Online Leadership Colleges
Also in this leadership qualification series:
The British Accreditation Council, or BAC formally accredit UK institutions and also international institutions for a selection of countries.
USA – While one government body does not directly accredit online leadership colleges in the US, it is required to publish a list of agencies whom it believes are reliable enough to do so. These regional accreditation agencies including the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools will be your best reference in evaluating Online Colleges.
Rest of the World – See this useful Wikipedia Article which lists many of the accreditation agencies around the world. However, due to the doubtful reliability inherent with Wikipedia articles, before enrolling in an online course, please search government websites to verify that the accreditation agency is who they say they are.
The Benefits of an Online Leadership Degree
Please visit our dedicated Online Leadership Degree article which features a detailed list of benefits, as well as drawbacks, of leadership degrees.
Fake Accreditation Websites and How to spot them.
I exposed this accreditation website several days ago, which was being used to support the fraudulent credentials of a dodgy online college offering degrees for a mere $300.
The stinger with this story though, is that the websites themselves look immaculate and very believable to the average (or even above average) internet user. Note also how this fake accreditation agency actually refers further up again to another fake agency.
Would you have been fooled by the above websites? They sure look the part – but here’s how you can train yourself to see through the design and spot a phoney.
How To Spot A Fake Accreditation Agency
1. Spelling Mistakes.
Spelling mistakes would not go unnoticed on an official website visited by thousands of web-goers per day. The 2nd Fake Accreditation Agency above actually misspells ‘accreditation’ in the navigation bar!
2. Overuse of ‘Stock’ Photography
Real institutions like to use pictures of their actual facilities or their actual staff. If a website appears to be full of models and actors with shining smiles for the camera – then the organization’s authority is only skin deep.
3. Few actual pages.
Have a click round the website for a while – does there seem to be a wealth of information, or is there in reality less than 10 pages? A scammer only has so much time to flush his pages out with content, and won’t go the extra mile. Bureaucratic and long-winded site-maps may be a frustratingly common feature of university websites, but at least they’re an good indicator of legitimacy.
4. [Key Technique] Low Google PageRank™
Google PageRank™ is a score Google assigns to each web page on the internet to show their relative importance or popularity. A website’s PageRank is displayed in the Google Toolbar if you happen to have it. For those who don’t use the Google Toolbar; visit http://www.prchecker.info/ to check the PageRank™ of the homepage of the website you’re evaluating. As a guide, Universities & Agencies have some of the highest Google PageRank™ scores in the world. As a guide; any website with PageRank™ of 7 or higher will be a legitimate institution and those with 6 are also very unlikely to be fakes. PageRank™ scores above 5 are rare, and scores of 7 or more are virtually impossible to obtain through dis-honest methods.
- Google.com has a score of 10/10
- The UK Government has a score of 9/10
- Ebay.com has a score of 8/10
- Walmart.com has a score of 7/10
- GAP (Clothing Retailer) has a score of 6/10
If your proposed online college has a PageRank™ equal to the above websites, you can be assured you’re in good hands. The USAs largest online university: the University of Phoenix has a score of 7, so I would expect other less known colleges to have a ranking of between 5-7.
Leadership-Expert.co.uk has a Google PageRank™ of 5!
5. Heavy Promotion of ‘Contact Us’.
Ordinary agencies are extremely busy and do not have the resources to answer-in-person every query a visitor will have. Proper accreditation websites will normally feature a searchable directory of accredited insitutions, and perhaps an FAQ for other common queries. A website that seems to push you into contacting them for more information could be playing upon the human habit to trust a company more once we have spoken to a real person. This ‘real person’ could simply be the same real fraudster running the original online leadership college website.
Are Specialist Online Leadership Colleges A Better Choice?
Specialist leadership colleges online are hard to come by, and as a result – pursuing such an institution will restrict the number of options you have in selecting the course which is right for you. As such, I would recommend that you start first with the highly regarded online colleges such as the University of Phoenix and work your way down, as recognition can be one of the most important factors in the usefulness of an online degree.