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Is my degree accredited? what you need to know before enrolment

By SPONSORED
02 November 2021   |   9:00 am
If you are planning to join a university to study for a degree, most probably, you’ll encounter thousands of options that will make you question everything. Your primary inquiry should be the accreditation status of your degree. In other words, to investigate whether the university meets certain quality assurance standards before you join a programme.

Graduating with an accredited degree is highly respected and valued by employers who seek to recruit qualified candidates with the right skills and capabilities.

If you are planning to join a university to study for a degree, most probably, you’ll encounter thousands of options that will make you question everything. Your primary inquiry should be the accreditation status of your degree. In other words, to investigate whether the university meets certain quality assurance standards before you join a programme.

Understanding Accreditation for Higher Education
Accreditation is a quality assurance process that universities, colleges, and higher education institutions must go through to ensure that they adhere to a set of strict and well-defined criteria set by an external and authorised regulator. In most countries, the government appoints accrediting bodies that monitor regularly and provide a legal framework for universities to operate. In other cases, quasi-governmental or private agencies oversee the procedure and deliver the institutional accreditation. Accreditation authorities also have the right to perform periodic and unexpected checks to evaluate whether the universities commit to the standards.

Furthermore, all higher education institutions must be transparent regarding accreditation, as they might have the license to operate, but lacking in degree accreditations from official boards and jurisdictions.

Not All Accreditations Are the Same
Universities are aware that obtaining an official accreditation is a must, but what happens when they do not have the resources to meet the standard criteria? They seek shortcuts. University officials seek accreditation from private agencies with loose and flexible requirements or they secure a license as a university but have no programmatic accreditation. Therefore, you should also be aware of the credibility of such accreditation agencies and thus check if the university’s programmes are accredited by an appropriate regulator.

What Are the Consequences of Not Having an Accredited Degree?
Unfortunately, not all students comprehend how crucial it is to investigate the credibility of the schools they are planning to attend. These are the main reasons why you should be aware of the accreditation status of your degree:

Employers may dismiss or ignore your application if your qualifications are not accredited. Recruiters search the information about candidates’ education thoroughly before shortlisting.

Rejected from organisations to receive a scholarship for your studies. Scholarship committees are quite strict concerning student financing, as university accreditation is at the top of their list.

Poor student and learning experience due to insufficient school funding and resources. Accredited universities usually receive astronomical investments that they can invest in research, quality programmes, material, and technology. Attending a university with no funding will have an impact on your studies

Missing out from further education. You might be rejected from other institutions if you wish to continue your studies with a Master’s or a Doctoral degree if your previous qualification is not recognised.

Why Seek Accreditation – What to be Aware of
Imagine spending thousands of dollars, and study hours on a degree that has no value in the market. Accreditation is like a verification stamp on your diploma that proves its legitimacy and that you have acquired the necessary skills and disciplines to practise a particular occupation. While many assume that if a university is well-known, western, or widely advertised, their degrees are de facto accredited. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. You might be drawn to join a reputable institution offering international degrees, but official authorities might have not validated its programmes.

To determine whether a degree is accredited, start first with the university website and read its accreditations. Then double-check the information with the relevant authority. For example, in the US all the main universities are accredited by one of the 7 regional accrediting agencies (https://www.chea.org/regional-accrediting-organizations). If you decide to study towards a US degree it is advised that you check if the university is regionally accredited. Also, you can check what their students/graduates are saying in various platforms rating universities. Reading and watching other student testimonials will reassure you that you are making the right choice. Sometimes universities will claim that they are licensed to operate by a certain agency but that does not mean that they are accredited and that the specific programme you are studying has programmatic accreditation.

What is more, numbers and facts do not lie. Well-established institutions with a staggering number of enrolled students prove a university’s credibility. Typically, recognised and accredited universities will have thousands of graduates, physical facilities, testimonials from students, listing off their accreditation per programme and details of the regulator who accredited them.

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