpful search tool that allows students to confirm that their target community college is accredited. On the other hand, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a nationally recognized academic authority. They also offer a searchable database of over 8,000 accredited educational institutions.
How to Spot a Suspicious Online Program?
One reason that people are apprehensive about distance education is because certain online schools are phony. That is, these disreputable schools offer unaccredited programs advertised as nationally recognized, accredited programs. They may even call themselves a community college. However, real community colleges will be accredited and offer quality distance education programs. Online college degree mills are not accredited by CHEA of the Department of Education. Their admission criteria are lax, their standard weak and they offer unbelievably short programs. Avoid these schools and instead, use the nationally recognized college finding tool below.
How to Find a Good Community College?
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is the nationally recognized advocate for community colleges across the country. They advocate for over 1,200 schools and 13 million community college students. Their primary purpose is providing legal and academic support to community colleges. They are an important information resource and provide a state-by-state categorized community college finder tool on their website.
To recap, both distance education and community colleges are excellent choices for students who want a quality education that is flexible and affordable. An Online Community College is one of the best options for any student who also has to balance work and family commitments.