Make This Important Checklist When Narrowing Down Online Schools
Online training can be looked upon as ‘the unknown’ and many people wonder if these schools are legitimate and if the quality of the training is equal to a ‘regular’ school. Although a very convenient way to learn, it is imperative that you determine if online learning is for you and that you find the right educational institution. Many potential students want to know the usual: price, the length of the training, eventual outcome, how they obtain support and instruction throughout their course, etc. Here are some additional questions that you should ask to ensure you get the most out of your training dollars.
Is this school accredited?
Accreditation makes a school responsible for establishing high education standards and providing consumer protection for students. Accredited schools are held to very strict guidelines by their governing bodies and are audited regularly for a variety of topics such as enrolment numbers, graduate success rates, truth in advertising, complaints, financial viability, employment rates, staff training… and much more. If a school makes excuses for not being accredited, such as: it’s very expensive and time consuming, if we got accredited we would have to charge more, accreditation doesn’t really mean anything… you need to re-evaluate your choice in schools. Accreditation does mean something – actually, it means a lot. Schools that go through the accreditation process have your best interests at heart and they are held to very strict standards to ensure they deliver on what they promise. You can rest assured that if your school is accredited, the school is invested in ensuring you are provided with every available option to perform well during your training and that your success as a graduate is right at the top of their list.
How many graduates has this school produced in this particular program?
Ensure you find out how many students enroll in a program AND how many of those students successfully graduate. There are many schools that enroll hundreds of students, but only a small percentage actually completes the course. Attrition rates should be lower than graduate rates. If not, ask yourself why. Which school would you rather attend?
- School A enrolls 100 students but only 25 graduate. Of those 25, 20 find employment. Only 20% of their students gain employment, but the school may advertise that 80% of their graduates find employment.
- School B enrolls 100 students and 75 graduate. Of those 75 graduates, 65 find employment. 65% of their students gain employment. This school could advertise their graduate employment rate as 87%.
Do you see the difference? Which school would you want to enroll with? My choice would clearly be School B.
May I speak to some of your graduates?
The answer to that should be YES! Speaking to graduates should provide an unbiased outlook on the “training experience.” You can also ask graduates questions you might not feel comfortable discussing with an admissions advisor such as what the support staff was like, how long did it take to achieve a response, what the course was like, etc. Now, keep in mind that graduates are volunteering their valuable time to answer questions, so keep the conversations short, to the point and be very thankful for their time and insight. In many cases, schools will be able to provide graduate testimonials when a ‘live’ graduate may not be available to speak with you. Be cautious of testimonials that just list a person’s first name and last initial. Authentic testimonials should list the person’s full name.
Do you offer support after completing the course?
Schools that offer continued support to their graduates are really willing to go that extra mile. Make sure and confirm what the school’s policy is for graduate support. Is it limited in its offering or length? You’ll want to look for schools that offer unlimited graduate support – just ensure you are clear on what this includes. And what about brushing up on your skill set once your training is completed? It’s not always easy to remember everything you may have learned during your training, especially if you don’t use that particular feature or function regularly. It is convenient to call back and speak to an experienced support advisor who can quickly walk you through that Microsoft Excel function or that Microsoft Word feature you want to use again.
To summarize, make an informed decision that works best for you. We encourage you to contact our Admissions Advisors and ask them the questions listed above! Our Distance Learning Assessment is a great tool to identify whether or not online training is right for you. Happy training!