In the 2006-07 school year, 66 percent of the 4,160 two-year and four-year Title IV degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the country provided college-level distance learning courses, 65 percent of which were credit-granting. A total of 11,200 college-level distance education programs existed that year, and 66 percent of these programs were degree programs, while the remaining 34 percent were certificate programs (National Center for Education Statistics).
Since then, it's been reported that more than 4.6 million college students took at least one online course at the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year -- more than 1 in 4 college students. That's also a 17 percent increase from 2007.
Needless to say, online education is becoming a more prevalent option in today's technological world. Just as with normal college preparation, potential online students must perform precautionary research and consider all opportunities before signing up for an online degree or certificate program. Make sure to check out the following sites before making your final decision.
This is a great background site for anyone possibly interested in applying to an online college or program. It covers all the basics, from types of online degrees to online college accreditation info to admission techniques. It also goes over how to distinguish a diploma mill and fake school, comparing online schools and even if distance learning is the right option for you. Be sure to look over the online college success tips, too.
This stream-lined site provides information about 200+ online schools, as well as search engines that let you find schools based on subject interest and degree level. The informative guide to distance education features extensive online education glossary and breaks down information about college tuition and financial aid. Stay up to date on the most recent online learning news and read great entries from their blogs and forums.
This site also breaks down schools into profiles by programs and degrees. See their list of accredited online colleges and universitiesand browse their comprehensive list of online degrees and degree programs. Don't miss their yearly online college rankings. Other helpful sections include student reviews and scholarships.
This blog covers the gamut of online education issues, from recent news to tips to finance. Go to the archives section to check out more specialized articles, primarily covering women's issues, such as "Single Mothers" and "Gave up Your Career to have a Baby? Get Back in the Groove."
Whether you're deciding whether to apply to an online program or are just starting classes, make sure to go through this checklist of tips on how to excel in online education. Because learning from home is a completely different ballgame than sitting in a classroom, the site helps differentiate the goals to achieve, like staying in touch with the professor to setting your own interim deadlines.
Search the directory of online schools and programs on the well-known college ranking publication's website. Check out the other useful articles in the section, such as "Eight Mistakes Online Students Make," the "Benefits of an Online Education" and "Definitions for Commonly-Used Terms in Online Ed." The "Seven Tips for Distance Learning" from the Professor's Blog is also an insightful read.
DegreeJungle.com put together The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Distractions (and Graduating Top of Your Class). In seven chapters, the guide offers tips and tools on how to succeed in an online degree program.