Depending on the career path that you choose, you might find that you have few job opportunities with a simple Bachelors degree. While a four-year degree can help you gain some experience, you might find that you need an advanced degree to work in the field of your choice. The number of students attending online classes keeps rising in the country. Online courses are often less expensive than traditional degree programs, and you can study on your own time. Even if you have a degree from an online school, you can still attend graduate school, but you must ensure your degree comes from an accredited school.

With more students now attending online schools, the number of scam operations rose. Often referred to as diploma mills, these schools care more about making money than helping students. Most traditional colleges and universities are nonprofit schools that funnel the money they make from students back into the school. Diploma mills are for profit schools that charge higher admission fees and aren’t accredited.

Identifying a Diploma Mill

According to the Federal Trade Commission, diploma mills offer students credits in exchange for experience. The school might let you skip multiple medical classes because you once worked for a doctor, or it might decide that working in a restaurant will satisfy one of your other requirements. These schools will also push you into signing up for the program without giving you time to think. While some schools charge one flat rate for all students, other schools will operate in the same way as a traditional college.

Accredited Schools Only

If you want to know if the college you attended as an undergraduate is a valid school, call a college in your area. Ask if you can transfer credits you earned to that school. If the college you attended is a good one, you should have the chance to transfer those credits. You can also research your school through United States Department of Education. As long as your school is accredited, you can use the degree you used online when applying for graduate school.

What Else do You Need When Applying to Grad School?

When you apply to grad school, you need more than just an undergraduate degree. You typically need at least two letters of recommendation from former professors, though some schools will accept letters written by your peers. The American Psychological Association warns against asking those with limited knowledge of your skills and experience and those you don’t know well to write those letters for you. You generally want letters of recommendation from people who know you on a personal level. You might ask someone you did volunteer work with in the past or the professor in charge of your last major project. Most graduate programs also require that you take and receive a high score on the GRE or a similar test.

Attending graduate school can improve your chances of finding the job of your dreams, and you can apply for school whether you went to a traditional college or an online school. Graduate schools view accredited online schools in the same way admissions officers view traditional colleges, but you still need to take the GRE or a comparable test and send in several letters of recommendation.