In 2020, there were close to 20 million students enrolled in online university classes, and that number is increasing. With so many distance learning opportunities, students need to be smart about finding the right one. To help, this post explains what you need to know when considering an online university.
Pros and Cons of Online University
There are definite advantages and disadvantages to consider if you want to pursue your associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree online.
Major benefits include:
- Increased flexibility: The average age of online university students is approximately 26.4 years old, making them more likely to be working professionals with family obligations. With online universities, learning can be self-paced and customized to your needs, mitigating in-person requirements.
- International networking opportunities: Students from all over the world attend online universities. It’s possible you could interact with a professional in another country who might introduce you to a new job opportunity.
- Cost savings: In many cases, the cost of tuition at an online university can be 50% lower or more when compared to traditional in-person learning. This makes it a more competitive option for those who may not have substantial financial support.
There are also some drawbacks:
- Need discipline: In-person classes have the psychological benefits of pushing you to be timely in completing assignments and attending classes. Taking a self-paced class requires a level of discipline that comes from you and only you.
- Possible distractions: Even if you have a dedicated home office, distractions in your environment can make it tough to concentrate and maintain your focus.
- Technical requirements: Over 40% of students think digital learning is helpful to them when they’re doing homework. For those who aren’t tech-savvy, online learning can be a frustrating challenge when starting out.
Tips for Online University Students
Once you’ve made the decision to go ahead, you’ll want to check that the school you’re looking at has the credibility you need. You need to check:
- If the program advances your career. When looking for an online program, make sure it’s properly accredited and licensed. Depending on the degree, the online program may need to adhere to certain licensing requirements.
- Graduate hiring rates. This shows that companies respect the quality of education the university offers. Low hiring rates aren’t a good sign.
- Keep good notes. Using PDFs can be a useful way to stay organized and streamline your workflow. One way to do this is to take handwritten notes on paper, then turn it into a PDF using a scanner or mobile app. This allows you to easily store and access your notes digitally, making it easier to search for specific information or share with others.
- Types of support available. Apart from financial aid support, some online universities offer mentorship to help guide students through any challenges.
Walking the E-Learning Path
Finding the right school is a matter of balancing what you want with what you’re willing to give up. Once you’ve chosen the right program, it’s just a matter of staying focused.