Introduction to Online Universities

While being marked by a year, OnlineUniversityRankings2010 provides up-to-date information for online schools and degrees. With the current situation of our job market, employers’ demands for individuals with college degrees is higher than ever. Earning a degree from an online college offers the affordability and flexibility that most brick-and-mortar campus-based colleges cannot offer.

There is no single sanctioning organization that creates online university rankings each year, but there are several legitimate lists created by Forbes and similar publications; when researching online university rankings, take the time to check the source of the rankings.

Liberty University
Associate's Degrees
Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees
Liberty UniversityDegree Levels: Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's. Founded in 1971 by Rev. Jerry Falwell, Liberty University is the largest evangelical Christian university in the nation with an enrollment of over 20,000 undergraduate and post-graduate students.
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Kaplan University
Associate's Degrees
Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees
Kaplan UniversityDegree Levels: Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's. The online degree programs offered at Kaplan University are tailored to each student, customized for flexibilty so that students are able to study on their schedule. Kaplan offers more than 100 degrees in subjects ranging from business to criminal justice to nursing and more.
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Ashford University
Associate's Degrees
Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees
Ashford UniversityDegree Levels: Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's. The mission of Asford University is to foster a sense of accessible, flexible, and innovative learning in its student body. Ashford offers accelerated external degree program for adult learners in numerous subjects, including social sciences, criminal justice, technology, business, healthcare, and more.
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Walden University
Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees
Doctorate Degrees
Walden UniversityDegree Levels: Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate. Walden University has designed all of its online coursework for busy adult professionals who demand affordability and flexibility from their schooling. With degrees offered in several subjects, including healthcare, criminal justice, and business, Walden is sure to be a good fit for most students.
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American InterContinental University
Associate's Degrees
Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees
American InterContinental UniversityDegree Levels: Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's. American InterContinental University offers a variety of degree programs to its 24,000 students. Whether it be business, IT, criminal justice, or fashion design, American InterContinental University offers these programs 100% online, to meet the needs of working professionals.
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Grand Canyon University
Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees
Grand Canyon UniversityDegree Levels: Bachelor's and Master's. Frequently cited as one of the top online colleges in the United States, Grand Canyon University was originally founded as Grand Canyon College in 1949. Today, GCU offers dozens of degrees online in subjects such as nursing, healthcare, business, and more.
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Boston University
Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees
Doctorate Degrees
Boston UniversityDegree Levels: Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate. Founded in 1839, Boston University is one of the oldest universities in the nation to offer online degree programs. With two main campuses in the city of Boston, dozens of study abroad programs around the world, and an online program available globally, Boston University's presence is second to none.
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South University
Associate's Degrees
Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees
Doctorate's Degrees
South UniversityDegree Levels: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate's. South University is backed by years of experience in helping students quickly achieve their career objectives. SU offers online degree programs at every level, so no matter if you are looking to attend college for the first time or if you are wanting to further your career, SU has a program for you.
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Online University Rankings – What Goes Into Them?

Online university rankings are based on a few major factors. These reasons are usually, but are not limited to, accreditation by a regional organization, retention rate, job placement following graduation, and ease of site navigation and online courses. These are the main things that make an online university experience enjoyable or difficult to keep up with. Both online schools and traditional schools are highly focused on retention rates. This is a reflection how the school is performing overall, in terms of professors, the quality of classes, and resources available for students. Grants and funding usually take student retention into account which is why this is one of the most important things for any university.

Trusted, well-known publications will have taken the essential things into account for forming a list of online university rankings. Many of these sources compile different lists for ranking universities and colleges on different things, such as best business programs, medical schools, or job placement in Fortune 500 companies.

What is Ranking Methodology?

Ranking methodology is the way most universities and colleges are ranked. These are the different factors that organizations and publications take into account when ranking schools. Besides those previously mentioned, ranking methodology can also include pay rate after graduating, debt students acquire over the course of enrollment, awards given to the school, or professors and student graduation rate.

Why is Student Graduation Rate Important for Online Universities?

Graduation rates are important for all universities, whether they are traditional or exclusively online. There are many schools that are known as dropout factories, which are schools that have a very high dropout rate. This phrase is used for high schools, colleges, and universities that do not have the resources they need to succeed, or are poorly managed resulting in high dropout rates. The usual statistic to qualify as a dropout factory is to have less than 60 percent of students graduating. There are many schools that fall under the umbrella of dropout factory, not just online universities and colleges. High graduation rates show a learning institution is committed to seeing a student’s education through to the end. A school with a high graduation rate will typically have student advisers available in offices and for online chats, experienced professors and staff, and technology-driven resources that students can use. These schools also have perks like extended library hours, online and in-person tutorials, weekly study groups, and a large variety of extracurricular organizations for students to participate in.

How Can I Find Out My Potential School’s Graduation Rate?

To learn a potential school’s graduation rate, you can check the school’s website or set up an appointment to discuss your program with an academic adviser. He or she will be able to share this information with you, but many schools have it available on the program’s site or in brochures and literature about the program. If a school is unable or reluctant to share graduation rates with you, it could be a sign this is not an accredited university and could be a diploma mill. An unaccredited online university will not be beneficial to your career or earning potential.

Are All Online Universities and Colleges Accredited?

Many online universities and colleges are accredited by the same regional organizations as traditional learning institutions. Degrees from accredited online schools are just as valid as those obtained through a traditional degree program. The idea of online schools originated as a convenient way for students to obtain degrees while working full time or tending to other responsibilities. The premise has never been to scam students, but because there is no governing body over all online schools, many diploma mills and unaccredited schools pose as legitimate schools. It is fairly easy to differentiate accredited schools from unaccredited schools once you start the research process and see online university rankings. It quickly becomes apparent what schools have been rated on the key factors that will aid your success in a degree program.

Does a Highly Ranked Online Degree Program Ensure I’ll Do Well at School?

A highly ranked online degree program has the resources to help students succeed. These are usually online universities and colleges that are well-established and have professors who are experienced conducting online courses. While a highly ranked online degree program does not guarantee you will do well in school or graduate, you are more likely to have success because it is a well-maintained school whose focus is educating students, preparing them for jobs, and having those students graduate.

Why Does an Online School Have to be Accredited?

Schools must be accredited because this is what makes your degree valid for future employers. If you attend an online program and later want to transfer those credits to another school, most schools will only accept credits from an accredited learning institution. You do not want to be in a situation where you have a degree that employers do not view seriously or you have accumulated credits that do not transfer to another program. If you do not do enough research when finding the right online program for you, you may end up halfway through a program before realizing it is unaccredited. At this point, it will be very difficult to transfer the credits to another school. It is essential to learn about the school’s accreditation to ensure your time and money are well spent.

What if My Potential School is Not Ranked on a Formal List?

Do not be hesitant if you do not see your potential school or the program you are looking into on a formal ranking list. Not all ranking lists take every online school into account since there are many out there. You should be most concerned with the school’s accreditation and how long the particular program has been available at the school. This shows that the school has the proper tools to help you succeed, graduate, and prepare to enter the work force while utilizing your degree.

What Should be My Own Research Methodology for Ranking Online Schools?

When researching online schools, it is wise to evaluate the extracurricular activities and student associations a school offers or has connections to. These activities are essential for networking, learning more about the industry you wish to work in, and can open doors for employment. This is an area where it is beneficial for a student to choose an online school that has a well-established program. These programs usually have connections to organizations that reach out to students and new graduates for recruitment events. These events are ideal for students to enhance their networking skills and build contacts in their industry of choice.

Does it Matter How Long a School Has Been Accredited?

As long as a school is accredited, it will be valid for employment and transferring credits. It does not matter how long a school has been accredited in terms of your end goal, but a school with a few years of accreditation can be beneficial for students. These schools usually have tried and true methods for curriculum, conducting courses online, and helping students achieve their goals in school. An accredited school’s focus is education, and they are willing to do what they need to remain in good standing to renew accreditation in a few years. If you are returning to school after many years in the work force, a school with a few years of accreditation is most likely the best choice for you. In these cases, the school has degree programs that are well-maintained and taught by professors who know how to help students returning to the classroom. This is common for online degree programs, so a program that makes itself available to returning students is helpful and shows the school is committed to seeing students succeed.

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