How to Choose a Reputable University
Five Critical Aspects to Look for in a Prospective College
You know you want to earn a degree and advance in your field, or maybe even start a new career. But how do choose a reputable university? A great way to start is by investigating these five key areas.
- Determine the school’s accreditation status. Accreditation signifies that an institution has undergone a rigorous appraisal by an independent accrediting body for overall academic quality and a commitment to continuous improvement. But not all accrediting agencies are equal. Make sure a university is accredited by an accrediting association recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, as it can affect many aspects of your academic journey, including whether a school is approved to participate in federal student aid programs. You can search universities in the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
- Check on specialized accreditations. Fields such as nursing and counseling require professional certifications or licensure in order to practice. This is where specialized accreditation comes in. This type of accreditation indicates that a program or school within a university meets the academic requirements to prepare students to sit for professional licensure or certification exams. If your goal is to become licensed or certified, check your intended degree program’s accreditation status in addition to the university’s status.
- Inquire about support services. A university should support its students throughout their educational journey. Look at the resources offered to help with early tasks such as enrollment and applying for financial aid. Other important resources include access to a Student Success Advisor to answer questions about degree programs and university policies, as well as services such as technical support, research assistance, a substantial online library, writing tutoring, career planning, and more.
- Look for qualified faculty members. Faculty should be educated and knowledgeable in their fields. Do some research and find out how many of them in your degree program hold doctoral degrees. Have they won awards or been recognized as leaders in their fields? Perhaps more importantly, have your future instructors been recognized for their teaching abilities?
- Find out what alumni say. Learn what graduates say about a prospective university. Did they find the curriculum appropriately challenging? Would they recommend the school? You can look for testimonials online and on social media, or ask a school admissions representative to connect you with someone who graduated from the program you’re considering.
Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll likely find a number of universities—both on campus and online—that are worthy of consideration. Walden University, for example, has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990. The HLC is one of six regional accrediting associations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Additionally, many of Walden’s online programs have earned specialized accreditations.
Walden offers robust support services, including 24/7 technical support, enrollment and financial aid assistance, and Student Success Advising.
Walden’s diverse faculty comprises skilled educators and practitioners. According to the university’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Accreditation data for fall 2020, more than 95% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees, and more than 600 have been recognized for excellence in teaching and mentorship. Also, alumni love Walden—check out their testimonials on Walden’s website and social media pages.
Choosing a university takes time and effort. When you choose Walden, you’ll be joining an accredited university with strong support services, a high-quality faculty, and an extensive alumni network.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.