Getting an online bachelor’s degree is a great way to save some money on your college expenses. You can save money on tuition, transportation costs and even some of the supplies that you need. You might hear horror stories from other students though who tell you that going to an online college will limit your chances of getting an acceptance letter from a good graduate school. Graduate schools will look at where you went to college and the degree you have, but these schools look at a number of other factors too.

What Graduate Schools Look For

Before you apply to graduate school, you need to get an idea of what those schools look for in applicants. You can easily make the transition from an online college to a traditional graduate school or take classes from an online grad school. These schools look at the grade point average you maintained in college, the type of classes you took in your major field of study and the grades you earned in those major classes. Grad schools also look for students who did internships and fieldwork and those who have more experience in their chosen fields.

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Applying to Grad School

Applying to grad school takes some hard work on your part. Depending on what you want to study, you’ll likely need to take a graduate admissions test like the GRE, GMAT or MCAT. You usually need to take this test during the spring or fall of the year before you apply, and some students take these exams even earlier. You’ll also need to fill out a complete application packet, submit your score from the exam, file a copy of your official college transcript and ensure that you will finish your undergrad degree prior to the start of classes. Some grad schools also require an essay.

Online College Basics

Going to an online school shouldn’t stop you from attending graduate school. The one thing that might keep grad schools from admitted you is a lack of accreditation. Accreditation comes in two forms: regional and specialty. Specialty accreditation is available for select programs and comes from professional organizations associated with that subject. Regional accreditation comes from an organization in one region of the United States that usually has an affiliation with a national agency. If you attend an online school that does not have accreditation, you usually cannot attend an accredited graduate school.

Improving Your Chances

If you have an online bachelor’s degree and worry about your chances to attending graduate school, there are some things you can do to improve your chances. Dr. Don Martin, who writes for U.S. News & World Report, suggests taking a few grad school classes and providing the school with a transcript as part of your application. Dr. Martin also recommends pointing out in your essay that those classes show that you can handle more advanced work in your field. You can also gain more experience in your field through volunteer work before you apply.

Many colleges now offer online programs, which helped improve the reputation of online classes. Unless you went to a college that does not have accreditation, you shouldn’t have a problem applying for graduate school. These schools will look at other factors beyond your online bachelor’s degree, including your grades and overall experience.