ACCREDITATION ONLINE COLLEGES
If you’re considering online colleges, you have many school options available to you. Browse our list of fully accredited, U.S.-based colleges offering quality education in a broad variety of subject areas that can lead you to your next rewarding career. Below our school listings, learn more about the basics of online education, including how to find a match among the different types of college and learning styles offered by degree programs.
Best Online Colleges for 2018
Online two-year and four-year colleges represent some of the most affordable ways to enter higher education. Academic programs at the two-year level provide a solid foundation in the liberal arts and basics within certain major paths. Vocational programs take a more career-oriented track, helping students acquire specific skills they can apply on the job day one. Beyond the material itself, many junior and community colleges and universities have embraced online learning, opening their doors to a more inclusive student body – from working professionals and stay-at-home parents to those who may not be able to commute to a physical campus. The following two-year and four-year colleges offer some of the best combinations of online program volume, breadth, and affordability available today. See who stands out for 2018.
Harvard University, a private Ivy League university in Cambridge, Mass., is the top-ranked online college of 2018 due to the high-quality education it provides to students in its 41 online programs. Students enrolled in Harvard’s distance learning programs have access to all the same benefits as their on-campus peers, including counseling services, academic advising, financial aid and tutoring assistance. Just like many of Harvard’s traditional courses, many online classes are transferable to other colleges and universities, giving students the chance to complete their education at whichever location they are most comfortable with. For students enrolled in programs requiring on-campus participation, the Harvard Extension School provides degree, certificate and professional programs in a hybrid format, allowing some credits to still be completed online. For students not pursuing a full degree, Harvard Online Learning offers many free courses open to the public.
Presbyterian College, a Christian institution based in Clinton, S.C., with a reputation for academic rigor, offers a large array of programs online. The school’s ethos is around educating the whole person, which translates into an emphasis on critical thinking and communication in its online courses. Courses are offered in a number of different areas, including unique language courses like Greek and Hebrew. The school’s undergraduate offerings include degrees across 42 majors and nine pre-professional programs, while its graduate school focuses on medical fields. While many students enroll at Presby because it’s one of the best colleges for a Christian-based education, there are numerous courses unrelated to the Bible or theology. Regardless of a prospective student’s religious background, the online courses offered at Presbyterian College are carefully constructed to give all students the knowledge they need for their professional career.
Drexel UniversityDrexel University is a private research university in Pennsylvania that currently enrolls over 24,000 students. Drexel students have the opportunity to complete their degree on campus or through a variety of online courses. The online university programs offer the same educational opportunities to students as the campus programs, including financial aid, academic advising, 24/7 tech support and career resources. Students pursuing an online degree from Drexel are instructed by the same prestigious faculty as their on-campus peers. Through Drexel’s Online Partnerships program, working professionals at more than 500 companies can benefit from reduced tuition rates to pursue their degree without leaving their current job.
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University is a well-known elite research university, but it’s not well-known that several degree programs may be completed without attending the school’s Baltimore, Md., campus. In addition, JHU offers dozens of classes online that can supplement traditional in-person courses as part of a degree program. The breadth of options available to online learners is just one aspect of what makes Johns Hopkins one of the best options for online college. Some of its courses and credits are even free and available for all students regardless of enrollment. The JHU admissions office is willing to work with any incoming transfer student to find any applicable areas for transfer credit to be utilized.
Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University is a large public university in Flagstaff, Ariz., with a strong reputation in its online offerings. With degree programs available at the bachelor’s and master’s levels, students who do study online are able to work toward their degrees while receiving the same quality education they would get on-campus at NAU. The school offers an innovative Personalized Learning program, where students pay a flat subscription rate over 6 months, with no additional fees, not even for books -- an attractive option for many students whose employers are picking up the tuition tab. Students at NAU also benefit from the school’s focus on career readiness in all its degree programs.
Mary Baldwin University
Mary Baldwin University -- a smaller, private liberal arts institution in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley -- has cultivated a niche in helping professional adults earn their degrees later in life. Mary Baldwin’s online courses and programs can help students move forward in their careers without making sacrifices to other obligations. MBU’s online degrees are a popular option with many students due to the university’s credit transfer policy: Mary Baldwin allows transfer of up to 90 credit hours, cutting into the cost of earning a degree.
Southern New Hampshire University
With over 200 degree programs offered online by Southern New Hampshire University, it’s easy to see why many consider it one of the best online colleges for students looking to improve their careers. Each online degree program is designed to help students improve or change their current professional position. With the aid of affordable tuition and the flexibility to study at their own pace, students find that SNHU not only meets their expectations, but offers more than they thought an online school might: they also get access to the large SNHU alumni network, which can help them secure a new job after graduation. SNHU is among the best online schools in terms of services available to virtual students, which include an online library, tutoring and around-the-clock support.
Many students find that the best online colleges are the ones that allow them to study at their own pace – even if that means completing a degree faster than normal. Concordia University, Wisconsin does just that with their accelerated learning programs, allowing online students to study at a faster pace. For students who have a busy schedule and prefer to study at a more traditional pace, there are over 50 different online degree options offered by Concordia. Concordia is also one of the best online schools in terms of transferring credits, including military and work-related experience. Students can study toward a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or, in some instances both, such as with the RN to MSN program that accelerates nurses to a master’s degree.
Indiana Wesleyan University
At Indiana Wesleyan University, students can receive an affordable and convenient education via the school’s online degree programs. By taking advantage of one of Indiana Wesleyan’s online programs, students will be able to complete their academics at a pace with which they are comfortable. Just like their on-campus peers, online students have several opportunities to receive financial aid to make earning a college education a less stressful pursuit. Online students will also receive all necessary support from the Indiana Wesleyan University faculty and staff. Faculty members have several years of experience in teaching online courses and are prepared to help all incoming online students reach their goals. IWU offers all students a generous credit transfer policy and has degree completion programs which can help students finish their bachelor’s degrees in as little as 10 months.
Columbia University in the City of New York
Graduate students may be interested in continuing their education with an online program offered at Columbia University in the City of New York. The school’s online programs lead to either a master’s degree or a graduate level certificate of professional achievement, and the Columbia also offers many free learning opportunities through MOOCs and other online programs. Online students who wish to integrate with their campus community may wish to consider studying in a hybrid format, which will allow the student to spend half of their time at home and the other half on the Columbia University Campus. Hybrid students will have more schedule flexibility, as well as the option to participate in campus clubs and organizations.