College Accreditation: Things You Need To Know
Besides choosing the right college, university, or online graphic design college that is relevant to your specific major, selecting a college that is accredited should be at the top of your list.
What Is an Accredited College?
In the United States, accreditation is the process of reviewing various higher education institutions and programs in order to certify that a school is providing quality education.
Colleges, universities, or programs that are accredited means:
- Federal grants and loans are available for colleges that are accredited
- You can verify to your employers that the university degree or programs you attended were accredited
- You are receiving education that has been passed through stringent guidelines and standards
- Credits earned at accredited institutions are usually transferable to other accredited centers of learning
- An earned degree at a accredited college means your degree is usable and recognized as a qualified reference of your expertise in your field of study
Accreditation of colleges is done by private, nongovernmental organizations and agencies that are created for the specific task of reviewing higher education institutions and programs for quality.
These reviews are based upon high standards and guidelines as set forth by the accreditation body. Accredited colleges can show proof of their status.
There are only certain organizations that can accredit higher learning institutions. Those that are recognized have been passed by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the U.S. Department of Education, or by both institutions. A list of recognized accreditation organizations can be found by clicking here.
Why Accrediting Is Important
Some schools have good education programs but because they are not accredited, the degrees they offer are not recognized by employers or other accredited institutions of higher learning.
Accreditation offers a reference point for potential students to judge colleges by. Higher education institutions of learning must qualify and meet strict guidelines in order to receive this status.
Things to Ask When You Apply
There are 12 questions that should be considered when applying for the college or graphic design school of your choice concerning its accreditation. According to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation:
1. Is the course, program or institution accredited?
2. What are the standards of quality? Is there an available summary of the last review?
3. If the course, program, or institution is not accredited, is it certified for quality by another organization?
4. What external quality review is performed by this other organization and what are the standards? Is there a summary of the last review?
5. How can the organization that accredits or provides other types of external quality reviews be contacted?
6. Will other institutions accept the credits and courses earned?
7. Will other institutions count the credits and courses toward a degree?
8. Will graduate schools accept the credits and courses for admission?
9. Who decides toward what the credits or courses count? How can they be contacted?
10. Will employers accept the credits and courses earned?
11. Will employers acknowledge the credits and courses for upgrading, retraining and additional compensation?
12. Who should be contacted to learn what courses and credits an employer may accept?
Look Before You Leap
Your college years can be some of the best years of your life. You'll be able to receive the career training and degree you need to be competitive in qualifying for jobs upon graduation.
Make sure that the college, university, graphic design college or the programs are accredited.