What To Ask When Seeking A Legitimate Distance Learning Degree
While distance learning is nothing new (correspondence schools have been in existence for almost 300 years), getting a higher education distance learning degree is a fairly recent endeavor. With the accessibility of internet facilities, universities, and educators, we can study and earn a distance learning degree that is the valid, acceptable, acknowledged equivalent to the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate. But the operative word here is "earn." Just as we would if attending a real-time institution for courses leading to the units we need to graduate, we who seek a distance learning degree have to expect we will work hard, study hard, take a few hundred hours to access and absorb the material and information that comes with the esteem and prestige--and subsequent recognition--of a BA, MA, or PhD. But, there's a warning that comes with the warrantee, details of the damage one can incur when seeking a distance learning degree online: unscrupulous entrepreneurs (who are not academicians) can be "licensed" to run a business, which they make into a false academic institution that issues fake degrees. IN the U.S., every state has different ways of regulating standards, so pseudo universities can pull off underhanded activities like claiming to be legitimate e-universities. These frauds will link their pages to the real sites of DOE or of the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the learner seeking the valuable online/distance learning degree will be duped. But we can avoid the scammers and cons by asking a number of questions, can do our homework before doing our actual homework. And any legitimate institution of higher learning will readily answer...if it offers a distance learning degree that is valid: #1 IS THE SCHOOL ACCREDITED? This is the primary and most important question of all. (A bogus school/company will post claims of being accredited--will cite official links or word the advertising text with implications that the institution is accredited and link to an accreditation company it has manufactured as a separate--but highly endorsing--site.) It is imperative to look into the distance learning degree by verifying the college accreditation info. When the said distance learning institution names an accreditation agency--whether it is DOE or CHEA in the U.S., The British Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in England, a named Private Colleges Accreditation Board in Canada, or any other Authoritative body--contact that named agency and check to see that the school is in fact accredited...NOT just licensed to do business and not just linking to a fake accreditation company (academic boards accredit, not companies) or linking to the DOE or CHEA to make it appear accredited. #2 WHAT ARE THE ENROLLMENT/ACCEPTANCE REQUIREMENTS? If the business offering a distance learning degree requires you fill in a form or two and maybe fax or email your resume, how does it measure your eligibility? What standards or criteria does the company have? It doesn't measure and it has no criteria. Well, it has one requirement: that you send cash...lots of it. A legitimate institution offering offline degrees almost always requests a lengthy, thorough application packet with forms, transcripts, and admissions essays as requisites to their admitting a student into often typically impacted undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate programs. #3 HOW MUCH WORK WILL BE REQUIRED FOR YOU TO EARN A DISTANCE LEARNING DEGREE? Anyone who has slogged through years of baccalaureate, graduate, or doctoral work will rightfully boast of the amount of work and number of years he/she put in to earn a degree. Papers, exams, lab work, theses, dissertations, and actually attending lectures and seminars are imperative parts of the whole higher education process. If a bogus company claims you can get a distance learning degree in 30 days with no entry or exit exams and no thesis work at all...even if you may be tempted to drop the dough and get an easy degree, remember, that document, which will cost you thousands, will cost exponentially more when you can't go on to study, can't get a job, and can't prove that the piece of paper that has BA, MA, BS, MBA, or PhD emblazoned on it is worth anything more than a page torn out of a kid's coloring book.
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