Searching for the Right College: Check Their Accreditation
Published on October 1, 2015 by Staff Writer
With roughly 4500 institutions of higher learning in the United States, how does the prospective student know which school to choose? Reputation, location, programs offered—these certainly all play into the decision. One factor that could be easily overlooked is accreditation. Is the school accredited and if so, by what accrediting body?
Accreditation is a voluntary process. School seek accreditation to improve their programs, their reputation, and to tell prospective students that their school can deliver the education promised. Peterson’s database, a site for directing students to colleges and scholarships, says:
With the way the American education system is structured, it’s possible to end up at a less-than-desirable school if you don’t know what to look for during your college search. One of the best ways to ensure that you are applying to a school that will give you a good education is by exploring whether or not it is accredited.
Broadview University, part of the Globe Education Network consortium of schools, is accredited by The Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and School (ACICS), a national organization with a stellar reputation. ACICS is the largest national accrediting organization and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, Broadview University received additional program accreditation for their veterinary technician program (American Veterinary Medical Association—AVMA) and medical assisting program (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools—ABHES).
A few weeks ago, Broadview University, Orem Campus, campus librarian and paralegal instructor, Karen Newmeyer, got first-hand experience with the accreditation process—from the inside. Karen completed training to become an evaluator for ACICS and went on her first accrediting visit to a school in Ohio. Karen went to evaluate the paralegal program. Speaking of her experience, she says, “I was so impressed by the quality of the evaluator team. They were very experienced and knowledgeable in their respective fields. They were professional and courteous in all their dealings with each other and with the school. The ACICS staff member who went on the visit seriously knew her business.”
The evaluation visit took two days to complete and included interviews with students, faculty, program chairs, and employers of the school’s graduates. Student records were carefully reviewed for accuracy, as well as making sure all promotional materials, school catalogs, and faculty and student handbooks clearly and correctly portrayed the school’s offerings. The evaluator team can cite the school for violations of accrediting guidelines. They can also make recommendations for improvements to their program.
The ACICS Mission Statement says, “The mission of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools is to advance educational excellence at independent, nonpublic career schools, colleges, and organizations in the United States and abroad. This is achieved through a deliberate and thorough accreditation process of quality assurance and enhancement as well as ethical business and educational practice.”
“I was a great experience. I really enjoyed with meeting with the schools administrators, instructors, and students. I met people who are sincerely interested in education and helping their students succeed.” Karen Newmeyer also said she hopes to have opportunities for evaluation visits in the future.