We’ve all heard the stories about the Best Online Colleges. A small online college in New England, perhaps in Manchester, Massachusetts or some other out-of-the-way college, which has a great reputation and a solid program, gets the nod. Then, there are all the small regional colleges, many with less than a thousand students, which get a passing score from one publication or another. It’s a phenomenon that draws students like moths to a flame. And the students who are smart enough to know they’re getting into an online college, and not some run-down regular college, wind up paying more.

But why is it that the Best Online Colleges are always rated higher than their counterparts in community college or the state university system? In order to provide an objective assessment, we must look at the quality of the programs, of the coursework, of the student support services, and of the tuition rates. And we must also take into consideration, the quality of students who participate for charter school enrollment.

If you think of your choice of learning institution as providing a certificate program, or a certificate based on an industry job, you must also consider whether that particular approach would be well received in a traditional classroom, in which case, might it matter whether the course was offered by a solo-professional, or by a faculty-faculty partnership?

In our current economic climate, the Best Online College is rated very highly by students, who value an online degree program here, as much as a regular one. But does the quality of the program matter? In most states, a Best Online College can be seen as having high quality and therefore worthy of at least a “B” average from the Department of Education, even if it costs as much as a traditional campus. The fact is that for many students, the price of an online tuition is not the price of a good education – it is the price of not paying attention to something important, like family life. In today’s world, with so much television, with so much texting, with so many distractions, we need to focus – and we need to pay attention! That is what is most important, and online courses help people do that.

Don’t sacrifice your education just to save a few bucks. If you want to earn a “D” average, do it the right way. Find a school that’s accredited, has a good reputation, and offers reasonable online tuition rates. Then, put an actual heart into your educational future. Pursue your goal of becoming a physician, and don’t let “money” is a reason for not going after your dream.

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