Are Internet College Degrees a Scam?

If you're one of the millions of Americans who are considering going back to school, that's probably a question that's been on your mind lately. 

You've seen the ads everywhere that offer the chance to earn a college degree from the comfort of your own home over the Internet. You’re no doubt wondering if they're legitimate, or if they’re some kind of rip off.  It's only natural to be skeptical, considering all the fraud that occurs on the Internet, from Nigerian email scams to phishing scammers impersonating your bank or stock market account and worse.  It’s time to put your mind at ease.  Internet college degrees are just as respectable as those from brick and mortar institutions.

In fact, online college study is growing rapidly, and tens of thousands of Americans now earn degrees over the Internet every year.  These degrees are every bit as legitimate and accepted as ones from traditional colleges and universities.  In fact, many of the biggest and best known colleges and universities in America now offer their own online degrees.

Not only are online degrees not scams, they're almost certainly your best option if you'd like to consider college but already have a good job and a family.  Getting your degree online, studying when you want, and setting your own schedule is a whole lot less disruptive than attending a brick and mortar college. Don't worry that your desired major may not be available.  There are very few subjects in which you can’t earn a degree online these days.  That wasn't the case a few years ago, but every year the Internet offers more and more educational opportunities.  Internet college degrees aren't a scam, and anyone interested in going to college should seriously consider getting one.

Quick College Degree Scams

Don't be taken in by quick college degree scams. It's an unfortunate fact of life that wherever there's a demand for something, there are always unscrupulous operators willing to make a fast buck by making promises they won’t deliver on.  These days, with millions of people out of work and looking for fast online college degrees, web sites are popping up preying on people's hopes.  These con artists know that a lot of people are desperate to improve their education in order to get a better job, and in exchange for several hundred (or even thousand) dollars, they promise quick college degrees, delivered in just a couple of weeks.

Don't be fooled by these scammers.  You can't just pay a school and get a college degree in return.  No legitimate online university operates that way.  You might get a fancy diploma for your hard-earned money, but it will be completely worthless.  No employer is going to be taken in by it.  The only things this kind of degree will get you are anger and frustration.

This isn't to imply that it needs to take four full years to earn a college degree.  It doesn't; there are all sorts of options you can take advantage of to speed up the process at an online university.  You can get an associate's degree and land a good paying job with it.  You can use advanced placement and life experience credits to dramatically reduce the time it takes to complete a bachelor's degree.  In either case, by getting your degree online and working hard you can cut the length of time it takes to earn your degree.  So don't despair; it won't take forever to earn a degree.  Just don't waste your hard earned money on quick college degree scams.

Can You Really Buy a College Degree?

Many people hoping to land a better job by getting a college degree go online to explore their options.  Some of them land on websites offering an online college degree without having to study or take classes, simply in exchange for payment of a fee.  This fee is usually at least several hundred dollars and can range up to several thousand dollars.  Whatever degree a person seeks, whether it's a bachelor's, master's or even a PhD, these websites promise to give it to them if they're willing to pay the fees. 

It sounds too good to be true.  And it is. No matter what some website promises, it is not possible to buy a respectable college degree.  Oh, sure, they'll send you a piece of paper, a "diploma," and it will have a bunch of fancy lettering and lots of big words proclaiming you the holder of a college degree. It will be completely worthless, however.  These "degrees" are nothing but rip offs, and the companies running these websites are perpetrating frauds on their customers.

Anytime you see an offer like this, leave the website immediately.  It's nothing but a scam.  These places are diploma mills.  They don’t offer a real education and aren’t real colleges, and if you apply for a job using a degree from one of these sites you'll only make a fool of yourself.  The Internet is hard to police, and there are a lot of technicalities that make it hard to prosecute the operators of these websites, so you'll have to look out for yourself.  Buyer beware!  Fortunately, it's not that difficult to learn which sites offer quality degrees and which ones just want your money.  Any time you come across a website offering a college degree with no study required, you're looking at a scam.  Have nothing to do with it.  Online college degrees are real and legitimate, but they involve study and tests just like traditional colleges.  You really can get a degree over the Internet, but you most certainly cannot buy a college degree that will stand up under scrutiny.

How to Get an Easy College Degree

An easy college degree is every student's dream.  But how doable is it?  Is it really possible to cruise through college without breaking an intellectual sweat and spending a lot of time studying?  The answer is yes; many students manage to pull it off every year. How?  They use a variety of tactics.  They surf the web to find forums where students from colleges discuss which professors are easy and which ones are hard, so they know whose classes to sign up for.  They buy term papers on the Internet, pre-written, with no study required.  There are even websites these days that sell purloined copies of tests, along with their answers.  High technology has made the dream of an easy college degree available to all.

The only question is whether you should avail yourself of these "resources" to get an easy college degree for yourself.  You must answer that question for yourself, and only you can make the final decision. Keep in mind that when you earn a college degree this way, in the long run it's yourself who's getting cheated.  In addition, most professors run papers through high quality plagiarism detectors; anything purchased online or turned in previously by another student will be caught, and the student will be dismissed from the class or from the school. The point of college isn't to get a piece of paper awarding you a degree.  The aim is to acquire the knowledge that justifies awarding you the degree. By taking the easy way out, you'll be depriving yourself of important knowledge that would have proved useful later in your career.  You're also failing to give yourself the kinds of challenges that build character.  Knowledge and good character are two things a piece of paper can't give you.  You have to earn them, and you can by working hard and ethically while you're in college.  An easy college degree might sound appealing now, but down the road you'll wish you'd made a different choice.

Last Updated: 07/28/2014

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