Guide Content

About Promotional Sites

If you type in the term “online degree” into Google, you will see that many of the results listed on the first page link to websites that promote online programs. Many of these promotion-oriented websites do provide a great deal of relevant information about online learning in general. However, a good number of these promotion-oriented websites do not have any relevant information or data that can really help you make a truly informed decision. 

Many of these websites have what’s referred to as “pay-per-click” or “pay-per-lead” online advertising and marketing devices. In a pay-per-click scenario, online program providers pay a predetermined fee to a promotion-oriented website for each time a visitor clicks on an advertisement or link that is published on that website.

In a pay-per-lead scenario, online program providers pay a fee to have a request-for-more-information form published on a promotion-oriented website. Prospective students fill out and submit these online forms that then are forwarded to the respective institution(s) under consideration. A typical form will ask for your contact information, what program you are interested in, and what level of education you have completed. Soon after you submitted this kind of online form, a representative from the institution will contact you by phone or e-mail and provide you with more information about the online program. Usually, the primary goal of the representative is to get you enrolled as soon as possible.

Some of these same pay-per-click and pay-per-lead scenarios are also part of advertising programs offered by the major search engines. In this scenario, an institution will bid on a search term, such as “online education degrees,” which gives them a prominently displayed sponsored link on the search engine’s results page when anybody keys in that particular term. The institution is charged a fee — based on the bid — for every time a visitor clicks on the sponsored link.

Go Directly to the Source

Filling out an online form could be a quick and easy way to obtain more information, but it may be more effective to first go directly to an online program website that has a .edu URL. Carefully read through the information provided on the online program website and then call the admissions office and ask to speak with a counselor. Ask a lot of questions.  Here are our 21 questions to ask before enrolling to help you get started.