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Why is Accreditation so Important for Your Bachelor's Degree?

by Joe Aguilar

By gaining accreditation, a college or university proves that its facilities and educational standards adhere to national standards. But who decides when a school earns accreditation? What does accreditation mean for students, and how can you distinguish between an accredited school and a diploma mill? Here is a closer look at college accreditation.

How Do Schools Become Accredited?

Before gaining accreditation, a college must first invite a private accrediting agency to conduct on-site tests. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a list of recognized accrediting agencies; any school you consider attending should be accredited by one or more of these accrediting bodies. According to Peterson's, the accreditation process may last anywhere between five and 10 years, during which an accrediting organization determines whether a school meets standards for accreditation or pre-accreditation status.

Colleges may be judged on criteria such as:

  • Facilities, equipment, and supplies
  • Faculty recruitment
  • Academic standards and policies
  • Tuition fees
  • Student achievement
  • Student support services

Even after a school qualifies, accrediting organizations will return regularly to monitor its progress. This helps guarantee that the accredited school continues to offer its students a top-notch education.

Importance of Accreditation

Peterson's, "Accreditation"
U.S. Department of Education, "College Accreditation in the United States"

About the Author

Joe Aguilar is a freelance writer in Boulder, Colorado. He has an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University.

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