5 Key Questions to Ask When Applying to Online University Programs

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.

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 degree 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:

  • Qualification for financial aid from federal grants and loans. You won’t be approved if the university you choose doesn’t have legitimate accreditation. Consult the Recognized Accrediting Organizations chart, prepared by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), to find out if an institution you’re considering is properly accredited and 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.

  • Qualification 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 an accredited degree 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 several online degree programs, in a wide range of disciplines, to help you advance your career.

Take a closer look at Walden’s wide selection of accredited online college degree programs including:

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 University 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.” Read more about Walden's online learning experience.

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 to learn how transferrable “life credits,” along with transferred college credits, can meet up to 75% of the requirements for your bachelor’s degree and up to 50% for your graduate degree.

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

According to CollegeAtlas.org,

  • 31% of online students depend solely on student loans and other financial aid.
  • 21% pay with both personal funds and loans.
  • 8% rely on personal funds, loans, and scholarships.

Explore your options with an experienced financial aid specialist at your chosen university. At Walden University, visit Walden Grants, Scholarships, and Tuition Savings or call an enrollment advisor at 1-888-990-7172.

Walden University, an accredited institution, has been serving the higher education needs of adult learners for 45 years. Today, more than 57,000 students from all 50 U.S. states and more than 150 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees or certificates online at Walden.

Explore Walden University's online college degrees and specialized certification programs that fit your career goals. Earn your degree at a pace that fits your life and schedule.