Best Online Degree Programs For High School Graduates

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Online degree programs are paving the way for the future of education, giving more opportunities to a wide variety of students who are unable to enroll in traditional programs. The majority of students that enroll in online programs are looking to improve their ability to secure high-paying jobs while staying in the workforce. For the students return on investment is of utmost important. Therefore, it is essential that prospective students search out programs where they will get the most bang for their buck. There are many formal guides and ranking systems that list the best online programs. US News is probably the most popular of these lists, ranking schools based on student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, and peer reputation. According to US New's 2017 rankings, the best Bachelors programs online come from Eddie Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Temple University, University of Oklahoma Arizona State University, and Western Kentucky University.

Online Programs From Traditional Universities

The advantages of taking an online program from a traditional brick and mortar university are that the school will have an established reputation and a physical campus where students may access additional resources. Degrees from traditional schools are more likely to be accepted by future employers and help establish credibility for the graduate. Students of online programs at traditional universities are also often able to take advantage of the school’s alumni network, career center, and networking opportunities. The disadvantages of taking an online program from a traditional school can include stringent entry requirements, high tuition costs, and stricter class schedules. A number of top universities, including Ivy League schools like Harvard, are offering distance education programs that allow students to earn degrees on the go. Through Harvard’s extension program, students who may not fit the traditional mold can “earn their way in” by taking three admissions courses and earning at least a B or better before being fully admitted to the program.

Programs From Online Universities

The fall of many for-profit online colleges in recent years has sparked debate about the security of investing in an online education. While it seems safer to attend a program attached to a traditional campus, online universities can be the best option for students who do not meet the admissions requirements for traditional universities. It is a must that students considering this option check that the program they are looking to enroll in is fully accredited. For certain technical fields, a degree from an online university can be more than adequate. Students should always check with potential employers in their chosen field about which degrees they accept.

Bachelor's, Master’s, or Certificate Programs

Bachelors and Master’s degree granting programs are not the only programs that are available to online students. A number of top ranking universities also offer certificate programs that allow students to further develop skills without obtaining a degree. It is important that prospective students consider whether or not they want to obtain their degree from a fully online university or a more traditional university with an established reputation that offers distance-learning programs. Schools like MIT and Columbia are offering MicroMasters programs, which train students in career-relevant skills at a fraction of the cost of a traditional Master’s. The credits from these MicroMasters programs can be counted towards the completion of a full degree. A good starting point for those interested in online degree programs is to check the traditional schools with the best reputation in their particular field of study and see if they offer an online or distance-learning option. Students can also contact businesses in their field of expertise and ask which schools they look to for recruiting graduates. In the end, the best online degrees are the ones that can be used to get paying jobs. A bit of study into fields with high rates of growth, current market trends, and speaking to potential employers about the educational background that they are looking for in new hires can do a lot in terms of helping to choose the appropriate online degree. It is also essential that students consider their own lifestyle, workload, and study habits when considering different programs. The best online degree programs are those that provide students with the right balance of relevant knowledge, learning flexibility, resources, and reputation.