How to Select an Online College: Where WGU Fits In – Part 3

Online University Checklist

This is the third in a three-part series on how to do your research in selecting an online college. Part 1 dealt with how to start your search, and part 2 listed some of the questions you should ask.

This week, we’ve been providing tips for researching online universities and making the decision that works best for your needs. Today, we’ll explain how WGU’s online degree programs work to help you determine if WGU is the right fit for you.

If you haven’t already, read Tuesday’s post about the first steps to choosing an online college and yesterday’s post about what questions you should ask.

Doing your research: What you’ll learn about WGU

When you do your research, you’re sure to find Western Governors University (WGU), the nonprofit online university created by 19 U.S. governors to increase higher education opportunities for working adults. Some quick facts about WGU:

  • WGU offers more than 50 online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in business, K–12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.
  • WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, one of the major accrediting commissions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, many programs at WGU—such as the WGU Teachers College and the nursing, health informatics, and information security and assurance programs—have received important discipline-specific accreditations.
  • WGU is a nonprofit university that receives no ongoing subsidies from state or federal government.
  • WGU offers competency-based learning, which allows you to move through course material at your own pace, completing courses as soon as you demonstrate your competence in the subject matter. Technology is used to provide you with 24/7 access to learning resources, and the faculty members serve as mentors, working with you individually to ensure that you succeed. If you have prior college and work experience, competency-based learning makes it possible to move quickly through material you already know so you can focus on what you still need to learn. Many students can accelerate and finish their degrees faster, saving both time and money.
  • At WGU, you’ll have an assigned faculty member, a mentor, who will work with you throughout your degree program, as well as support from mentors who are subject matter experts for individual courses. In the National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE), WGU students rated the support they received higher than the average of other institutions participating in the study, both online and traditional universities.
  • In addition to program-specific chat rooms, conference calls with other students, and external social media, WGU has recently introduced a student-only private Facebook community where students can meet others who are studying in their degree programs, who live nearby, or who share similar hobbies and interests.

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