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 How Do Online Colleges Work? Online colleges offer many advantages over traditional schools. Here’s how they work.

Students go through the admissions process.

Students who want to start their college education online have options when it comes to admissions. While traditional colleges may require students to submit a transcript and letters of recommendation, an online college might allow you to complete this process in-person or by mail.

If you’re considering attending an online college, you can expect the admissions process to be more flexible than at a traditional school. Whereas most brick-and-mortar institutions are limited by physical space and resources, online programs don’t have these limitations—they can accept as many applications as they want without needing additional classrooms or dorms.

In addition, there’s no shortage of aspiring students applying for spots at traditional schools; therefore competition is fierce! But if your dream school has no room left for new students because it’s reached capacity (or because those spaces were reserved for legacy applicants), then check out some of our top picks among our list of best value colleges below:

Students start the program by choosing their courses.

Once you are accepted into your program, it’s time to decide what courses you want to take. You can take as many or as few courses as you want. If you’re looking for a degree and want to graduate faster, it’s best to select more classes per term/semester. Some employers will require certain classes in order for their employees to advance within the company or earn a promotion. It’s also important that any classes selected are relevant and helpful toward achieving your goals in life—whether they be getting an A+ on this test next week, scoring that new job at Google tomorrow, or even just learning how to build computers once and for all (yes, we know).

Students complete their courses at their own pace, according to deadlines set by the school.

Whether it’s a course in finance or marketing, students at online colleges take the courses at their own pace. The classes are self-paced and can be completed at any time of day, so there is no need to worry about missing class due to work responsibilities or other factors. Students are able to complete the course on their own schedule and within the deadline set by their school.

Students receive grades and official transcripts.

When you enroll in an online college, you are assigned a personal academic advisor who can help guide your studies. You’ll also be able to access the course catalog and schedule your classes on a secure portal. This portal is where all grades, transcripts and other important documents are stored.

If you’re looking for official transcripts of your work at the school, these are available on the school’s website as well as through email for no charge. School transcripts show all coursework completed by students and their final grades from each semester or term spent at that institution. Students may choose to have their transcript sent either electronically or printed out as hard copy versions that they can keep in their files or refer to later when applying for jobs or graduate programs.

Online colleges provide an alternative way to get a degree, with many advantages for students.

Online colleges offer a flexible learning environment, which is a big advantage for students. Most online colleges allow students to take classes at their own pace and from wherever they choose. This means that you can go back and forth between class and your job or family life without having to worry about missing deadlines or falling behind in your studies. While this option may not be right for everyone, it’s worth considering if you’re looking for a way to balance your life with schoolwork.

When compared with traditional colleges and universities, online schools tend to have lower tuition costs since there are no building costs associated with renting classroom space or maintaining on-site facilities such as gyms or libraries (although some online institutions do charge additional fees).

Top Best Online Colleges

 These top online colleges may be just what you’re looking for:

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution founded in 1932. The university offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through its five campus sites located in Manchester, Nashua, Concord and Londonderry. Southern New Hampshire University has more than 30,000 students enrolled with most of them living on campus for at least two years before graduating.

Post University

Post University is a private, non-profit university with campuses in Connecticut and online. The university has more than 100 degree programs offered throughout its three colleges: the College of Arts & Sciences; School of Business; School of Education and Professional Studies. Post has been recognized as one of the “Best Northeastern Colleges” by Princeton Review and one of “America’s Best Colleges” by Forbes magazine for 16 consecutive years. The university serves more than 20,000 students through on-campus classes as well as online courses across its four locations: Waterbury Campus (Waterbury), Hartford Campus (Hartford), Danbury Campus (Danbury) and Exton Campus (Exton).

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global Campus is a public university that offers degrees in a variety of fields. The institution has over 80,000 students enrolled, with campuses located in the US and China.

Maryville University

Maryville University is a private institution located in St. Louis, Missouri. The university has an undergraduate student body of about 4,000 students and a graduate student body of 1,200 students. Maryville offers online courses for both undergraduate and graduate students with majors ranging from business to education to nursing.

University of Illinois at Springfield

The University of Illinois at Springfield is an accredited college. The school offers a variety of degrees and certificates, and provides students with many opportunities for research and career development.

Students can choose from four undergraduate degree programs: Biology, Business Administration (with concentrations in accounting or finance), Elementary Education K-6, and History; they can also earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies. Graduate students can pursue Master’s degrees in Biology or Business Administration with concentrations in accounting or finance; masters with specializations available include Occupational Therapy Assistant Studies (OTA), Occupational Therapy Management Services (OTMS), OTA Clinical Practice Experience Program; certificate programs are also offered online through Graduate Extension Center.

  • Accreditation/Licensing: The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission as well as approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education to award associate’s degrees.* Student Population: More than 12,000 students attend UI Springfield.* Online Degree Availability: Students may pursue one of five bachelor’s degrees online through this institution.* Student Services Available Online Through UIS: Counseling services for veterans and graduate students are available to all active duty military personnel enrolled at this school.* Tuition & Fees for Undergraduates Attending UIS on Campus vs Off Campus vs Distance Education (Distance education refers specifically to receiving instruction via distance learning).

In general tuition costs vary depending on whether courses are taken face-to-face or online; some colleges allow residents access while others do not charge them any fees at all

Drury University

Drury University is a private, non-profit, coeducational, residential liberal arts university. It has three campuses in Missouri and one in Arizona. The university offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and minors as well as master’s degrees in business administration, education and nursing. The university also offers graduate certificates through the College of Graduate Studies & Research.

Drury University was founded by Congregationalists in 1873 under the name Christian Female College at Carthage (Missouri). In 1924 it was renamed Drury College after Charles Drury who donated funds to build a new campus for the school that year. In 2003 it became Drury University when its name was changed from “College” to “University” by its board of trustees.

Northeastern University

Northeastern University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Northeastern is one of the oldest universities in the United States and the first established in Massachusetts.

Northeastern has nine colleges and offers 126 undergraduate degrees, 38 graduate degrees, 55 certificates and professional development programs. The university also offers joint doctoral programs with Harvard University; Tufts University; University of Pennsylvania; New York Medical College; Wellesley College; Brandeis International Business School at Babson Park; Lesley University and Dominican University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (DU).

Arizona State University

ASU is the largest public university in the United States by enrollment. The school was founded as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe on March 12, 1885, when Arizona was still a territory. In 1958, it became an autonomous institution under its current name and since then has expanded to include more than 200 graduate degree programs across 10 colleges and 90 research centers, institutes and labs.

ASU offers more than 434 bachelor’s degrees through 15 different undergraduate schools; approximately 400 master’s programs; over 100 doctoral programs; 11 law schools; 1 health college; 2 veterinary colleges, which offer DVM degrees only; 1 dental school for DDS or OD graduates only (no post-grad training); 1 Optometry school for OD graduates only (no post-grad training).

Western Governors University

  • Western Governors University is a great option for students who want to pursue a degree but are not sure what they want to study. WGU offers a variety of degree options, including professional certificates and bachelor’s degrees, which is helpful if you are unsure of what you want to do after graduation.
  • Students at WGU have access to many online resources such as tutoring services, academic advisors, and career coaches that can help them throughout their college experience. These resources are available by phone or email 24 hours a day/7 days per week so students can get assistance whenever they need it.
  • Western Governors University also provides affordable tuition rates compared to other online colleges because they do not charge any additional fees or application costs like many other schools do; instead, all students pay the same tuition rate regardless of where they live or how long it takes them complete their degree program (this means no more worrying about paying out-of-state tuition rates).

Excelsior College

Excelsior College is a private, non-profit institution that offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the health sciences, business, information technology and education. The college has over 100 campuses across the United States.


Online colleges have a lot to offer students who want to pursue higher education. They’re convenient, flexible, and affordable, and they allow students to work at their own pace while still receiving the same quality instruction as traditional college programs. Plus, with so many different schools offering online degree programs nowadays—including some that specialize in certain fields of study like nursing or criminal justice—it can be hard not to find something that fits perfectly with your career goals!