Some Questions to Ask as You Evaluate Online Schools

By Kevin E. Johnson, Susan Manning, Jonathan E. Finkelstein

Part of Online Education For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Many schools offer online education, but not all schools are created the same. To help you decide where to apply, these are questions you may want to ask as you investigate online programs and their staffs:

  • Is this school or program accredited (proven to meet academic standards by an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education)?

  • Are the courses self-paced or led by an instructor?

  • How many “class” hours (total time in hours) a week will each course take?

  • What is the student/faculty ratio?

  • What is the student retention rate?

  • Who are the faculty and what kind of training have they received?

  • When do classes begin?

  • What if I need to stop out (temporarily withdraw)?

  • Is financial aid available?

  • What are the minimal technology requirements (hardware and software) for taking an online course at your institution?

  • What are the minimal technology competencies a student must have to take an online course at your institution?

  • Are there any expectations that I be online at a specific time to conference with my instructor or classmates?