If you ask me what is the one most important fact to look for in a university while planning to study abroad. ‘Accreditation’ is my answer, Hands down! Accreditation is now-a-days ‘the most important’ word while planning to apply for schools. Earlier I was of the view that scholarship providing schools or schools in big cities are the best options but I have started believing that, for a 2 year scholarship or for the sake of living in a big town, no one should or can afford to put the entire career in jeopardy. Accreditation decides your career and life in a major way when you are on a foreign soil. A friend of mine who was junior to me in medical school went to a non- accredited school in UK. After his graduation he was not considered for any jobs or higher study options. On the contrary, his classmates who were of British origin got jobs although they had a lower GPA. It does matter for an international student as natives have opportunities irrespective of the accreditation status of the school they went to.
In common terms, accreditation is the official recognition of a school, university or institution for provision of satisfactory education, training or exam preparation. This in turn can help employers/ hiring agencies to know who they are hiring when you complete your education. Should an institution decide to procure accreditation, agencies mentioned below give opportunity to make choices, to exercise volition regarding accreditation. The process of accreditation requires the school to meet certain norms and criterion that are established by various regional accrediting agencies enlisted as follows-
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Provides Accreditation to schools in-Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (NCA)Provides Accreditation to schools in-Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Navajo Nation, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA)Provides Accreditation to schools in-Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East.
Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS)Provides Accreditation to schools in-Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Latin America.
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)Provides Accreditation to schools in-California, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Palau, Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Marshall Islands, and other Australasian locations.
Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWCCU) Provides Accreditation to schools in-Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.There is no legally designated accrediting agency in the United States and Europe. The only safe route in USA for applying to schools is a thorough consideration of the aforementioned agencies. I don’t deny the existence of numerous agencies in USA but the once which really are acknowledged widely are mentioned here.