Few decisions are as intimidating as choosing the right bachelors degree program.

Say you have already decided on the career that you would like to pursue. Now you have to decide which school to go to, how to get in, how will you pay for it, how long will it take, and if it will all be worth it in the end. These are questions that you should not take lightly. Thorough research and consideration of all the important factors in a degree program will impact your life before, during, and after your degree-seeking endeavors.

choosing bachelors degreeMake Sure It’s Accredited

First of all, one must keep in mind that not all schools are created equal. Each school has its strengths and weaknesses. Also, within each school, there might be some bachelor’s programs that are better than others. For example, their nursing program might not be as strong as their engineering or elementary education degrees. Maybe the computer science department has a strong information systems degree but is not so strong in the web design area. The best way to know if a school will have a program that will be strong enough to get you a job after your graduation is to check its accreditation.

Accreditation is a ranking system that is determined by the U.S. Department of Education. This department is required, by law, as a public service to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. This quality will be determined by faculty and student reputations. You can look and check your prospective school’s status by going to the U.S. Department of Education’s database.

Warning: Do NOT enroll at a school that cannot prove that it is accredited. This basically means that any degree or certificate earned at such an institution will not be recognized by other s or employers. It would be worthless.

Check Out the Price Tag

Another important factor to consider when choosing the best bachelor’s degree is the cost. Some schools will charge you for each credit that you take (most college degrees will require about 120-140 credit hours for each major) while others will have a full-time status that will cost a minimum amount and allow you to take as many credits as you can during a semester or term. Tuition varies from one college to the next, sometimes by tens of thousands of dollars. You’ll want to keep a close eye on these figures as you try to decide which is best for you.

Doing the Time

Along with the cost, you will have to consider the factor of the time that you will have to put in. Most bachelor’s degrees take about three to four years to complete. These could be done on campus or online, depending on the school that you choose to attend. If you are going to attend school full time, will you have to be able to commit to several hours of class time and homework, research, etc, per week? This would allow you to finish faster and might be a bit cheaper in the long run, but this might not be a possibility for those who need to provide an income while pursuing their degrees.

If you can only go part time, this will take longer and you might have to pay for each credit individually. However, it might allow you the freedom to work and provide for your living expenses at the same time. You might even consider working a part-time job in the field that you are studying, which will give you vital work experience needed to get the job you desire after graduation.

Make It Match

You are seeking a bachelor’s degree to further your career. This implies that you have some specific career goals in mind as you start this adventure. Matching your career goals with a bachelor’s degree program will be vital to turning your degree into a career advantage. Usually, this means you need to do your homework.

What type of homework? Look into what each school does well. Google makes it easy to see which schools are most highly ranked in each field. This makes it simple to narrow down the thousands of colleges out there to a handful that you can then research more closely. Check out who does best in supporting their students and placing them in good jobs at graduation. Find out who has a culture that will support your tastes. All of these things can help you evaluate your choices and get closer to the perfect fit for you.

Don’t be afraid to walk away from even the most prestigious university if it doesn’t fit your career goals.

Everyone Just Wants to Be Accepted

Finally, the factor that will make your bachelor’s degree a reality is actual gaining admittance into the school you have decided is the best fit for you. The schools with better reputations will have a more selective enrollment. They might require a certain minimum score on college entrance exams like the ACT or the SAT. They might also require an application process where you will have to pay a fee, write an essay, and have several letters of recommendations to make you stand out as a candidate. These type of schools will have a higher accreditation but, obviously, make it more difficult to gain acceptance.

There are some colleges and university that do not require such an intense application process. In fact, some schools simply require you to pay tuition to be accepted. These schools may have a lower accreditation but will get you the degree that you want without the hassle of an application process.

In the end, the process of choosing a bachelor’s degree program is a series of tradeoffs. Do you take the easier admissions process to ensure that you get admitted? Or do you take on a more difficult application process in hopes of going to a more desired school?

Choices, choices.

If you are seriously considering a bachelor’s degree, these choices are going to cross your path sometime. Taking the time to research and examine your options will allow you to get the most success for your time and money.

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