You may hear the word accredited a lot when researching different colleges. This is because being an accredited college or university is very important. Anyone who goes to a school that is not accredited will have trouble transferring their credits or having an employer recognize that degree as legitimate. What is an accredited college and how do they become accredited?
The Process Of Becoming Accredited
Any school that offers college credit can become an accredited school. This is important if you are looking to go to school online. What accreditation does is show the student that the courses that they are taking are legitimate college courses that are at an advanced college level.
All schools go through a rigorous process to become accredited. A private accreditation agency will review each college and university in America to make sure that they meet minimum qualifications to become accredited. While some organizations offer accreditation for sale, it is not a legitimate way to gain this status.
For the most part, a school will gain accreditation based on its admission policies, financial aid packages and overall quality of the education provided. If your are currently in high school, your guidance counselor should be able to steer you toward schools that are accredited. Even if you are planning to go to an online school, they should have enough information to allow you to choose a legitimate college.
Why An Accredited College
Why an accredited college over a non-accredited college? Well, there are several differences between a college that offers accreditation versus a school that does not.
First, you may be going to a school that doesn’t offer courses that meet college-level requirements. This will not adequately prepare you for working world. Schools that are not accredited may be what is referred to as a diploma mill.
A diploma mill charges money to simply hand you a diploma. The catch is that most employers can tell if you got a degree from a diploma mill. You may think that you are putting one over on a potential employer. However, the only real loser is you.
Secondly, going to an accredited college can get you more money for school. State and federal aid may only be available to those who go to an accredited college.
How To Tell An Accredited College From A Non-Accredited College
It is really easy to tell if your college is accredited. All you have to do is ask. Most colleges will usually be upfront about their status as an accredited college. This is because having accreditation status is a very good thing.
If you are going to school onilne, you should certainly check to see if the school is accredited. This is because most diploma mills are based on the Internet. Anyone who is not convinced by what the school has to say can check with the USDE.
They are the final word on whether or not a school has been accredited. If accreditation status has been purchased or obtained illegitimately, it should be noted by the USDE. Students should certainly stay away from any school that does not gain its accreditation status legitimately.
Is A Non-Accredited College Always A Bad Choice
A non-accredited college is not always indicative of a diploma mill. It could be that the school is new or has simply not applied for accreditation. A lot of trade schools tend to lack accredited status. However, remember that you are not going to be able to transfer your credits to another school for the most part. Any financial aid that you get will most likely be in the form of private loans. Those loans can be very expensive compared to federal loans.
What is an accredited college? It is a school where you know what you are getting in terms of your quality of education. Students should spend as much time as it takes to verify that a school is accredited. This is because it impacts your financial aid and your ability to transfer credits in the future. For those who are thinking about going to school online, it is even more important to do so. Do not be the victim of a diploma mill scam when it is so easy to avoid.