Taking online classes provides you with the same quality learning opportunities as traditional campus programs, often at a fraction of the price.
With over 200 accredited universities offering online degree programs in a wide-range of fields, you now have the option to pursue your college dreams with unprecedented convenience and flexibility. Earning your college degree from the comfort of home can give you the best of both worlds when it comes to fulfilling your educational goals. In the past five years, the number of students opting to take online classes has nearly doubled, jumping to over 45 percent!
Comparing the benefits (and limitations) of online classes vs. traditional, on-campus classes takes place from a variety of different angles and viewpoints. Sifting through these pros and cons does take some time and effort, but the process is well worth undertaking as it can directly impact whether or not you make the right decision regarding your educational future.
On the traditional side of the equation, taking classes on-campus allows you to immerse yourself in the “college experience” and interact with other students on a regular basis; two things that are highly important to many prospective students who are entering the world of higher education.
However, the importance of this traditional experience is rapidly fading away as more and more students realize just how convenient it is to engage in classes from the comfort of their homes. Working on a degree via an online program gives you the freedom to learn at your own pace and operate within the constraints of an already rigid or overflowing personal schedule. In addition, more and more accredited universities are recognizing that important learning opportunities take place outside of the classroom. As a result, a number of colleges now award college credit for life experience, a tremendous advantage for students with prior work or military experience.
Taking your learning into the digital world isn’t just about tapping into the enhanced convenience of this process and getting to stay in your pajamas while working through classes online – even though many students do enjoy these perks. This approach comes with a wide array of advantages that translate well into a variety of life experiences and personal situations.
For working professionals, completing a degree online is all about flexibility and fitting their educational goals into a rigid or uncompromising schedule. The same holds true for stay-at-home parents and other individuals who simply can’t afford to spend hours and hours locked into classes on a traditional campus.
In many cases, online degrees are the most affordable way to earn your college degree. Whether you’re paying for college on your own, or tapping into an education reimbursement plan offered by your employer, it’s hard to beat the affordability that comes with enrolling in many of the online universities currently operating in the digital world.
When paired with the other benefits covered here, it doesn’t take much to see why over 5.5 million students have opted to enroll in online degree programs.
Choosing an online college is all about pairing your educational goals and needs with a program or university that matches these criteria. The best place to start is by deciding what it is that you want to study in college. Without this ‘big picture” viewpoint guiding the way, it’s impossible to sort through the vast amount of potential online degree programs waiting for you in the digital world.
Of course, it’s also a good idea to ask yourself, “Is taking an online class really right for me?” Yes, there are numerous benefits that come with learning from home, but you have to be willing to give up the on-campus experience – student body interaction, campus atmosphere, etc. – if you decide to travel down this path and forego the traditional on-campus route.
When it comes to filtering through your online options, there are three key considerations that can guide you through this sometimes complex and confusing process: The accreditation credentials of the school, how you plan to pay for your education, and the degrees offered by the target institution. Being accredited by one of the major regional accrediting bodies will ensure that the online college you’re considering is legitimate and capable of providing you with a proper education. Once you’ve decided on a college, you can then explore the scholarship and loan opportunities offered by the institution. Finally, the university in question will need to offer a degree program that fits your needs.
Finding the right online college for your learning needs is a lot like scouting out universities and colleges in-person; certain schools rise above the competition thanks to “flagship” majors and exemplary specialized learning programs, while others provide assistance and resources to incoming students that make the transition into distance learning a considerably smoother and more manageable affair.
If you’re truly serious about getting the most out of your time in school, it’s a good idea to start your search for the perfect online college by zeroing in on the majors and areas of study that pique your interest. Institutions that focus on psychology or engineering, for example, are more likely to provide incoming students with the unique digital tools and framework needed to match – or exceed – the traditional learning experience, while also setting these future graduates up for success in the real world via relationships with established professional organizations and work-placement programs.