Way back in 1995 I visited New Delhi to take admission in an Engineering College which used to advertise often in newspapers. Its name was Delhi Institute of Science and Technology. The soft spoken receptionist tried every bits and pieces to trap me or at least sell application form. I questioned if college is AICTE approved and pat came the reply; yes, you will get job. Heck my question was if college is approved. Job I can get without an engineering degree even. The unusual behavior of receptionist caught my attention. I felt, there is something wrong, somehow I escaped from their clutch. After couple of years, it was a big news that institution was a fake. Suddenly advertisement disappeared from the newspapers and magazines and I thanked God for obvious reasons.
I was saved from a fake; I want to save you also. I was not fortunate enough to get into an MIT or Max Plank but I was saved from a fake degree because of my sixth sense and knowledge that AICTE is governing authority for technical qualification in India.
All governments have strict guidelines, nobody can operate a fake university or college; it’s a crime. But sometime it happens and ultimately innocent students suffer. So you do not suffer in the hands of wrong doers, when writing an university application, if you are not sure about its accreditation, you can check about it. You can ask the institute’s authorities if institute is accredited and by whom? That’s your fundamental rights and institute’s authorities have the responsibility to answer you till satisfaction. You can ask them name, address, phone and website address of accreditation authority. Do not this inside a Berkely campus; obviously you won’t.
If you are going to apply for an institution which is lesser known must enquire about its accreditation status because if institution in question turns out a fake later you and your career will suffer. May be government will do something nice to you so your career won’t get affected much but again treatment is better than a postmortem.
Way back in 1995, internet was not like today, in fact it was like unavailable in small towns and villages. However, today you can check everything sitting at home or even from your mobile phone.
Like India, all countries have accreditation bodies to govern colleges, universities and courses. If in doubt must check your course accreditation status before you truly apply.
If your institution is based in a foreign country you can check the accreditation status of an institution and courses from the foreign mission near you.
To back my claim here is a list of fake universities in India