As with most social media networks, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Facebook is connecting with friends and chatting online. However, this valuable tool can be used effectively to do far more. Facebook users have found creative ways to use the network to their advantage.
From advertising goods and services to networking for jobs, Facebook has become a popular platform for professionals. Thinking of studying online? Here are some ways in which you can use Facebook to find the best online college.
Make a Post about Your Plans
The most basic way in which you can use Facebook to choose the best online college is by making a public post of your intention to study online – use this post to seek out ideas from your friends. Ask about their experiences, both positive and negative. And finally, ask them to share your post.
You may be surprised with the amount of feedback you will rake in from the act of simply making a post. If you’re lucky, your post will go viral and you will get all the information that you need to make the best choice.
Visit the Facebook Page of Online Colleges
Almost all online colleges have a Facebook page. You can use this to your advantage to find as much information about the college as you want. You can find out about the courses offered, the procedure to join the program, and how everything else works. You will also be able to learn about past, present, and upcoming events. Be sure to go through the comments made by others; you can learn a lot from them.
Additionally, if you’re lucky, they will have a review section. Go through and critically analyze each review. You can also try to contact the individuals who made the reviews for first-hand experience.
Network with Current Students and Alumni
If you want a true reflection of something, there is no better way to get it than by going to the source itself. In this case, the source is the students who have studied at these colleges in the past as well as current students. You can find them online by searching the college’s Facebook page.
Please note that if you are to get any valuable information out of these students, your approach will be important. Avoid any form of aggression. Be friendly and state your intentions upfront. The last thing you want is for someone to think that you are hounding them.
Contact the College Directly
Apart from snooping around their Facebook page, you also have the liberty of using Facebook to contact the college directly with any questions or queries that you may have. This is another good way to get firsthand information that you can later compare before you make your choice.
Assess Their Level of Engagement
You can learn a lot about a college from its level of engagement with current and prospective students. For an online college to be effective, there must be a high level of online engagement. Check out their response time after you try to reach out to them. If the administrators take long to respond or do not respond at all, chances are you’ll have similar issues when you actually enroll in the college.
Colleges that create avenues to reach out to their current and prospective students and meaningfully engage with them are better choices.
How to Spot Red Flags
With the growing number of internet scams out there, students need to be extra careful when choosing online colleges. Make sure that the college is legitimate and not just another online rip-off.
Here are some red flags that will help you identify online scams to prevent being duped.
- It Seems Too Easy
Most of the time, if it is too good to be true, then it’s usually not true. This fact holds true when it comes to online degrees. Any college that promises that you can acquire a degree within an unusually short period of time and with little effort is most likely a scam. Whether you are studying online or face to face, a degree requires time and effort.
- Shady Accreditation
Accreditation is extremely important – without it your degree will have little value. It tells you that your degree lives up to certain academic standards. Illegitimate colleges will have shady accreditation; if no accreditation is listed, then it’s definitely a no-no. However, if they do have it listed, you still need to verify it – good scammers will list false accreditation.
Use this College Navigator tool to check out information about the schools on your radar.
- Upfront Payments
If the program puts pressure on you to pay a substantial amount of money in fees before you actually start the program, this is usually a reason to be suspicious. Legitimate programs will require you to pay by semester and will even offer alternative payment plans.
- Absence of an Address
Although the program is online, there should be a campus or business address available. If such information is not available, it’s definitely cause for suspicion. An email address is enough to prove their legitimacy.
- Aggressive Salespeople
If after you express an interest in the college, you come across individuals who are overly aggressive in convincing you to sign up – be careful. While there is no harm in following up on indicated interest, it should never reach the point where they are literally begging you to enroll.
Facebook Can Help
Facebook can definitely be useful in guiding your choice of an online college. With patience and dedication, you will be successful at choosing the perfect online college.