Individuals researching schools offering holistic education must be wise about some of the statements they see. Remember, anyone can create marketing materials such as a website and put almost anything they want on it to attract students. However, it does not necessarily mean what you think it means.
Legitimate accreditation by governing bodies ensures that the programs the school offers have been reviewed and approved. Keep in mind that there are many types of accreditation and what they mean to you as a student and graduate are very important. The accrediting body must be approved by the Department of Education of Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in order to be able to legitimately accredit schools. Therefore, when you are researching schools, verify their accreditation information with governing bodies such as the ones mentioned above. However accreditation as a “career school” or only by an accrediting body that accredits a particular career, is not as meaningful or respected as Institutional Accreditation as a nationally recognized regional accreditation.
So, why is accreditation important? There are many benefits to accreditation, but the one of the most important is the ability to transfer credits. Credits earned at career schools will not be accepted at regionally accredited colleges or universities. Second, what will you do if the school you are attending closes? If you take the worst case scenario of having wasted thousands of dollars on your education, which now has no presentable value, you will understand the importance of attending an accredited school. Most accreditation agencies require that accredited institutions only transfer credits to other accredited institutions. If the school you are attending is unaccredited and closes its doors, it is very unlikely that your credits will be accepted by another institution. Additionally, if the school closes and you have paid your tuition up-front, there is no guarantee you will be getting your money back. Accredited institutions, however, are typically required to have a reserve account in the case that the school closes so that the students may get money back that they had paid upfront.
Once you narrow down your list of colleges that appeal to you, verify their accreditation and also be sure to speak to graduates of that institution. If something doesn’t seem right, contact the accreditation agencies and get their feedback on the school.