Over the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the college admissions landscape in key ways. One major shift involves the involuntary suspension of in-person education on college campuses across the nation (and the world) at various points in time. The sudden adaptations left many wondering: why not opt for online degrees if the experience is the same?
It’s true, living on-campus with peers in a new live-and-learn environment is valuable. That said, many families think of education itself as an investment in your future. Not only does your degree and training give you a tangible boost in the job hunt, but the experience of challenging yourself to learn despite the challenges also demonstrates intellectual character.
So let’s talk about the brass tacks: now that technology has improved, how does online school translate for college students?
Today, Empowerly investigates the burgeoning ecosystem of online college education and how (or if) they serve graduates effectively later in life. Are you one of those deciding whether to attend an in-person university or claim a degree online? It’s worth understanding the investment you’re making. To do so, you’ll definitely need to know if online degrees are valid, respected, or a potential scam.
First, let’s review a list of some top institutions offering accredited degree programs online. Looking for advice about a school that’s not on that list? We’ll offer some tips on how to tell if a particular institution you may be considering is legitimate or a scam. Finally, let’s tackle a few common myths that crop up in discussions about online degrees. Together, we’ll form a better picture of how these degrees will work for the coming generations of graduates.
Top Institutions Offering Accredited Degree Programs Online
Looking for a place to start your research? It’s probably a good idea to get a loose idea of what’s out there. We drew this list to give you a rundown of some well-known candidates, each of which offers 10+ online degree pathways, with a nod to their specialties:
- University College London – online Teaching degrees, online Medicine degrees, and more.
- Columbia University – online Business degrees, and more.
- University of Edinburgh – online Medicine degrees, online Law degrees, online Social Sciences degrees, and more.
- Johns Hopkins University – online Engineering degree, online Natural Sciences degrees, online Computer Science degrees, online Business degrees, and more.
- The University of Manchester – online Medicine degrees, online Business degrees, and more.
- Northwestern University – online Medicine degrees, online Social Sciences degrees, and more.
- King’s College London – online Medicine degrees, online Social Sciences degrees, online Law degrees, and more.
- University of California, Los Angeles – online Engineering degrees and more.
- University of Sydney – online Medicine degrees, and more.
- Monash University – online Medicine degrees, online Teaching degrees, and more
- The University of Texas at Austin – online Engineering degrees, online Computer Science degrees, and more.
- The University of Glasgow – online Education degrees, online Medicine degrees, online Business degrees, and more.
- Georgia Institute of Technology – online Business degrees, online Engineering degrees, and more.
- University of Sheffield – online Medicine degrees and more.
- The University of Birmingham – online Humanities degrees, online Social Sciences degrees, online Education degrees, online Design degrees, and more.
- The University of Leeds – online Engineering degrees, online Humanities degrees, and more.
- University of Nottingham – online Humanities degrees, and more.
- University of Southampton – online Medicine degrees, online Computer Science degrees, and more.
- Boston University – online Business degrees, online Natural Sciences degrees, online Social Sciences degrees, and more.
How to Determine If An Online Degree is Legitimate (or a Scam)
Searching for advice about a specific institution? It’s true, we haven’t listed every single online degree-granting institution in this article–not by a long shot! If there is a local campus or smaller program you’re curious about, we simply advise doing your own research to be sure. If you still have questions, reach out to Empowerly or a college admissions counselor for support. We are here to help you achieve your best future.
In the meantime, here is a starter checklist to help you weed out potential scams:
- Check for accreditation: “The best way is to be sure that any school or distance-learning program[me] that you choose is fully accredited. This means that the school or program[me] has been reviewed by its peers in the education field and validated or verified.”
- Avoid universities that copy the name of famous institutions.
- Beware of “too good to be true” admissions criteria.
- Don’t feel forced to pay tuition up-front (most tuition is paid in installments, each year or semester).
- Be skeptical of earning a degree “way too easily.”
- Check the resources and contact information of the university to see what is available to you.
- Check for reviews on Google or another third-party website.
Common Myths About the Online Degree: True or False?
While online learning has become much more popular—or at least, normalized—over the last few months and years, it wasn’t always so. In fact, there are a handful of common misconceptions about online degrees that deserve to be brought out into the light. The more we better understand our options, the better we can make choices that serve us!
Myth #1: You’re in it alone. (Nope!)
Myth #2: Your degree won’t be taken seriously by prospective employers. (Also false.)
Myth #3: You’re guaranteed to have professor problems. (Not true!)
Myth #4: Classes are too easy. You won’t learn or be challenged. (As if.)
Myth #5: Online degrees are not accredited, which means you’re not earning a “real” degree. (Huh? Nah.)
Yep! Believe it or not, you can read more about why none of these hold true here.
Looking Forward: Online Education in the Future
What’s more, the BBC published this profile only a few weeks ago: Will online degrees become more ‘legitimate’? In the piece, the publication investigates the world of online education and how it works for various student situations at hand.
Online Degree and College Admissions Counseling For You
Looking for advice on how all this applies to you? Of course, Empowerly and our community are here to support your family throughout the entire process. From beginning your college search to planning your potential majors and everything in-between, we can help. We would love to meet you!