Online education has boomed in recent years, leading thousands of people around the world to earn their college degrees entirely online, but is an online degree program right for you?
Online education was scoffed at entirely in the past, as the reputations of diploma mills and purchased degrees completely devalued the entire point of getting one’s degree from an online school.
However, things have changed in recent years.
Now online graduates are competing for the same jobs as their traditional in-person college attendees, and are finding themselves to be just as marketable and employable as those who attended brick and mortar schools. But there are still some controversial areas within online education.
Pros Of An Online Education
Online Degree Programs are Workplace-Friendly
Perhaps the biggest benefit to earning your degree online is that you won’t have to quit your day-job to clear your schedule. Online colleges and universities typically offer you the option for doing all of your studying at nights and on weekends, including your testing, meaning that you’ll never have to be anywhere at an appointed time, and can keep bringing home pay checks from a full-time position. If you have a demanding occupation, and especially if you’re interested in military friendly schools, then look at degree programs from online colleges. They are by far your best bet for being able to pursue both a career and your education at the same time.
Online Education is Flexible
Not only do you get to set your own study hours, but many online programs also offer you flexibility for determining when things are due and how long you have to complete your courses. Many online schools will even allow you to make up your own hours and complete your degree at your own pace, taking as few or as many classes as you want at any given time. Plenty of accredited colleges and universities also offer rolling admissions schedules and start-dates, meaning that you don’t have to start courses in the fall or at the beginning of a semester like you would at a traditional brick and mortar institution.
You Won’t Have to Commute
Commuting eats up both time and money, two things which most of us don’t have enough of in this day and age. If you could avoid the bill for gasoline for driving back and forth from campus and home, or campus and your office, wouldn’t that be worth checking into? With an online degree, you can study from anywhere that you’ve got a connection to the internet. Home, office, or the coffee shop, as long as you’re connected, you’re ready to go. This provides substantial additional flexibility to online degree programs, especially in the age of smart phones and tablets, and it might just be the thing that makes your education affordable.
Cons Of An Online Education
Your School Social Life Will be Limited
You probably won’t get much physical contact with your fellow online students, or with your professors. This could be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your personality and interests. One of the highlights of attending an in person program or school is that there is often a vibrant and thriving social life, but you probably won’t find anything remotely close to that at an online school (unless you count Facebook walls as social activity). However, the lack of a school social life while completing an online course doesn’t have to limit your overall social life, because you’ll still have plenty of free time to arrange your pursuits and activities as you like, and you just might be a better student because of the lack of social distractions!
You Must be Highly Motivated
A clear disadvantage to an online school is that if you are not highly disciplined or able to work well by yourself, you will find it difficult to complete an online program within a realistic time frame. Getting through an online degree takes a massive amount of self-discipline, which is one of the main reasons that employers look positively on online college graduates, but if you don’t have enough to make it through the process, then don’t enroll in the first place. An online degree may not be the wisest choice for you if you can’t remain focused and motivated to complete a task without outside assistance. While the system is ideal for those who are good at working individually, it will leave others in the dust.
Just like any other pursuit, the decision to get your degree online features some advantages and disadvantages. There are trade-offs to earning your degree from an online college, but in many cases, the pros massively outweigh the cons. The important thing is to do your due diligence, find an accredited, respected school, and stay focused as you complete your program. Look for schools that offer a tuition guarantee, scholarships, or other discounts, and you could potentially save yourself thousands of dollars. Whether you choose to study online, or at a brick and mortar institution, good luck in your future studies!