Today, I’m going to be discussing five important factors to consider before enrolling in online universities and online colleges for an online business degree program. I know how confusing it can be trying to evaluate all the different online universities out there.
Luckily for you I’m going to cut through all the marketing mumbo jumbo and really shed light on the decision factors that actually matter. That way you know what to look for during your research process. So if you are ready let’s get to it.
Factors to Consider Before Enrolling in an Online Business Degree Program
Goals and Objectives
Step number one is to actually take a step back and really think about your long-term goals. What does your ideal career and business look like? Is it to become a marketing manager, an accountant, a financial advisor, a consultant, or maybe you want to start your own business one day?
There are a ton of different options; the point is that you first need to narrow down what interests you and what niche within businesses you like to specialize in. This will help you figure out which degree program best aligns with your personal goals. That way as you conduct your research, you can start to pinpoint what I call x-factors among all these different online universities in their degree programs.
By x-factors, I’m talking about the specific attributes offerings and curriculum that align with your objectives; so think different concentration options. Does the university offer an exact concentration for the field that you are most interested in? This could be finance, accounting, marketing, entrepreneurship, etc. How many elective credits are there as part of that degree track? That way you can really dig into the topic areas that you’re truly passionate about.
Are there any specific business related certifications that are integrated into the degree program? So you can further bolster your skills and resume or maybe your angle is to earn a master’s degree after completing your bachelor’s. In that case, you’ll likely want to check out online universities that offer an accelerated bachelor’s to master’s option.
Purdue University Global which is a popular national online university is a perfect example of this. Essentially, by earning a minimum grade in select courses you can gain entry into a shortened version of Purdue Global’s MBA program. That way you can complete both degrees in less time and at a lower cost than completing both separately. So the key takeaway here is that by thinking through your end goals and objectives ahead of time, it’ll help you recognize which programs might be a good fit for you and your career track down the road.
The next factor you should become familiar with when searching for the best online business degree program is admissions requirements in the application process. So online universities generally fall into one of two categories, either open enrollment or selective enrollment universities.
Selective Enrollment Universities
Selective enrollment schools are the more traditional types of universities that probably come to mind when you hear the word college. Think schools like University of Michigan, MIT, et cetera. These types of universities typically have stringent admission requirements. You’ll likely need a minimum GPA, a high SAT or ACT score and write a personal statement among some other requirements.
So if you have an exceptional academic background and you don’t mind going above and beyond in order to get accepted into a top-ranked business program, then you might want to direct your attention to selective enrollment schools. However, as you might imagine the acceptance rates at selective enrollment schools tend to be quite low. In other words, it’s difficult to get accepted even for students with impressive academic resumes.
Open Enrollment Universities
You might want to also consider open enrollment universities. These types of schools are typically a better fit for students who may not have the most sterling academic background or for people who may have been serving in the military or working full-time for the past few years and are now looking to go back to school.
This is because the only admission requirement depending on the program is that typically students just have a high school diploma or a GED. So if this type of school is a better match with your background or academic resume, I would suggest checking out Purdue University Global. I’ll be using them for example purposes throughout this article, since they are a popular national online university.
The third and quite possibly most important factor to consider is tuition cost. How much is an online bachelor’s degree in business going to cost and as you might imagine there are a few components to keep in mind here.
Tuition per Credit
The first thing I would do is look at the university’s tuition per credit rate and the number of credits required for graduation. Doing some quick math will give you a ballpark of the total cost to earn your business degree.
Typically, national online universities will require either 120 or 180 credits to graduate and then in terms of tuition it usually ranges from around $250 per credit on the low end all the way up to $550 or more per credit on the high. Though this of course depends on the schools that you’re considering as well as other factors like where you reside, whether you are an international student, a member of the military, et cetera.
Then on top of the standard tuition costs, online universities usually charge other fees and assessments as well that you’ll definitely want to investigate. This includes technology fees, transcript fees, learning assessments, graduation fees, etc. Sometimes, these extra costs can really add up, so it’s worth looking into prior to enrolling.
The last factor to consider when searching for the best online business degree programs is program format or in other words how these universities design their curriculum and schedule. Most online degree programs fall into one of three categories: short accelerated terms, traditional terms, and self-paced.
Short Accelerated Terms
In that first category of short accelerated terms are universities that operate off of five to six week terms which students take one course at a time or maybe in some cases two courses max. The pace of each course is pretty quick but the nice thing here is that you only have to focus on one class at a time and you don’t have to constantly switch between studying for three or four courses at once.
So if you are the type of student who struggles with multitasking or staying organized, then this type of program format might be a good fit for you assuming of course that you have the free time for an accelerated fast-moving schedule.
The second type of format is the more traditional type of college arrangement that you’re probably familiar with. I’m talking two to five classes per term that last anywhere from eight to twelve weeks; think quarter semester system. I would say the majority of online universities fall into this category.
Purdue University Global, for example, which I’ve already mentioned several times already follows this format. They offer 10-week terms in which each program requires a weekly commitment of around 15 to 18 hours on average. They have some helpful information on their website regarding how their courses and terms are structured so you can get a better feel for this type of traditional type of program format.
Self-Paced Learning Formats
Last up we have self-paced learning formats which seem to be gaining popularity over the last few years. Basically, with these types of degree programs you can take courses at your own pace and advance to the next course when you are ready. So if you want to tackle multiple courses at a time and fly through the degree program as quickly as possible, you can in as little as 16 to 18 months in some cases.
If you have other obligations like a full-time job or young kids at home when you only have a few hours per week that you can spare, you can slow things down and study at your own pace. So bottom line, if you are super busy or have a hectic schedule that’s constantly changing, this type of self-paced program might be ideal.
Sometimes there are schools that offer both types of degree formats, Purdue University Global, being one of them. You can earn your business degree following the traditional path that I just covered earlier where there are 10 week terms.
For select students, Purdue Global offers what they call their excel track which is a perfect example of the self-paced degree format where you are in the driver’s seat.
Final Thoughts on the Best Online Business Degree Programs
I know making a decision about something as important as your education can be nerve-wracking so I hope this was some helpful advice around online universities and gives you some solid tips for finding a business degree program that fits your specific goals budget and interest.
If you are interested in another degree area outside of business, be sure to check out the rest of our online bachelor’s degree programs. We have a ton of helpful articles related to online education.