How to Avoid Online College Scams

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Is studying online something you have in mind? There are many reasons why pursuing a university degree through online learning is a great decision, but make sure you avoid online college scams. 

Are you considering earning a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctoral degree through online learning? Online learning brings about many benefits, which we are sure you are already aware of. Its flexible nature is the main reason why more and more students are flocking to online learning. 

If you don’t know where to study, you should do extensive research into the online institutions you are considering in order to rule out all possible scams and make sure you pursue a prestigious degree.

Tip of the day: Steer clear of online college scams

Even though it is much less common than it used to be, you may come across some online institutions that appear to be legitimate but award illegitimate degrees to college students.

How to be sure that an online bachelor’s degree, online master’s degree, online doctoral degree, online certificate or any other online degree is legitimate: The following are some steps prospective online college students can take.

1. Check that the online degree program and the online institution are fully accredited by the following organizations:

  • the U.S. Department of Education
  • the Council for Higher Education Accreditation

You can find this information listed on the online institution or program’s website. 

Accreditation is essential. 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. Look out for any red flags on the online program’s website. 

Anything that seems too good to be true could be a red flag. 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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