Educational resources for the 21st Century

Is Distance Learning Legitimate?

Does this sound familiar?

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The email said I could have my degree in a month. I wouldn't have to spend time in class. No previous college experience was required. All I needed to do was to fill out a form detailing my life experience and send them a check for $2500.

I read the fine print. Hmmm...I've heard of Columbia...They are accredited by the National Board of Education...How can I tell if this is for real?

There are legitimate distance learning schools out there

There are a ton of real distance learning schools out there. Many are legitimate, and they range from traditional (brick and mortar) colleges with online programs to schools that are entirely online.

There are also a lot of scams (diploma mills). We'll explore this in the next topic.

How do I find the real schools?

Research their accreditation

There are regional and national accrediting agencies. Both are legitimate but you need to go with a regionally accredited school. Why? Because the credits from nationally accredited schools won't transfer. Why do you care? When it comes time to pursue another degree-say get your bachelors or your masters-you have to start from scratch.

You can find better degree programs that offer all the same benefits. The difference is that these regionally accredited schools future proof your degree!

Watch out for bogus accrediting agencies

This one can be tough. There are a lot of real accrediting agencies out there. The problem is that the accreditation mills-scams-sound real. Their names often mimic real agencies. Or they are designed to sound official. So what happens is that your degree program is fully accredited...but it's still bogus!

Check out their name

This is a common trap. The diploma mills love to pick names that sound like real colleges. A perfect example is Columbia State University. This diploma mill sounds like the prestigious Columbia University in New York (and several accredited schools named Columbia).

Too many choices! What can I do to find a legitimate program?

We take the guesswork out of it for you. In our system we reveal the top four online universities...and highlight the overall best choice.

Want to learn more about our system Click here!

Next article: How Do I Avoid Diploma Mills?