Why accreditation is so important

Saddleback College is currently renewing its accreditation status. (Photo illustration/Colin Reef)

Saddleback College is currently renewing its accreditation status. College students should be aware of the accreditation status of their college or university to avoid issues when transferring or attempting advanced degrees.  (Photo illustration/Colin Reef)

Are you thinking of transferring to another college or institution after your time here at Saddleback College? Most likely. Do you feel that the work you put in will ultimately be rewarded and help you achieve the goals you set out to accomplish? I’d hope so. Are you absolutely certain that the college you are enrolled in or are about to transfer to is accredited? Let’s hope so because accreditation can be a tricky topic of conversation.

Accreditation is system of endorsement that college, institutions, and universities use to allow potential students know that they are getting a valid education under the United States Department of Education.

The education system here in the U.S. can be a bit confusing for first-year college students. One of the best ways to ensure that you are applying to a school that will give you a more than satisfactory education is to find out if it is accredited.

Now the first thing to understand about the accreditation process is that it is not a governmental process, but rather a voluntary notion by the specific college. The college is then reviewed by independent accrediting agencies. Often times institutions are portrayed as more prestigious, most notably (Ivy League schools, due to their willingness to improve their quality standards for any applicants attempting to apply.

Considering accreditation in your search for which college to attend is very important because when your chosen institution of higher learning is accredited, it proves its legitimacy as a result of accreditation agencies testing it. Proper accreditation establishes the overall reputation as result.

Saddleback College has an institutional accreditation under the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs’ scope of recognition reads, “The accreditation and pre-accreditation (“Candidate for Accreditation”) of community and other colleges with a primarily pre-baccalaureate mission located in California, Hawaii, the United States territories of Guam and American Samoa, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which offer certificates, associate degrees, and the first baccalaureate degree by means of a substantive change review offered by institutions that are already accredited by the agency.”

Other agencies that operate with Saddleback include specialized agencies. This would pertain to nursing education for an associates degree. This particular agency is referred to as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc.

These agencies are well documented and can easily be reviewed by simply researching it. Other “colleges” include ones like Thunderwood College. They attempt to lure students in to make money and have been proven to be a spoof website that offers instant “degrees” in a multitude of subjects.

These fake colleges are often referred to as degree mills. They are simply phony universities that sell college diplomas and transcripts with fake seals on them. You pay a small tuition fee and voila… you are presented with a “degree”.

It may seem like accreditation has no importance to you as a student, but that could not be further from the truth. When you graduate and look for a job, employers take into consideration the school you attended and if it is accredited by a reliable agency. If your degree is from a college or university that has questionable accreditation, employers will question the validity of your degree and your potential as a good job candidate. Also, if you plan on transferring to another institution at any time in your academic career, no school will take transfer credits from an unaccredited university.