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How to Choose an Online Program That’s Right for You

by South University
November 1, 2013 In this age of technology, it’s becoming far more commonplace to choose an online university instead

In this age of technology, it’s becoming far more commonplace to choose an online university instead of the typical brick-and-mortar campus. Online programs offer a wealth of opportunity for non-traditional students! Rather than adhering to strict course schedules, you can plan class work around work and family commitments, and no commuting is needed. With so many online schools now existing, it can be confusing trying to determine which is the best fit for you.

Online studentWhat’s best for each individual varies, but checking into the following items is a good place to start.


This should be among your main priorities when deciding which online university or college is right for you. Accreditation means that an establishment meets or surpasses pre-determined educational standards. Accredited institutions are typically held in much higher regard by employers and accreditation by agencies that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education is the gold standard. Additionally, students at accredited schools are eligible for tuition assistance and financial aid, which can make accredited schools more affordable.

Class Size

Class size is important, whether you attend classes online or in the typical brick-and-mortar setting. Smaller class sizes make one-on-one time with the instructor easier as they have more time to devote to each student. Smaller class sizes can make it simpler to network and collaborate with other students as well. Try to find out about class sizes at each institution you have on your list.


Good instructors are critical for the best education so researching the experience and education of faculty members is an excellent idea. Especially important is the background of those instructors who will be teaching the courses you’ll be taking. Look for instructors with appropriate degrees, along with real world experience, and possibly even publications, in the field they are teaching.


Ask what type of support staff is available should you need it. Are there academic resources available around the clock, and tech support for your online classroom? You also need to know how easy it'll be to reach your instructor with concerns and questions. Each institution offers different levels of accessibility, so find one that suits your needs.

Costs of Education

Online education is in many ways cost-effective; you eliminate commuting and parking expenses by studying remotely, plus there’s no need to relocate. Still, education is a big investment and you’ll want to know what aid the university accepts or provides as well as the monthly payment plans that are available. Many options exist for paying for your education, including employer tuition assistance, military aid and financial aid packages that include scholarships, grants, student loans and military and veteran's benefits.

If you’ve earned credits at other colleges, inquire as to whether those credits will transfer. You can also check to see if they accept credits for examinations like CLEP and DANTES that allow you to prove prior experience and expertise. This can both reduce your tuition and shorten your path to a degree.

Is South University right for you?

• See our accreditation info.
• Find out what it's like to be an online student at South University.
• Meet our experienced faculty.
• Explore all the Support Services we offer.
• Learn about paying for your South University education, and read our Student Consumer Information.
• Request to speak to an Admissions Representative to learn more!

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