Today, there are more degrees offered online than ever before as universities cater to the growing demand for this study option. From the smallest, boutique colleges and new educational institutions through to large universities around the globe, there are online programs galore.
You likely have the choice of studying online when embarking on your college education journey, whether you’re interested in an undergraduate degree or a higher credential. It’s important to decide if online study is really the best choice for you before you go down this path. Read on for some factors you can consider to help you make your decision.
For starters, you should work out what your study goals are before you decide your top university picks. This isn’t about what other people are pushing you to do. It’s about what you want to get out of your studies,the commitments in your life you have to work around, and the direction you want to take your career. For example, you may need to look after children, or an ill family member. Perhaps you need to keep working while studying. In these cases, an online program may be a good option. Rather than trying to make it to campus at set class times, you could study from home when most convenient.
Online studies are also good if you want to study a very specific course that isn’t offered locally, or if you want access to international professors and other top minds in your field. Online programs are a great option for people with learning difficulties or who have a learning style that’s best suited to computer-based modules. When you study online, you can repeat subject matter over and over again until you get it. You don’t need to worry about being distracted by other students, loud noises, and the like either.
Alternatively, if you’re someone who is looking to get a lot of social interaction out of university or makes use of campus facilities, online studies may not suit you. You will probably need to look at studying on campus, where you can chat with other students and professors, join groups and associations, participate in extracurricular activities, and utilize key equipment, libraries, and other resources.
If You Need Flexibility
Online courses tend to be the most adaptable since they can be customized to suit individual requirements. Online programs let you study whenever you have the time, energy, and focus rather than locking you into scheduled lectures and tutorials. Online learning is flexible. If you’re sick one day, have to look after a child, or get work done unexpectedly you can put off your studies until you have the time as long as it falls within the time frame of the course.
When it comes to getting into the course of your choice, online degrees can also sometimes be more flexible. For instance, look at online MBA requirements and you may find that there are fewer requirements than an on-campus program, particularly those at more prestigious, hard-to-get-into schools. The same is often true of other degrees.
If you’re looking for some flexibility in the subjects you study each semester and how quickly you complete your course, an online degree could be the solution. Many online programs are highly customizable and allow students to select units, arrange combined degrees, accelerate studies, and obtain extra credit for prior or extra study. On-campus courses can also offer this, so do your research upfront to see what is and isn’t possible.
Note that not all courses are accredited in the same way and to the same extent. This is something to consider when choosing a program. Sometimes online offerings are less accredited than on-campus ones because of their educational providers or the way they’re set up. Always find out for sure if you will get the accreditation you need for your career before you sign up.
Going back to school is a tough decision. Once you say “yes,” you are hit with even more choices to make. Attending online courses is ideal for many people, especially non-traditional students, but it isn’t for everyone. Before you enroll in an online program, weigh your hopes and dreams against your current lifestyle to determine whether online courses are best for you.
For more tips on other College topics, check out the other blogs on College Basics.