College educations come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Online education is one variety that has grown in popularity. The Sloan Consortium, an online education organization, conducts an annual study that showed nearly 20 percent of U.S. college students took at least one online college course in the fall of 2006.
What Is Online Education?
An online education is a class or degree program that takes place via email, message boards or chat room discussions. Most or all interaction with the professors and students is online. Pre-packaged software may be used to deliver class materials and assignments. Other online programs may require occasional on-campus classroom time for exams or lab work. The college offering the courses may be located near you, or on the other side of the country.
College Degrees Available Online
There are many online degree programs available. Some online schools offer two-year associate degrees and certificates in specific careers such as healthcare, business or computer science. Online universities also allow students to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree, an MBA or even a PhD. With a little research you will find the right program for you.
Benefits of Online Education
Convenience. Online courses offer the ability to take classes when and where you want. For adult students who work full time or have family obligations this can be a huge bonus.
Scheduling flexibility. Most college online programs allow you to take as little as one class at a time, meaning you can earn your degree on a timeline that works for you.
Cost. While not always the case, an online degree can be less expensive than a traditional college degree. And, you won’t have the expense of living on campus or commuting to and from classes.
Career-oriented degree programs. Many online college degrees and online college courses focus on career-specific skills which working students can apply on the job immediately.
Drawbacks to an Online College Degree
The College experience. If you are looking for a traditional campus experience complete with dorm life and football on Saturday, an online degree might not be right for you.
Perception of online degrees. Many online universities are as respected as their “bricks-and-mortar” counterparts. However, some future employers might be less impressed by an online degree versus a traditional one.
Writing skills required. Pursuing an online education will require written communication with your teachers and fellow students through emails or chat room postings. Weak writing skills may place you at a disadvantage.
Independent learning. Many students thrive on independent work and don’t want or need in-person attention and reminders. Other students will not fair so well in such an environment. Be sure you have the self-discipline and initiative to be successful in an online program.
Is Online Education Right for Me?
You have many options to consider in your college search. If you are already considering night classes or weekend classes, it makes sense to consider online college classes [http://www.cappex.com/page/quickOptions/index.jsp] as well. Think about your goals, your personal situation and what kind of college experience you want. If a virtual classroom is right for you, do your research to learn about the many options out there. Whether you’re a recent high school grad or a busy professional looking to further your career, there’s probably an online program that’s a good fit for you.