Best Online Colleges in Kentucky 2022

Best Online Colleges in Kentucky 2022

Find the best online colleges in Kentucky ranked by the academic success of faculty and alumni associated with the colleges and universities and their online degree programs.

Colleges and Universities in Kentucky

Between community colleges, technical schools, and universities, Kentucky has 24 public schools. The community colleges and technical schools average $4,000 for tuition, and tuition for public universities ranges from $8,000 to $12,000. Those looking to attend private colleges can choose from 26 schools, of which 21 are religiously affiliated. The cost to attend private schools tends to be higher, reaching $42,000 in Kentucky, but there are some affordable options with tuition rates as low as $9,000.

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The largest and top-rated public university is the University of Kentucky, which has over 30,000 students and costs about $12,000. Political science, chemistry, and literature are all possible majors. Students who attend either the University of Louisville or Western Kentucky University will become part of a friendly basketball rivalry. Both of these universities also offer varying fields of study, including mathematics, communications, business, and history. In addition, Kentucky encourages graduating education students to apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, which awards $5,000 to $17,500 toward Federal Stafford loans to those remaining the profession.

There is something for everyone in The Bluegrass State. Kentucky is home to the famous Kentucky Derby, the Daniel Boone National Forest, and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Students wanting to study where Abraham Lincoln and Muhammad Ali both called home have 50 higher learning institutions from which to choose.

Kentucky has it all — associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Check out the top programs and find which institution is the right one for you.


What are Kentucky’s Colleges & Universities?

Kentucky’s Best Overall

Online education has grown dramatically in quality, credibility, and popularity over the last two decades. Today, more than a quarter of all college students are taking at least one online course. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are more than 5 million college students who are pursuing their undergraduate degree fully online. And the number of online college and graduate students continues to grow as online technology and instructional methods improve.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to remote learning has proven an essential part of the educational ecosystem. Schools that offer primarily online degree programs saw an increase of 7% enrollment just between Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. The number of traditional institutions offering online courses and degrees is growing as well. This all paints a promising picture for the future of online education. But it also produces a dizzying array of options.

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Online Colleges 2022

Asynchronous learning means classes don’t meet at set times. This is the most flexible online learning experience, making when you cover your course material up to you. Most asynchronous online courses will still have deadlines throughout the semester for various assignments and tests. Some asynchronous classes may still ask for an occasional meeting, such as initial meet-and-greets, and in some cases there may be scheduled test times. The idea of asynchronous learning is to allow the student to manage their schedules as needed.

Synchronous learning means you will have scheduled meeting times for your online classes. Synchronous learning gives online students the flexiblity of location while also giving students a chance to engage with each other and their professors. For many online students, the structured class schedules and ability to see and hear from peers in real-time helps create the learning experience they want.

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Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable institutions and less-than-reputable for-profit schools. Accreditation gives you the power to differentiate between the two. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency which indicates that a college or university is meeting standards of quality, credibility, and currency. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university which is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. When seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that students opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree.

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As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited, you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer. In many cases, you will be required to navigate a bureaucracy in which some of your credits will be transferred and others will be jettisoned. However, provided that you have attended an online school with the proper regional accreditation, you should have plenty of options for transfer.

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In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript or resume differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

While some employers may express concern about making the adjustment from online education to in-person workplace collaboration, many other employers will view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st Century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

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The advantages of online classes are many. First and foremost, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities—educational experiences that you can complete on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

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Best Online Colleges in Kentucky
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10 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

  1. #1

    University of Kentucky

    Lexington , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/25

    Online Bachelor's Degrees

    BS Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Medical Laboratory Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA Communication
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS General Business
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA Information Communication Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  2. #2

    University of Louisville

    Louisville , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/25

    Online Bachelor's Degrees

    BS Healthcare Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN) - (JCTC CEP)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Accountancy
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BBA Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA Communication
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Organizational Leadership and Learning
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Sport Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  3. #3

    Western Kentucky University

    Bowling Green , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/23

    Online Bachelor's Degrees

    BS Health Care Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Management

    Concentrations

    • Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Family and Consumer Sciences

    Concentrations

    • Child Studies
    • FamilyStudies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Engineering Technology Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Workforce Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Dental Hygiene
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Care Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Computer Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Dental Hygiene
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  4. #4

    Eastern Kentucky University

    Richmond , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    Online Bachelor's Degrees

    BS Police Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Corrections & Juvenile Justice Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Paralegal Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Child & Family Studies – Child Development
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BS)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BBA Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • Risk Management & Insurance
    • Marketing
    • Management
    • Finance
    • General Business
    • Public Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Services Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  5. #5

    Northern Kentucky University

    Highland Heights , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/23

    Online Bachelor's Degrees

    BA Health Communication
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Communication Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • General Business
    • Global Supply Chain Management
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Respiratory Care
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Integrative Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  6. #6

    Murray State University

    Murray , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1142/24

    Online Bachelor's Degrees

    Bachelor of Manufacturing Engineering Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Agriculture

    Concentrations

    • Agribusiness
    • Agriscience Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Computer Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Cybersecurity and Network Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Human Service
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Integrated Studies

    Concentrations

    • Social Sciences
    • Arts and Humanities
    • Agricultural Studies
    • Communications
    • Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Logistics and Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Public and Community Health
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  7. #7

    Morehead State University

    Morehead , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/23

    Online Bachelor's Degrees

    BS Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS General Business
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Leadership in Medical Imaging Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Technology Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing Post-Licensure
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  8. #8

    Bellarmine University

    Louisville , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/25

    Online Bachelor's Degrees

    BS Software & Data Engineering
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA Integrated Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  9. #9

    Kentucky State University

    Frankfort , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    975/20

    Online Bachelor's Degrees

    BA Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  10. #10

    University of the Cumberlands

    Williamsburg , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    Online Bachelor's Degrees

    BS Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS Missions & Ministry
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS Public Health
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Information Technology Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities—educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students