Your College Shopping List Part #3: Quality Education

When you’re looking to choose a college, there are five questions you should ask.

1)     How will this college impact  my worldview?

2)     What opportunities does it offer?

3)     Does it have quality academics?

4)     What are the faculty like?

5)     Can I get involved in a local church?

 

 Quality Academics – A Fundamental College Requirement

It almost goes without saying that academic quality will be an important criterion for prospective college students. Colleges are schools of higher education, and are thus expected to be places of academic quality. For most students, college is the final stop on their long academic journey to the professional world. College, more than any other educational chapter, is designed to be a training ground for life. College is preparation. Therefore, students need to evaluate the academic caliber of whatever colleges they are considering.

One of the biggest indicators of the academic quality of an institution is its accreditation status. College accreditation is a status granted to an institution when it meets a set of criteria given by an accrediting organization. Accreditation is a way to ensure educational quality and adherence to academic standards.

There are a few different levels of accreditation, but the two most common are national accreditation and regional accreditation. National accreditation is typically given to non-traditional degree programs, such as career schools, trade schools, and some online schools. Regional accreditation is the most desirable form of accreditation a college can have. This type of accreditation is the most recognized and accepted in the United States. Generally, college credits or degrees from a regionally accredited college will be accepted by any other regionally accredited institution. Since each school is autonomous, acceptance is not necessarily guaranteed. However, a regionally accredited degree is the most recognizable degree possible in the U.S.

Regional accreditation offers many student benefits. Federal and state financial aid programs require that the school in question be accredited. Regional accreditation also allows the transfer and acceptance of college credit, and is a prerequisite for most graduate programs.

Accreditation is not the only factor that determines an institution’s academic quality, but it is certainly one the most important. College is a wonderful experience, but it requires a large investment of time, effort, and money. By attending a regionally accredited institution, you will give yourself the best chance of maximizing your educational experience and potential.