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Though for-profit colleges sometimes get a bad rap, it doesn't mean you should discount the opportunities they can present if you have the right situation. For-profit colleges can present good opportunities for some people, for example non-traditional students who are unable to attend in-person classes at a traditional educational institution.

Application process is less competitive

Online programs in general are typically less competitive because the college can take in more students. For-profit online degree programs are much the same, especially because the college is looking to make money, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, many for-profit schools have open admission, which means they admit anyone with a high school degree or GED, and sometimes other specific requirements. Keep in mind, though, that some nonprofit colleges have the same admissions process.

Be selective

It is very important to do extensive research concerning the quality of education from the online for-profit school you are thinking about attending. While some of these online schools can be great, others have been closed or shut down by the Federal Trade Commission due to financial problems and more stringent federal education regulations. Make sure to research the college's accreditation, interview professors and current students if possible, and visit the online college's physical location to decide for yourself.

However, some for-profit colleges offer great degree and certificate programs for students who are unable to attend a traditional college or want a more selective degree. For-profit colleges give students the opportunity for skill-based training they need for employment, without having to get a bachelor degree. Certificates, as well, that are offered by for-profit schools can be a great way for full-time workers looking to get a leg-up in their careers.  

Ask about their job placement program

If you are going to school for the first time and choose a for-profit online school, be sure to ask about their job placement programs and how many students are able to land a career shortly after graduation. In fact, this may be the most important factor when considering an online for-profit school.

Check for accreditation

No matter what, make sure that the school is accredited, either regionally or nationally. Regional accreditation means that the school has been evaluated for its quality by a regional agency in a specific state, which is recognized by the Department of Education. National accreditation means that the college has been evaluated by a CHEA approved national agency and is usually given to fully online schools and tech schools. Colleges can be accredited both regionally and nationally, so be sure to check the school's accreditation and also the value of that accreditation to employers and other educational institutions.

Ask potential employers their view of the online college you want to attend

If you know what degree or certificate you want to get and know potential employers in that industry, call those employers and ask their opinion on the online school you plan to attend. Some employers will have very strong feelings about for-profit online schools and some hire solely on a potential employee's skills and abilities. Ultimately, this is what matters when choosing a degree program and school.

The most important thing when choose any school to attend, whether a for-profit online college or a nonprofit in-person or online college is to research the quality of the education and skill-based training they offer. And this doesn't mean simply calling that institution and asking them, it also means looking online for reviews, calling potential employers, and finding out as much as you can about them. In the end, the choice is up to you.