Is Online College Better? The Real Pros And Cons of Online Education

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October 12th, 2018 by schoolbound

Online education is a convenience that we are just beginning to appreciate and understand; it is quite possibly the most expansive aspect of education that is growing today. The playing field is leveled for students across the globe as people in China, Tanzania, and Western Chile can study similar subject matter through their mastery of the world wide web. With this convenience, however, some aspects of online education that are not so desirable. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of receiving this non-traditional form of higher education:

PROS

1. Scheduling classes comes at your convenience
You choose your coursework, set up your schedule, and then the work literally comes to you in the convenience of your own home. Each student is allowed to learn at his own pace and in his own way, making the personalized approach to education a much more desired one by many. There is no longer a need to find a coveted parking spot on campus, only to have to walk half a mile to a cold, sterile classroom to be distracted by other students who are not into the material. Your expanding world comes to you as you enter your online classroom and connect with other like-minded learners from across the globe.

2. Cost of online learning is lower
With the need to pay for student housing, food, and transportation now obsolete, it is easier to keep costs lower for the same types of classes. Focusing your funds on tuition will allow even the most budget-conscious learner to take advantage of all of the opportunities that online learning affords.

3. Online learning offers a wealth of choices
From schools to curriculum to instructors, it becomes a joy to shop around and find the programs that excite you the most. Choosing from thousands of schools and their qualified programs allows you the freedom to find the one that is a perfect fit for you.

4. You can go at your own pace.
There is no need to follow a quarterly or semester schedule when taking online courses for your CPA or counseling certificate; there is also no need to break up your educational pathway with 6 month periods of working to slowly offset the cost. Students may go as fast or as slow as they please through a program, finding the perfect pace for their own life situations and educational needs.

5. Online diplomas are now widely accepted
With tremendous validation now given to the aspect of online education, more and more schools are now becoming nationally accredited, and there are thousands of degrees that can be obtained without ever setting foot in a traditional classroom. Hybrid schedules offering labwork and other interactive learning are also available for courses that demand hands-on experience as well. The sky’s the limit!

Even with this list of impressive pros, there are some things you must consider before deciding to surf the educational web:

CONS

1. There are counterfeit institutions out there
Luckily, these institutions are pretty easy to spot; Slick Willy’s online school for underwater basket weaving can be spotted a mile away as a diploma mill, only interested in taking your money for a certificate containing little validation that your coursework was real. Do your research and get reviews on some of the institutions that you are considering. Find out if they are fully accredited, and choose with confidence once you have the peace of mind that they are setting you up for future career success with their course offerings.

2. Going to class in pajamas doesn’t mean you can check out
You may be able to sit comfortably in pajamas all day while you are at your computer, but please don’t take your coursework so casually. Your home may offer all kinds of distractions–kids, dogs, phone calls, etc.–that would not exist in a traditional classroom. If you are someone who is easily distractible, you might want to consider other options for furthering your education.

3. Social interaction is greatly restricted
For some, college is a time to network and create new friendships. Online learning makes it more difficult to experience this aspect of college life. If you want the richness of developing new and meaningful relationships, you might want to consider all that traditional college education can afford you.

4. Technical glitches can really slow you down
Online learners are at the mercy of how the internet decides to perform on a given day. Technical glitches, slow loading web pages, and other gateway issues can lead to frustration and lack of progress. Coursework submissions can be lost in translation, and it is easy for email to get lost in the shuffle, making communication between you and your instructor difficult. Knowing about these potential pitfalls and providing yourself enough time to complete the work will be the key to your long-term success.

5. Standardization is not yet fixed
Generally speaking, online education is not seeing as the absolute best option for some career pathways. Finding out if your school choice is fully accredited, and doing some research with regard to a school’s career readiness resources will help you determine if you have chosen the right school for you.

While there are many advantages and disadvantages of receiving an online education, results vary, as do learners. Doing your research and asking yourself what kind of experience you want at the post-secondary level will help you determine if online education is the right pathway for you. Best of luck to you and your future success!

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