This summer has been a time of research for me. I made the decision to return to school, but wondered how I was going to be able to with a young child. It seems like every click you take, there is a website offering a bachelor’s degree in this or that. Many times, you don’t have to leave home.
Some of these schools look completely legitimate. They flaunt their national accreditations in your face to show you what a great deal you’re getting. And yes, when you graduate, you will have a piece of paper declaring that you have a bachelor’s degree in _______. But what is that piece of paper worth in the real world?
A couple of years ago, my husband almost enrolled in one such school. Luckily, their in your face tactics made us think twice. Most credible schools will not call you nightly to find out when you’re going to complete paperwork and such. They trust that if you want to go to school, you will take the initiative to get your ducks in a row.
As I researched schools, one thing became apparent. Most “brick and mortar” schools don’t hold much value in a degree from most online schools. If you are considering getting your bachelor’s online and then going for a higher degree from another school, you need to do your homework. If you have an idea of where you will be going, call and ask them if the credits will transfer. Don’t take the word of the school you’re currently looking to enroll in. Even if you are going to a traditional tech school, the same rule applies. You will always be better off if you ask both sides of the equation.
Also, talk to people in human resources departments with companies you would like to work for after school. What will they say when they see a degree from a school such as Penn-Foster, University of Phoenix, American Intercontinental University, etc? Will they view that as a valid degree? If you start hearing negative answers, it may be time to reconsider. I asked a few hiring managers I know in various fields and didn’t hear a single, “Yes, that’s great!”
There are many options to obtain a degree online if you simply can’t find time to attend face to face classes. In the Madison area, MATC offers their Administrative Assistant associate’s degree entirely online, although there is usually a long waitlist. University of Wisconsin Colleges offers a Bachelor’s of Arts and Science completely online. You may pay more, but the peace of mind is worth it.
Just for giggles, I did a web search on a few online schools with “bad experience” and “good experience” after the school name. Maybe it’s just that people are more likely to talk about bad experiences, but there were many more negative comments than positive. I’m just sayin’…..