Most people are aware that completing a college education entirely or partially online is a possibility these days. However, they may not realize that this decision is one that comes with both benefits and drawbacks. Understanding the full picture is important before enrolling in such a program.
Pro: Creating a Personal Schedule
In the beginning of online classes, students would generally still all have to sign on at the same time. They would often meet in a chatroom setting and discuss the lessons with one another. Now, however, work is completed on a much more independent basis, allowing for tremendous flexibility with the schedule. For example, individuals with full-time jobs could complete their college education online at night.
Pro: Saving Money
While tuition fees are sometimes the same for both in-person and online learning experiences, some of the latter programs are less expensive. Even when the tuition itself is the same, students should consider how an online education can save them money. They won’t need to spend money on gas to commute or on a dorm; also, they won’t have to buy food every time that they are on campus for hours.
Con: Lacking Interaction
Having interactions with students in the cohort and with professors is certainly possible online, but it isn’t the same or as frequent as it would be in person. Some students can still thrive even when they are working entirely independently. In other cases, however, a lack of human interaction could lead to feelings of isolation or missed opportunities to network.
Con: Missing the Campus Life
College is certainly a time when students are supposed to receive an education, but they also have so many opportunities to pursue other experiences on campus and to learn about themselves. When students attend college entirely online, they miss out on those opportunities. On-campus experiences give students the chance to connect and to get to know what their interests are. Having such experiences can also make for a healthy work-life balance later on.
Whether or not to pursue an education online is a personal choice. Students may want to consider a program that allows for some courses to be taken online but that also incorporates elements of a more traditional college experience. Trying a little bit of both at the beginning can help learners decide what they want to do in the long term.