OnlineColleges.com is a resource for people who want reliable information about online colleges and degree programs. On our website you can find information about pursing your degree online. We help users find the right online college and program based on subject, location and degree level. Our pages feature online colleges, online degree programs and career outlooks. Students can read descriptions of the top online colleges in each state as well as in each field of study. These school rankings give students the information they need to help them choose the college that is right for them.
College is a long, arduous journey, and before you embark on any long journey, it pays to do your research. We want to make sure that any decision you make along your higher education journey is informed and confident. Our goal is that anyone can come to our website to learn about distance education and discover their perfect school.
What can I find here?
At OnlineColleges.com, our mission is to empower students with knowledge about distance education. We believe that informed students are the students best able to take their education, their careers and their futures into their own hands, benefiting them as individuals and our society as a whole.
To help students access the information they want and need, OnlineColleges.com provides comprehensive guides for the most prominent online majors. From what to expect in a degree program's coursework to the outlook of careers in the field after graduation, our guides are written with the goal of helping you to choose an online degree program with confidence. Our guides are available at the state level, the degree level, and the program level.
Our How To Pay section focuses on guides to financial aid for online colleges, including grants, loans and scholarships.
All of our other resources are contained in the College Resources section. Here we offer tools, such as our Top Colleges Tool and our College Comparison Tool; detailed rankings focused on specific criteria, such as colleges for transfer students or careers for math-lovers, in our Rankings section; and articles regarding the state of online education as a whole in our OC Insights section.
What makes a good online college?
Our goal at OnlineColleges.com is to help every visitor find the online college that’s best for them. That means that we don’t just pick one “best” college and call it a day. We have created many different rankings that look at online colleges in many different ways. However, across our rankings, there are factors of the online college experience that we are always keeping in mind. These factors inform the criteria we choose for our rankings, and our consideration of these factors is why we feel confident that we can help you find the online college that’s right for you.
Every single college we feature on our site, from the number one spot on our Best Online Colleges ranking down, has been accredited by an official accrediting body – and sometimes by more than one. In our estimation, accreditation is the single most important quality for an online college to have. It indicates that a particular school is being held to national educational standards, and it can offer benefits when it comes to transferring credits or applying for financial aid as well. Our page “What is College Accreditation?” goes into more depth on what accreditation is and why it matters so much that we consider it an essential part of every ranking we conduct.
Affordability is a big concern for many students. According to Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research, tuition and fees is one of the top three factors for 61% of online college students. However, tuition isn’t the only factor into how affordable college can be. How much financial aid is available? Of that amount, how much financial aid is actually awarded, and to how many students? We take all of these things into account in our rankings.
Does a school care about its online education? Are they spending money to buff out their online programs? Are they adding new programs to enhance their portfolio? Number of online programs and amount of electronic library resources can both be indicators of this, which is why we use these points in our rankings.
Does a school accept transfer credits, and if so, how many and at what degree level? Does it have articulation agreements with other schools? Does it have counselors, resources, or website tools that can help you figure out what transfers and what doesn’t? We try to point these advantages out to readers in the school profiles we include in our rankings.
What does the school do to help students along? Do they offer tuition plans, resource services, and/or credit offerings? All these things are part of our rankings.
It may seem strange to bring up campus location in a discussion about online colleges. However, according to Learning House and Aslanian, three-quarters of online students travel to campus at least once per year. Some may do it out of necessity, such as to turn in paperwork; others may do it voluntarily, perhaps for a campus event or to speak to a counselor. A school with multiple campuses, campuses in multiple states, and/or satellite locations such as learning centers makes it that much easier to fulfill these needs. That’s why we try to point such locations out in our school profiles.
Are students sticking around and finishing their programs, and are they pleased with the results? We account for ratio of students participating in distance education at each school, as well as graduation and retention rates, for just this reason.
Where does your information come from?
We use data from government agencies and other nationally recognized, primary sources. We make sure that our data analysis relies on a sound methodology. We don’t make any claims that that are not backed up by actual data. Our favorite data sources include the following:
- The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
- The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
- The United States Census Bureau
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