Online Degrees And The Benefits Of Pursuing An Education Online
With modern technologies and sensibilities, getting an education is not limited to the classroom. With hundreds of coursesand programs, you can obtain degrees online for numerous areas of study at the convenience of your home. Before you lookinto this medium, you should first perform a self-assessment. While online courses often have visual and auditory components,it may not be enough for some students. If you learn best with an in-person instructor or prefer the hands-on approach,consider traditional education methods when possible.
However, for those students who value the flexibility of online courses, the limits of online courses are not a deterrent.Taking a class online also requires extensive planning and discipline to stay on course. If that sounds like you, read belowfor details on the types of degrees available online, the benefits of an online education and components to evaluate beforecommitting to this track.
Types Of Available Online Degrees
From an associate degree all the way to a doctorate, there are many types programs available online for all types of educationlevels. If you are searching for a bachelor’s degree, you can generally find the most extensive range of online programsassociated with this level of education. For a doctoral degree, it is a little harder to find online programs for all areasof study. In addition to availability, many people worry about how an online degree is seen by potential employers. Thereputability of a degree depends on the institution from which the degree was obtained and whether or not it met certaincriteria, as not all degrees have the same value.
For non-MBA business degrees, Arizona State University is listed as one of the top institutions for their online program.The University of Southern California takes the lead for the best computer information technology (I.T.) program. Once youdecide what subject you want to focus on, you can research the top online programs for that area of study. Find below additionaltips on finding the right online program for you:
- Accreditation is the first thing to check when considering a program at a college or university. An accreditationis given to institutions of higher education who meet high standards set by external auditors. As such, it serves as confirmationfor yourself and potential employers of the quality of education offered at the institution. You can verify an institution’saccreditation through the U.S. Department of Education. They have an online database listing all universities’ accreditedstatus along with the specific program and the date of the accreditation.
- Access to resources like a computer and software is vital when taking online courses, as you are completely dependenton these components to successfully complete your program. Do research on what may be required for your area of study andplan accordingly. If you do not own a computer, compare the cost of buying versus renting one. Getting a membership ina public library is another way to gain regular or free access to a computer. Some colleges even offer laptops for freeor at a discounted price to online students.
- Cost is an important consideration to make when looking to pursue your education online. In addition to the resourcesyou need to complete the course, you must plan out the full cost of the program by itself. In most cases, the cost is cheaperthan in-person courses due to a variety of factors including a shorter completion time. If you’re not able to afford it,it doesn’t mean your goal can’t be accomplished. Look into external sources of funding like scholarships and loans. Additionally,some employers offer tuition reimbursement.
- Online degrees’ return on investment (ROI) is still up for discussion in many academic circles. However, it’s upto you to determine that for yourself. Establish your post-grad goals and do research on available opportunities to evaluateif the ROI is high with the degree you are pursuing. If not, perhaps reconsider the area of study or institution.
- Relationship building can be difficult when your only communication with classmates and faculty is via the internet.When you’re getting a college degree in a classroom, you are able to build relationships with professors and other collegestudents easily as you become more familiar with each other over the years. Online courses are less personable. As such,you will not get the same college experience and interactions with potential mentors and classmates requires more effort.
Getting an online degree has many advantages. From the flexibility to work at your own pace to the lower cost of programs,the online degree is a big draw for many people, especially full-time workers who want to maintain their regular schedules.Before, people had to drop their work life to fully dedicate their time to pursuing an education. With online classes, anyonecan go back to school while maintaining a job and daily responsibilities.
Obtaining an online degree affords you the luxury of going at your own pace. While there are set deadlines, assignments areusually due on a weekly or monthly basis. As such, you can organize your schedule accordingly before courses even start.However, this flexibility can be damaging if you tend to procrastinate. Despite popular belief, online courses are not easierthan in-person courses. It requires a lot of discipline and pre-planning to ensure you are staying on course and advancingon schedule.
Faster Completion Time
Depending on your program and the degree you are pursuing, you could finish faster online than taking in-person courses.The bachelor’s degree is meant to be a four-year program. However, in many institutions, it often takes full-time studentsfive to six years to complete their program due to costs, work obligations and more. Online, the process tends be shortereven if the same material is covered.
Taking courses online is a huge money saver. Gas, parking and other transportation costs are eliminated as you are not requiredto be physically present at one location. You also save on the cost of housing on or near the campus. Furthermore, pursuingan online degree eliminates the need to purchase pens, notebooks and other note-taking tools, as the courses often offerextensive notes and presentations to follow along with the material.