A resource to help pick an online graduate program
When looking into an online graduate education program, many students are unsure of how to evaluate such programs. They know that the programs may be accredited, but interviewing graduates of the programs is generally not an option.
However, U.S. News and World Report has taken some of the guesswork out of the process. The publication conducted a survey of 252 schools across the country that offer online graduate programs. Now, potential students specifically looking into an online graduate program have a resource to help them.
In 2014, U.S. News and World Report sent out questionnaires
To complete the survey, U.S. News sent out questionnaires to regionally-accredited universities, both public and private, that have graduate programs. Then, the schools were asked if they would offer graduate programs through Internet-based programs in the 2014-2015 school year. Approximately 23 percent of the schools responded.
The website has a specific set of standards
U.S. News evaluated the schools based on student engagement (35% of the score), student services and technology (20%), admission standards (15%), faculty credentials and training (15%) and the schools' reputation among their peers. Schools were asked to rate other schools' reputations in addition to filling out their own questionnaires.
Not every school made it into the survey
In some cases, the scores for some schools were not published because they had fewer than 10 rankings by their peers, meaning their competitors knew nothing about them or that the schools had not been in the online education field long. The programs whose scores were in the bottom 25 percent were labeled in the survey as “Rank Not Published.”
Schools were ranked by their scores in descending order
The schools were given an overall ranking, but their scores in the five categories were also given. For the peer reputation score, U.S. News combined the 2014 data with data collected in 2013 and 2012. Schools that were tied in overall ranking scores were given the same ranking in the survey. This easy-to-read survey may help potential online students make a decision about the graduate program that’s right for their needs.
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