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5 Key Questions to Ask When Applying to an Online University Program

Congratulations—you’ve made the decision to further your education! Now here’s the tricky part: How do you decide where to go? You’ve encountered ads for online university degree programs everywhere—on the internet, television, radio, magazines, and billboards. But how do you know which university is the best fit for you?

Begin by finding the answers to five important questions. The information you gain will help you confidently make the best decision for your situation and goals.

5 Key Questions to Ask When Applying to an Online University Program

1. Is the online university accredited?

Accreditation ensures that a university or college meets a consistent level of academic standards across its degree programs. This recognition helps ensure your chosen degree’s value, now and in the future. If your university is not accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, you may encounter two major problems that could prevent you from achieving your educational and career advancement goals:

  • Not Qualifying for federal financial aid. You won’t be approved if the university you choose doesn’t have recognized accreditation. Consult the U.S.-Recognized Accrediting Organizations tool, prepared by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), to find out if an institution you’re considering has accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or CHEA. CHEA is an independent organization that establishes national standards for accreditation organizations in the United States.

  • Not qualifying for a promotion or a new job. Most employers routinely review job applicants’ educational credentials and may dismiss those with non-accredited degrees. Even if you’ve been working at your company for years, the promotion you’ve been eyeing could easily go to an outsider if he or she has a degree from an accredited institution and you don’t.

2. Does the online university have degree programs that meet your short- and long-term goals?

If your immediate goal is to complete the bachelor’s degree you started years ago and your long-term goal is to earn a master’s degree and then a doctoral degree, it’s best to select an accredited university that offers degree programs for the full educational path you desire.

For example, Walden University offers online degree programs in nursing—from RN-BSN Completion Program to DNP—that can help you advance your career from where you are now to a leadership position at the top of your profession.

3. Does the online university’s distance-learning technology make it easy for you to learn and interact with fellow students and professors?

Progressive higher education institutions like Walden offer cutting-edge technology that creates a smooth and flexible online learning experience—from communicating with your instructors to reviewing fellow students’ comments and feedback in a discussion thread to getting 24/7 technical support.

As one student remarked, “I admit, I was nervous at first to work in an online classroom. But every student takes what’s called a Student Readiness Orientation to learn how to navigate the online classroom, so you have a great feel for how it works, even before you start your first course.”

4. Does the online university give you transferrable credit toward your degree for relevant work, life, and military experience?

Walden University helps you complete your degree faster by recognizing that aspects of your work and life experience are relevant to your degree. For details, visit Walden’s Center for Degree Acceleration.

5. Do you have a financial plan for paying for your tuition?

Explore your options with an experienced financial aid specialist at your chosen university. At Walden, you can learn more on the Tuition and Financial Aid page or call an Enrollment Specialist at 1-855-646-5286.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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