When Choosing an Online College or Degree Program, There Are 10 Things Undergrads Consider… Before Enrolling

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The National Center for Education Statistics says that 53% of all US college students were enrolled in at least one online course during the 2022-2023 academic year. Notably, that same year, 26% of all college students were enrolled in a fully online degree program.[1]

While this is down a bit from the Covid era, there are still a remarkably large number of college students who want to attend college fully online. But what are they looking for?

According to polling data accumulated by Statista, these are the top ten factors prospective students consider before enrolling in an online college.[2]

Of all undergrad prospects polled, 16% say “familiarity with the school” matters to them when deciding whether to attend or not.

16%: Nearly 1 in 5 undergrad prospects agree that “positive interactions with school staff” can make a big difference in enrollment choices.

17%: “Matching values and culture.” Prospective students want to be sure your online college has the same values as they do.

20%: Before enrolling, 20% of prospective online college students want to be assured the “quality of the faculty” is high.

21%: Prospects interested in enrolling say “favorable admissions requirements” matter to them. They want to be assured of acceptance.

21%: Although online college can be attended from just about anywhere, 21% say the school’s “proximity to home or work” matters to them.

28%: More than one in five prospective undergrads, even those interested in a fully online experience, will consider a school if they offer “blended learning.”

31%: Prospective students will choose a school if the “program offers the quickest path to acquiring a degree.”

39%: four out of ten students agree that the “reputation of the school or program” can affect their enrollment choices.

46%: The most often cited factor when it comes to choosing an online college is, not so surprisingly…  “Affordability.”

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[1] Online college enrollment continues post-pandemic decline (insidehighered.com)

[2] 50 Online Education Statistics: 2024 Data on Higher Learning & Corporate Training | Research.com

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