There are many varying views about getting a college degree online. Some see an online degree as an innovative, economical and efficient way to earn a degree, while others view it as an easy escape from the traditional classroom with many disadvantages. For many students, choosing which path to take can be a stressful and unclear decision.
There are many pros to getting a college degree online. For one, the convenience it offers is an incredible way to be able to study without actually having to travel to a classroom. For many students, it is not so simple to complete traditional college programs of study, due to all sorts of restrictions, including location, work schedules, family commitments, and physical inabilities. Studying online offers a flexible opportunity to virtually everyone.
Another popular benefit of studying online is the potentially lower costs. However, online programs are not always cheaper than studying in a classroom. It really varies from program to program, but in many cases studying online can be much cheaper. And even if it is not financially cheaper in terms of tuition costs, studying online will inevitably be more economic in terms of time invested, as well as less money spent on living on campus and travel costs. It should also be noted however, that there are less scholarship opportunities for online degrees.
It is also known that many online programs can be completed faster in comparison to completing a college degree the traditional way. Most degree programs require students to take many classes in various topics that are unrelated to their field of study. While online programs on the other hand, tend to be more topic focused, and only require that you take classes relevant to your degree. And furthermore, there are online programs for students that have already taken certain classes, and only require certain additional credits.
However, there are of course some cons to getting a degree online. For one, some subject’s just don’t work in the online sphere. Physical therapy, for example is one that cannot be taught virtually and requires a hands-on learning experience.
Secondly, another downside of studying online is that it puts a lot more pressure and personal responsibility on the student. Usually school offers a structured educational environment, while online courses maybe be overly free, and actually end up being more overwhelming for the student. Online programs require students to make their own schedule and manage all of their requirements to complete the degree, without the help of a student advisor, school administrators, and faculty guidance. Furthermore, online universities tend to change around their requirements often, so this means even more need for student’s to be on top of their games.
Another big challenge that an online degree poses is with networking. Many people gain their most crucial connections during their university studies, whether it be through fellow students, extracurricular activities or professors. While online of course, this opportunity is taken away. Networking can be of incredible help in getting into graduate school and finding careers upon finishing. Although there might be an option to communicate online with other students, face-to-face communication is invaluable.
And networking aside, studying online also takes away from the campus life experience, something that many feel is a vital aspect of truly going to college, and a once in a lifetime experience. However of course, there are some students that would prefer their peace and quiet while studying, and would rather avoid being on campus. And therefore the campus activities are of probably of little interest to the student, and they value the serenity and flexibility over having the traditional college experience.
It is also important to check out the accreditation of the online program. Nowadays employers do not discredit online degrees as inferior, however, this is provided it is a credible program. All things being said, there is no right or wrong choice; it is what works best for your needs and style of learning, as well as expectations from your degree. Do your research about the program and what will work best for you.