Best Online Colleges

Best Online Colleges in 2020

Looking to further your education?


The Advantages of Online Colleges

Thanks to advancing technology, online education is more interactive and social than ever. Not only that but today online learning has opened the doors to a variety of degree programs and alternatives to traditional higher education. And it’s only getting better.

Here’s the thing—if you’re looking into online programs, there’s more to it than merely considering online college vs traditional college. Online learning can mean associate, bachelor, or master’s degree programs. Or it can mean getting a certificate to upgrade your skills.

Regardless, it’s essential to check school rankings among other things when you’re deciding where to get your online degree.

Whether you’re just starting your college journey or looking to further your education, it’s time to explore everything you need to know about attending an online college.

What Are the Best Online Colleges?

There are hundreds of excellent online colleges to choose from today. A school search results for “best colleges online for a business degree” will yield results for a variety of university programs. In fact, your state university is likely to have an online program.

Take a look at all that Purdue University Global has to offer, for example. The online degree programs that this online university offers range from online bachelor’s programs in science, business, and information technology to nursing, as well as bachelor’s degrees in social sciences.

Nowadays, there’s a strong focus on online education due to modern-day challenges. Yet, online learning has always been a popular choice for many students around the world.

For starters, it’s often a much cheaper alternative to attending a traditional university. An online Bachelor’s degree costs as little as $38,000 compared to the $60,000 dollars per year you could expect to pay at a private college.
Apart from costs, many students find that online learning fits in better with their daily schedules. Plus, they have the opportunity to get out into the job market at the same time.

Find out more about the pros and cons of online schools if you’re keen to further your education and grow your career.

Ohio State University, Columbus

This university holds the number one spot for bachelor’s program distance learning according to US News Best Online Programs Rankings. They’ve been offering the option for online study since 2008.  There are currently over 40-degree programs available from Ohio state.

The most popular ones are:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
  • Dental Hygiene Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program

The university offers rolling application dates, so spots fill up closer to the deadline. There is no time restriction for completing your degree, and most students graduate within 6 years. Ohio State offers both institutional and federal aid for students. This university only accepts applications from US citizens. There aren’t any high school GPA criteria for admission.

The University of Florida, Gainesville

The University of Florida is well-established and added online education to its portfolio in 2014. UF is also one of the most affordable online colleges available to undergraduate students. Learners have the option to study full time or part-time and can choose from over 25 majors as well as minors and certificate courses.

In total, the university offers over 200 programs for students to choose from. The University of Florida offers a wide range of courses for distance learning students.

The most popular ones are:

  • Business administration and management
  • Computer science
  • Fire and emergency services
  • Psychology
  • Communication sciences

The university is open to students from anywhere in the world and offers financial aid packages to assist US students.

Peirce College, Philadelphia

Peirce College is Pennsylvania’s only non-traditional higher learning institution. It offers over 25 programs and 11 online bachelor’s degrees.  Online students pay the same rates for tuition as on-campus students. You can also apply for scholarships, grants, loans, and federal aid programs when you study with Peirce.

Students may also receive credit for previous experience, prior training, or military service. You’ll need a high school diploma with a 2.0 GPA in college-level English and mathematics to enroll with Peirce. Otherwise, you can complete a placement exam.

Some of the most popular courses include BSC degrees in criminal justice, technology management, and healthcare administration.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Saint Mary of the Woods

Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods opened its doors in 1840 as a Catholic college for women only. It was one of the first universities worldwide to implement distance learning when it introduced the Women’s External Degree Program in 1973.

During 2005, SMWC started offering online classes and simultaneously opened its doors to men for the first time. Saint Mary’s is also one of only 20 colleges in the US to offer a Bachelor of Science in equine studies.

SMWC offers 25 bachelor’s programs online, including majors in nursing, business administration, information technology, and healthcare administration.

All online students pay the same tuition fees regardless of where they live.  International students are welcome to apply to this university. Saint Mary’s offers financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and military benefits.

The University of Illinois at Springfield, Springfield

UIS offers over 50 online degree programs, including 14 bachelor’s degrees.

These include:

  • Mathematical sciences
  • Management information systems
  • Health care informatics
  • Teacher education
  • Business administration

Online students may apply on multiple start dates, and classes run for both full and half semesters.  That is another affordable option for distance learning, and you pay less for online tuition than for on-campus programs. Unfortunately, this university doesn’t offer financial aid for online students.

The school’s career development center offers resume critiques, career counseling appointments, and test preparation, among other valuable services.  You’ll need a high school diploma or a GED credential to apply for this university.

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater

Oklahoma State University has been up and running since 1890 and currently runs more than 200 programs for its on-campus students. The university also offers over 20 online degrees to accommodate working professionals and those who prefer distance learning.

Their current offering includes human sciences, nursing, and business administration, among others. Students may commence their studies in the fall, spring, and summer with the option of eight-week or full-semester courses.  For admission to this university, you need a high school diploma and a minimum GPA of 3.0 and influential ACT and SAT scores.

Trine University, Fort Wayne

Trine University offers a range of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in four academic areas.

These are:

  • Communication, Justice, and Psychology
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Leadership and Healthcare
  • Business Administration

The university offers many advantages for online students, including an academic advisor and custom online software. You’ll also get free access to Microsoft Office. The university also provides some financial aid awards to online students, which you can spend covering hardware and software if desired.

The university doesn’t offer institutional aid for tuition fees. However, there are financial aid counselors to hand to help you apply for federal and private financial assistance. You need a high school diploma or GED certificate to qualify for admission.

Colorado State University, Global Campus

Colorado State University offers convenient monthly start dates. That means they’re an appealing choice for those who are keen to start their online learning journey as soon as possible.  The university offers master’s degrees in professional accounting and finance. You can study towards a bachelor’s degree in accounting and criminal justice via online learning too.

Online students benefit from several unique resource guides at Colorado State. These include writing assistance, tech support, and tutoring.  Each student can also access career navigation services. These assist them in creating a persuasive and compelling job profile. The university offers several scholarship opportunities for online students too.
To qualify for study at this university, you need high school transcripts or GED scores.

Arizona State University, Scottsdale

With ASU Online, you can choose from dozens of undergraduate and graduate programs. That is one of the top accredited universities offering seven programs for those wanting to study medicine. It’s also the right choice for those interested in business studies.

According to the university, 87% of recent graduates had job offers within 90 days of graduating. Some of the perks of studying with ASU Online include an app to stay in touch with professors and advisors, as well as virtual career workshops.

Tuition varies according to the degree you’re studying, and fees are higher per semester for out-of-state students. ASU offers institutional and departmental scholarships for all new students. The university accepts GED scores but prefers students to have a high school GPA of at least 3.0.

Northeastern University, Boston

You’ll find over 80 fully online programs up for grabs at Northeastern Online. If you already have an associate degree, you can complete your bachelor’s in several fields of study. These include digital communication and media, health management, analytics, and more.

The university offers specialized resources for veterans, such as the Yellow Ribbon Program. It also provides a virtual tutoring center and a virtual writing center for online students.

You won’t need to submit ACT or SAT scores when you apply at Northeastern, but you do need a GED certificate or high school diploma. All students pay the same tuition fees and may apply for renewable institutional scholarships up to $10,000.

Texas Tech University, Lubbock

Online degrees and coursework from TTU include the option to study online full time or spend some of your time on campus. Texas Tech offers a wide range of non-traditional degrees.

Some of the more unusual things you can study at TTU is a BSC in wind energy or an associate degree in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management.  Some of the student resources available at TTU include information on useful topics. These include financial aid, IT troubleshooting, and other issues to help you thrive. You can get in touch with a student advisor at any time during business hours.

When you apply for your first year at Texas Tech, you’ll need high school transcripts, a GED certificate, and ACT or SAT scores.  Some of the scholarships available include the Presidential Merit Scholarship. This scholarship covers your full tuition and depends on the merit of your standardized test scores.

LeTourneau University, Longview, TX

LETU offers over two dozen online programs for both undergraduate and graduate studies. The Bachelor of Business Administration degree alone offers four different areas of specialization.  You can also study towards degrees in healthcare management and engineering here. Career-orientated associate degrees are another option when you consider online with LeTourneau.

This online school offers intensive support for students. You can take advantage of online citation guides and online tutoring. There are also great resources available to help you cope with stress and time-management.  LETU offers three different types of scholarships for online learners.

Other Online Study Options

If you’re interested in coursework and more practical areas of study, you have options. Many reputable online platforms are offering informative and useful certificates and diplomas.  These are great tools if you’re already employed and looking for ways to improve your knowledge and skills during your spare time. Adding extra courses to your resume will impress future employers and could even lead to a promotion at work.

Some of the most useful courses to study online include:

  • Information Technology
  • Digital Marketing
  • Teaching

You can also use online courses to hone your existing skills, such as writing. This can lead to an income-generating side gig like blogging or affiliate marketing.

Deal with the Present and Focus on the Future

Online schools may seem like a huge expense right now, but your efforts will pay off over time. Don’t let your current situation get you down.  Keep browsing our site for more information on how to lower your bills and save money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn the online college basics

How do online colleges work?

Distance education and online classes are the same as traditional college classes insofar as the information that you’ll learn. The difference is in the teaching models because distance learning isn’t a face-to-face activity.

To answer the question, how do online classes work—An online classroom is generally set up in modules which represent weeks in the term. Depending on the program you choose, you’ll watch video lectures, participate in exercises utilizing a variety of technology, and turn in weekly assignments.

The course work is a combination of online journal entries, discussion boards, assigned reading, papers, and quizzes. You’ll also have opportunities to apply what you’ve learned, depending on your major. For example, if you’re getting an online degree in digital film production, you’ll likely produce a short film for your capstone project.

Are online colleges accredited?

Of course, the first thing everyone wonders is—are online colleges legit? Like everything, some are and some aren’t. That’s why you need a list of criteria to help you determine which online education opportunities will work best for you.

The degree programs you choose from must be accredited to ensure educational standards that meet federal and state requirements for the academic program. Enrolling in online education with an accredited program means that you can rest assured you’re going to get a good education.

However, accreditation isn’t all there is to it.

You need to find online courses that work for you. To that end, think about what you’re looking for in your online degree. Do you want a certificate, two-year, or four-year degree? These are all options in online education.

Are online colleges easier?

The simple answer is no. Online students must be self-motivated. Some students need that face-to-face interaction they get from a classroom as much as they need supervision from their instructors.

What kind of student are you?

It’s important to understand your style of learning to be a successful online student. You must find ways to stay motivated in your courses. Of course, if you’re studying something that you’re passionate about, it’s much easier to complete your work.

And if you need interaction, you’ll be happy to know that the best online college programs include discussion boards in which you can interact with both the professor and classmates. As far as keeping yourself accountable, if you need others to help with that aspect, you can join a variety of online study groups, motivational groups, and message boards.

Don’t discount getting an online education because it’s out of your comfort zone. Instead, find ways to rise up to the challenge and learn something valuable.

What's the difference in coursework between online and traditional classes?

Online classes work on a weekly schedule because distance learning works best with deadlines to keep students accountable. You’ll receive a list of course materials that you’ll need for the class. Depending on the learning programs, the things that are required for your course, in addition to books, will likely be software and technology.

When it comes to online college vs. traditional college, the biggest difference is in the technology you’ll use online. And if you think about it, that in itself gives you a competitive advantage in the workforce today. You’ll learn how to develop presentations using software such as PowerPoint and Canva—and so much more.

You might use a pen and notebook, but that’s a matter of choice.

How can you be a successful online college student?

The best way to be one of the successful online students is to utilize support services. In addition to offering an online library with access to millions of journals, research papers, and industry publications an online college also offers a host of other support services. There are writing groups to help with papers and math groups to get you through college math.

What’s more—you’ll likely contact technical support at least once when you’re getting started.

Don’t be hesitant to use these services. Sometimes doing well on a test or simulation can be something as simple as clearing your cookies or making a quick update.

Of course, it’s vital to have a dependable internet connection. Not only that, but it also doesn’t hurt to have a backup way to get online in an emergency.

How do you apply for online college?

Most online colleges offer resource guides to help you get started. The best way to find out how to apply for the online college that you want to attend is to request information. You’ll fill out a form online and answer questions such as your academic interest, the program that you’d like to attend, and degree level.

The college will send information, and at that point, you’ll have a contact who can answer more questions for you. You may need to write a college entrance essay, take an exam, or perform some other activity to demonstrate your ability to be successful in the program.

The next step is to find out how much it will cost to attend and what kind of financial aid is available. One of the advantages of online education is the ability to take care of all these details at home.

Like traditional college, attending an online college requires good budgeting to afford you the opportunity to spend time on your classwork. You may need to adjust your work schedule to keep up on courses. Similarly, there are often tools and equipment needed for the degree, and there are always books to purchase.

Pro tip: Ebooks are real cost savings to buying a physical book.

If you’re questioning—is online college cheaper than traditional college, the answer is that it’s a combination of tuition rates and supplies. You also must consider other expenses such as paying for the internet and electricity. As with traditional colleges, state colleges online tend to be less expensive than private colleges.

Is there financial aid for online college?

You have the same opportunities to get financial aid to attend an accredited online university as you would, to go to school on a physical campus. It’s even possible to get a free education if you meet income guidelines for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or qualify for any number of other financial aid programs for low-income students.

If you’ve attended college previously and are considering returning to update your skills, you may also think about refinancing your student loans. Make sure you know what kind of loan that you’re refinancing. If it came from the government, you may want to leave it as is rather than risk losing the benefits of government funding.

For one, government student loans go into a grace period while you’re attending classes. Not only that, but you may also qualify for other scholarships. Make sure to take with your school’s financial aid advisor to get ideas on ways to fund your education.

Additionally, there are scholarship resources online for women, such as the Adobe Research Women in Technology Scholarship. Also, check out Unigo’s $10,000 scholarship award for a short 250 word or less essay that’s available to people who are thirteen or older, residents of the U.S. or the District of Columbia, and are currently enrolled in an accredited college.

With a little research, you’ll find there are many scholarships available for online students in a variety of fields and from a variety of backgrounds.

What are pros and cons of online colleges?

While each school has its ins and outs, there are some drawbacks common to them all.

Firstly, if you struggle with self-discipline or time-management, you’ll struggle with online learning.  If you’re the kind of student who thrives on one-on-one interaction with your teachers and peers, online education probably isn’t for you.  Are you already working, or want to add to an existing qualification to your resume? An online school could be the perfect fit for you. Flexible time constraints mean you can fit your other commitments into your schedule.

You don’t need to live anywhere near the college or university of your choice. You can even achieve your qualifications from a reputable foreign university if you want to. If you’re serious about bettering yourself and your career prospects, read on.