Is Online Education Right For You?

Is Online Education Right For You?

There's something so appealing about earning a degree online. However, it's not for everyone and isn't a decision you should take lightly. The flexible schedule and lack of commute don't always outweigh the drawbacks that come with studying remotely. Before you decide to get your education online, learn whether it's right for you.

Why People Choose to Study Online

If you're deciding whether or not to study online, you need to weigh out the benefits versus the drawbacks. So, what are the benefits of studying online? A few of the advantages are obvious, but the rest may not be so apparent.

Work as You Study

If you attend university full-time, there's not much time to work. You might be able to get away with a part-time job, but class attendance probably keeps you from working many hours. When you decide to receive an online education, you give yourself a chance to work full-time. You can adjust your course load to allow you to work more, and you don't need to waste time on a commute.

With the high cost of a college education, being able to work full-time is a huge advantage. You can study and pay for your education at the same time, saving you from a mountain of loans. Additionally, you gain valuable experience to include on your resume.

Time with Your Family

If you have kids, you probably don't have time to sit in a college classroom all day or night. Fortunately, online classes make it possible to spend time with your family while you study. You can save money on childcare, which is often a significant financial burden.

More importantly, you don't need to worry about missing out on family moments. Flexible scheduling means you can volunteer at your child's school or make it to family dinner every week. Rather than put your family life on hold, you can do it all at once.

No Car is Necessary

The lack of commute associated with an online education could be reason enough for you to choose this model of learning. If you don't have a car, you can save yourself the expense of buying one or of relying on public education. Even if you do have a vehicle, you may enjoy saving the mileage and limiting the need for repairs.

If you live far from the nearest college, the absence of a commute may be the most appealing benefit of an online education. The drive back and forth from school could add up to hours of commuting every day.

Less Interaction

Some individuals get nervous around large groups, and these people tend to love online learning. For those with social anxiety, online education is ideal. There are no large crowds or other people in your learning space.

Choose Your Learning Environment

If you choose an in-person learning model, you're tied to learning in the classroom. But online classes give you the flexibility to learn in the environment you perform the best. This could be a library, park, or bedroom.

Go at Your Pace

Depending on your online program, you could have the flexibility to learn at your own pace. If you have trouble with a topic or too much going on at work, you can slow down for a week. As a result, you improve your chance of success.

Why an Online Program Might Not Work for You

Despite having the benefits mentioned above, studying online isn't for everyone. Here are a few issues some people struggle with when they pursue an online education:

No Social Interaction

Are you a social butterfly who thrives around others? If so, you might not enjoy this model of learning. Online courses don't give you the face-to-face interactions that come with classes in a lecture hall. A discussion forum isn't quite the same as a chat with classmates, and this could affect your performance.

In some cases, online programs offer some options for in-person events and meet-ups. This might be something to look into before you choose a program.

Less Networking

When you attend classes in-person, you meet people from all walks of life. You connect with people who are in your industry, which could create more opportunities for growth. If you earn an online degree, you don't have as many chances for networking.

Need the Technology

Is your computer ten years old, and your internet access spotty? If so, you should reconsider earning an online degree. You need the right technology to complete your studies.

While you could go to a local library to study, this isn't the most effective way to learn. You lose flexibility and might struggle to meet deadlines. Furthermore, you might not be able to take exams when you need to.

Limited Degree Options

Online programs aren't as available as in-person programs. Therefore, you might not be able to find a program that aligns with your career goals. Some degrees, like nursing, require in-person coursework. Before committing to an online education, be certain the college offers a program that will allow you to meet your career goals.

They're Not All Equal

Although many online degrees are just as valuable as traditional degrees, there are some exceptions. Scammers are always looking to take advantage of people online, so you need to be on the lookout. Before choosing a program, look into it and make sure the institution is reputable.

How to Pick the Right Program

If you decide an online education is right for you, it's essential to pick the right institution and program. There's no one format for an online degree, which means you need to research your program. Do you need to log on at a set time to view the lectures, or are they recorded and available when you are?

As you do more research, consider the quality of the program. Read reviews and learn about the amount of coursework you need to complete the degree. If you spend time picking a program that meets your needs, you're much more likely to succeed.

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