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How to Choose an Online College or University

Finding the right college or university is a big decision. As a student, you want to be sure you are pursuing a degree from a quality institution. You also want to make sure that the institution supports you; both as a student and in your career goals. If you are wondering how to choose the best online college or university, you are not alone. Many students worry about the reputation and credibility of their chosen online program and how it will look on their resume.

Online learning has quickly become the norm—and will continue to stay even in a post-pandemic world. Today, more students are turning to online education to begin and/or complete their college degrees. Online education offers a flexible, convenient way to gain college credentials, especially for those with other obligations or jobs. If you are considering this path of study, read on. Below, we share the top four qualities to look for when choosing an online college or university.


You want to ensure the online school you are about to enroll in is legitimate. The program should align with your goals and set you up for a bright future full of opportunities. If you are considering a college’s credibility, you will want to make sure that it is accredited. Both schools as a whole, and their programs, can be accredited.

Accreditation is the formal recognition that an educational institution meets the academic standards of the Department of Education. Specifically, it ensures that an institution or program meets (or exceeds) expectations regarding curriculum, faculty, student success rates, and more. Accreditation is the basis for colleges and universities that employers look for when considering a candidate.

It is also a critical factor when considering online degree programs, because much of the research is done virtually and you cannot always see a school in person. Checking off “accreditation” should be an important, must-have feature on your list before you dig any deeper into a school’s program. Learn about Goodwin’s accreditations here.

Applicable and Credible Courses

The next principal factor to look for, after accreditation, is the curriculum offered. If you are considering an online degree, you will want to enroll in a program that can prepare you for a future in your field. For example, if you are looking for an online degree in Business Administration, because you wish to start your own business, you will want to find a program that can offer you courses in budgeting, finance, and entrepreneurship. If you are looking to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, you will want courses that can prepare you to provide primary care across the age spectrum.

At a career-focused school like Goodwin University, the curriculum will reflect the area of study and prepare you for your career ahead, no matter what your chosen profession may be. Whether you want to be an advanced Nurse Practitioner, public health worker, business manager, or child development specialist, our online courses will give you the foundation you need for success in the field.


In order to succeed and complete your degree, you will need to find a program that can offer flexibility. This is one of the biggest benefits of enrolling in an online degree program. At Goodwin University, we are all about convenience. We understand the challenge that many students face when trying to juggle work, school, and personal obligations. Therefore, it is important to offer flexibility with programs—programs that work with your current job, family life, and other scheduling factors.

Online degrees offer students plenty of flexibility because they typically allow students to maintain their job(s), complete coursework, and study at a time when it is convenient.


Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students around the world have realized the value of remote learning. Long before the lockdowns, however, many colleges were offering online courses. As you consider an online college or university, it is important to think about what you want to get out of your studies.

At an online school like Goodwin University, you can utilize many free, supportive services offered to students and graduates. The Online Services team is committed to student success in the world of online education, offering the same services as those offered to students who choose to study on-campus. Some of these services include:

  • Academic Advising. Find support as you explore and pursue career goals with one-on-one advisement sessions.
  • Career Services. Goodwin offers free support for students and graduates for life. From resume and cover letter writing to interviewing practice and professional networking, our staff does not rest until you are working in a job that you love.
  • Counseling. Mental health services are an important need for students. Whether you need individual counseling, family/group therapy, crisis intervention, grief counseling, anger management, or communication building, you can find a campus counselor for support at no additional cost.
  • Financial Aid. Affording college can be an intimidating notion. Goodwin University has one of the lowest tuition rates in the state for private, nonprofit colleges, and about 94 percent of undergraduates received financial aid in Fall of 2021.

Reach Out for More Information

These are a few of the key qualities to look for when choosing the best online college or university for you. Once you have found an online program that you like, that is reputable, and that meets all of your needs, reach out to the school to discuss the admissions process.

Now that you know how to choose an online college, you may be ready to take the next step. To learn more about the many online programs at Goodwin University, call 800-889-3282, or visit us online to request more information.