If you are looking for information about how to find the best colleges and degree programs, we are here to help you in your quest.
Whether you are considering campus-based colleges, online schools or a combination, the right choice can provide a lifetime of job satisfaction and personal success. This website is designed to help you make the best choices for you! You’ll find timely information to help you make good decisions about your educational future as well as helpful rankings for top online degree programs. It’s a great place to navigate the barrage of educational information and find a great college you can love.
In order to choose the right degree program, it is essential that you learn not just the cost and reputation of the college, but also the admission requirements, number of credit hours required and much more. Here you can find data on scholarships and grant programs, graduation rates, projected returns on investment and other important factors for academic satisfaction. Don’t forget to factor in your long- and short-term career goals, as well as your current living situation, available study time, travel constraints and any other concerns.
Not all students are looking for the same things from higher learning, but there are some important things to find out when you are comparing schools. First and foremost is accreditation, which is a voluntary form of self-regulation and peer review that is highly-regarded by the educational community. Accredited colleges and universities have been officially verified to provide superior standards of instruction. Recognized accrediting agencies for U.S. colleges are approved by the United States Department of Education (USDE), or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), or both.
Highly-ranked, accredited schools can include traditional, brick-and-mortar colleges and universities, vocational and technical schools, online degree programs and hybrids. A degree from an accredited school adds greater value to your employment credentials and more heft to grad school applications. You can rest assured that every school featured on this website carries full accreditation.
A college education can take a variety of academic paths, and the level of degree you pursue depends on your goals for the future. For example, an entry-level job or technical position may require only an undergraduate degree, such as a two-year associates degree or four-year bachelor’s degree; whereas, positions of authority or advanced occupations with complex functions may require post-graduate educational credentials, such as a master’s or doctorate’s degree, both of which take several more years of full-time study.
All levels of degree programs are not available at all colleges. As a starting point, community colleges and technical schools can offer undergraduate degree programs and certifications only. Universities can provide undergraduate as well as graduate degree programs. For many adult students, online degree programs make the best option at every level of college degree. You will find every type of accredited degree program right here, along with facts and information to help narrow your college search.
An associate degree is the first rung on the ladder of higher education and the lowest degree level available. Courses are primarily focused on vocational and technical skills for immediate employment. Associate degrees can also prepare you for entry into bachelor’s degree programs. You can choose from Associate of Applied Arts (AAA) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees, as well as Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS). As you compare associate degree programs, keep your career goals at the forefront
Associate degrees are typically offered at community colleges, technical schools, vocational schools, and public and private colleges. Choose from online colleges or traditional campus settings. A top associate degree can provide you with basic scholastic knowledge to prepare for a specific occupation or to qualify for a higher level degree program.
Bachelor’s programs deliver a solid investment for a number of occupations. Baccalaureate-level courses delve deeper into the intricacies of the chosen field of study. Available types include Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and more. A bachelor’s degree can also be a launching-off point to apply for graduate degree programs.
Completing a bachelor’s degree typically takes around four years of full-time study. Some colleges and universities offer fast-track programs for students in a hurry, and others provide part-time options for those who need more time. Depending on the particular school and the number of credit hours required, the financial costs can be significant. Online bachelor’s programs could lower your expenses and provide flexible options that are not always available from campus-based schools.
A master’s is the basic level of graduate degree and a prerequisite to the highest level of college degree, the doctorate’s. If you aspire to be a respected authority in your chosen field, a master’s degree may be your scholarly level of choice. Master’s degrees can give you the confidence and credentials to manage others in your profession or to advance to doctorate’s level. Match degree programs with employment requisites to be certain that a master’s degree will help you achieve your academic goals.
Master’s programs allow students to specialize in one or more specific areas of interest, which could provide you with a higher level of academic and occupational satisfaction. If you decide to pursue a master’s degree, be prepared for an additional year-and-a-half to three years of full-time study. Degree types include the Master of Arts (MA), the Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), and many others. A wide variety of master’s degrees are available online as well as at campus-based schools.
The doctorate degree is considered the pinnacle of a college education and the highest level of academia possible. Doctorates are graduate degrees and they are sometimes referred to as terminal degrees. The types of doctorates include Medical Doctorate (MD), Doctor of Education (Ed.D), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and others. Doctoral programs can take three or more additional years beyond a master’s degree, and admission requirements can be intense. Proper preparation is the key to finding the right doctorate program. Online courses can make it possible to complete a highly-ranked doctorate’s program with minimal residency requirements.
The Importance of Rankings
College rankings are a convenient way to compare individual schools and degree programs. A chosen list of colleges is ranked for various features, such as the cost of tuition, availability of financial aid, retention rates, numbers of internship programs, student-to-teacher ratios, or others. Rankings can contain side-by-side comparisons, statistical charts, lists and infographics to help you get a clearer picture of how the schools stack up.
Here you can find direct links to quality rankings from respected institutions such as the U.S. News College Rankings, which compiles statistics on SAT scores and GPAs, financial aid, campus life and sports and much more.
Another helpful college ranking is Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges. The online publication provides easy-to-scan lists of the best colleges and universities in the United States along with tuition costs and total student populations.
The College Prowler’s College Rankings is a respected ranking authority that puts the focus on specific factors of interest. For example, you could search rankings for Best Small Colleges, Best Religious Colleges, Best College Sports Programs or Safest Campus.
Best Colleges Online publishes a number of well-researched and up-to-date rankings, too. You’ll find dozens of detailed ratings onsite with links to Cheap Online Colleges and affordable online degree programs. We have rankings for low-priced online degree programs in the most popular fields of study, including Affordable Online Business Degrees, Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs, Affordable Online Psychology Degrees and many more.
Affording Your Degree
If budgetary concerns are a driving factor for your selections, keep in mind that the most expensive tuition does not guarantee a superior education. Online colleges provide the same high level of instruction as campus-based schools with huge savings on tuition, textbooks, parking, travel expenses and more. Best Colleges Online is on a mission to help you get the most bang for your educational buck. Here you can compare the most affordable online colleges and learn how distance learning can save you money.
Colleges and universities, including online schools, often provide financial assistance in the form of grants and/or scholarships. Eligibility may require a certain number of credit hours per semester, proof of U.S. citizenship, a valid social security number and verification of financial need. Students with exceptional academic records or other desirable attributes may be eligible for merit-based financial aid. The availability of grants and scholarships varies greatly from school to school, which might influence your choice of colleges.
As a student, you could apply for federal financial aid. For example, the U.S. government provides special rates on student loans through the Department of Education. Low interest rates provide a great advantage for those who want to reduce student debt. College students and parents who accept federal assistance are required to begin repaying loans shortly after graduation, so be careful not to borrow more than you can afford.
You may also be eligible for hundreds or thousands of dollars of scholarship aid. This website contains direct links to various scholarships to help pay a portion or all of your costs. One of the best resources onsite for college funding is a list of 30 Great College Scholarships. You will also find resources aimed at specific professions, including 75 Specialized Scholarships for Nursing Students.
As you earn your degree, you can tap into a number of creative ways to generate more income for college. Many colleges offer flex-path degree programs that allow busy students to maintain current employment or find part-time work. You might also take advantage of federal work study programs to earn extra cash. You could start your own small business and offer services such as house painting, baby-sitting, tutoring or helping people move. You might even learn a new trade to earn money, such as barbering or web designing. For extra fundraising power, state your case on a popular crowd funding website and appeal to the generosity of family members and friends who may be willing to invest in your future.
Whichever type of degree you choose, it will be a significant investment–you want to do it right. All the resources you need to make the best choices and get a great college education are right here on Best Colleges Online.