Nikki Morgan, Previous student at online university-level programs
The first thing to check when it comes to online programs is whether or not the university is accredited. Here is a website from the US Department of Education that can help you figure out whether or not the schools you're interested in are accredited or not. I would also look at whether or not the university is for-profit or not-for-profit. I have a bias towards not-for-profit schools. Then, I would look at the specific program you're interested in applying to find one that is a good fit for you. Some universities offer fantastic online programs like the online graduate education programs through USC that use a learning module system that allows you to have live, synchronous classes online. The system is fantastic for dialogue among classmates but is not as great for flexibility with scheduling. The College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University offers online programs in many different disciplines. Most of these programs, to my knowledge, are asynchronous, which offers greater flexibility. Some of the programs are blended, which means you attend some classes in person and others online. It really depends on what program you’re interested in and what your needs are, but as I mentioned before, the most important factor to look at for weeding out schools is accreditation.