5 Qualities of a Good Online Bachelor’s Degree Program

Online Bachelor’s Degree Program Qualities

  • Internship Opportunities
  • Programmatic Accreditation
  • Experiential Learning Labs and Projects
  • Responsive Professors
  • Credit for Job and Life Experiences

Earning a four-year degree is still an effective way to open doors to higher-paying jobs and careers, and there are more opportunities than ever before to earn a bachelor’s degree online. Candidates for online, four-year degree programs include working adults who want to start or finish degree programs after many years away from the classroom, recent high-school graduates who want to earn degrees from specific universities without moving out of state and students who just want more schedule flexibility while earning their degree.

The typical student who considers a four-year, online degree program usually wants a direct path to degree completion. They often prefer lean-learning curricula that eliminate material for which they are already familiar or that isn’t relevant to their specific career goals. Since they are not going through a degree program simply to check a box, they value online educational programs that deliver effective learning environments where they can develop tangible, measurable skills. Their ideal four-year, online degree program is one that gives them the tools they need to compete in the job market and to succeed in the workplace. Here are some features that good, online bachelor’s degree programs possess.

1. Internship Opportunities

A university-sponsored internship is a full or part-time job that offers relevant work experience, important networking opportunities and often pay. College majors which support career paths that require work experience for advanced degrees or licenses are enhanced most by internships. Some of these majors include social work, accounting and early childhood education.

2. Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation is a third-party endorsement of the quality and administration of a university program’s curriculum. Programmatic accreditation is important for college majors such as engineering, early childhood education and accounting because it allows for easier entrance into graduate degree programs. Completion of a four-year, accredited program is also a requirement for teaching certificates as well as the certified public accountant credential.

3. Experiential Learning Labs and Projects

Experiential learning is an instructional method that emphasizes hands-on demonstrations where students learn by actually doing realistic projects. It is a proven way to enforce concepts that have traditionally been taught as theory. Experiential learning is most useful to participants in engineering, business, environmental science and culinary arts programs.

4. Responsive Professors

While independence, self motivation and initiative are traits that all online degree students should possess, it is good for them to have the same support system that students have who attend physical classrooms. This means having knowledgeable faculty who make themselves available to students for questions, extended discussions and in-depth explanations of difficult concepts. A good online degree program can implement this with the use of teleconferencing technology during set office hours.

5. Credit for Job and Life Experiences

Some online degree program providers realize that their typical student comes to the digital classroom with years of on-the-job training, some management experience and maybe even some formal certifications. Excellent online degree programs seek to give students credit for their current skills by administering knowledge validation tests. A student who tests out of certain required coursework can save time and money while earning their degree. Some accredited online degree programs also give students credit for life experiences, according to The New York Times. However, the student must extensively document their specific experiences and the lessons they learned from. Subsequently, an academic committee evaluates their submitted portfolios according to guidelines that are generated by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

Related Resource: Cheapest Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

These five qualities of a good, four-year, online degree program is in no way all inclusive. Students who are serious about enrolling in an online bachelor’s degree program must compare the program’s offerings to their own unique academic needs and career goals.