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How to Choose the Right Online College

Consider these six criteria to help you find the best online universities and online colleges to meet your needs.

If you’re interested in pursuing a degree at an online university, you’re in good company. According to the Babson Survey Research Group’s report, Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States, roughly 6.4 million students were enrolled in at least one distance education course.1 But with so many online colleges and online universities to choose from, how do you select the right one? We’ve identified six criteria that can help you narrow down your search and select the very best institution for your personal and career goals.

  1. Choose an accredited institution
    When it comes to selecting the right institution, the best place to start is accreditation. Accreditation by an independent accreditation organization, such as The Higher Learning Commission, ensures that an institution meets rigorous quality standards and you will receive a high-caliber education.
  2. Ensure the degree programs match your areas of interest
    If you already know what you’d like to major in, make sure the online colleges and online universities you’re considering have strong programs in your area of interest. If you’re still undecided about what you will study, choose an institution with diverse offerings to provide a number of different options.
  3. Review the program curriculum
    Once you’ve identified a suitable program at an accredited online university, investigate its curriculum. Many online colleges post all required and elective courses—as well as descriptions of each class—on their websites, making it easier to determine the right program for you.
  4. Investigate the various technologies being offered
    An institution is only as strong as its technology. From mobile apps to video chatting with instructors and classmates, technologies employed by online colleges and online universities help you learn and stay engaged. Be sure to investigate the technologies used by the institution you’re interested in attending to ensure they meet your needs.
  5. Consider affordability
    Another important element of choosing the right online college or online university is price. While classes, books, and fees can add up, don’t let the cost of online universities keep you from pursuing your dream. Many institutions offer financial aid, grants, and scholarships for adult learners just as they do for younger students.
  6. Learn from recent graduates
    Online universities and online colleges often highlight the stories of recent graduates. Explore the websites of your top picks to see what graduates have done with their education. One inspiring story may be enough to help you make your final decision and get started pursuing your dream career.

Earn Your Degree at Walden—an Online University Designed for Working Professionals

Thanks to online education, you can earn your degree in an accessible, convenient environment while you continue to work full time. That means you can better maintain a work-life balance while you expand your credentials and further your skills. With a flexible online learning platform, you can take classes at whatever time of day works best for you as you get your degree and advance your career.

Ready to start your search for the right online university? Fully accredited and equipped with the latest educational technologies, Walden University offers a wide range of online bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs. Explore how Walden can help you achieve your career goals, at your own pace and on your own schedule.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,