Earning a college degree can open doors for your career while also providing you with new knowledge and skills. But attending classes in person can be challenging, especially for those who work full-time or have other responsibilities. Online learning can offer a more convenient and practical way to pursue higher education. How can you tell if online college is the right choice for you? The following information can help you decide if you should look into online education options.
What Is Online School Like?
Online school involves taking classes in a virtual environment on the internet rather than in a classroom. Students in these programs might watch videos of class lectures or do online learning in other ways. They are also expected to work on class assignments and projects, take exams, quizzes, and tests, and complete other coursework online to earn their degree. Online college provides students with a quality education and helps them learn new skills, just as if they were in a traditional classroom.
Is Online Schooling Better?
Most colleges and universities that offer online programs ensure the quality is comparable to its traditional, on-campus equivalent. However, an online program can offer students more flexibility than an in-person program in various ways. For example, these programs allow more flexibility in students’ schedules, making it easier to keep working while earning a degree. Students in online classes also do not have to drive or find transportation to and from classes. Instead, they can take each online course from the comfort of their home or anywhere they have internet access. This flexibility can make higher education more accessible for some.
Is Online College Harder?
Online college can be more difficult in some ways. For example, some students might find it harder to concentrate on their studies and complete work on time when they are allowed more flexibility and control of their study time. Since they are not seeing their instructors in person, they might find it easier to procrastinate on schoolwork or not get assignments done. Self-discipline and determination are necessary for online school success.
Is Online College Cheaper?
The cost of online college can vary, depending on the school and program you choose. However, online education typically has fewer expenses compared to traditional schooling. With online classes, you do not have to spend money on gas or transportation to travel to and from campus. You might also save money on books and other materials for your classes. Having fewer expenses could mean online school is a cost-effective means of obtaining a higher education.
Are Online Colleges Accredited?
Some online colleges have institutional accreditation, which indicates that the entire school is accredited by a regional or national accreditation group, while some online colleges elect programmatic accreditation, which means that specific programs are accredited. Some online colleges have both types of accreditation. For example, Post University has regional institutional accreditation through the New England Commission of Higher Education and also offers selected programs with programmatic accreditation, such as specific business, nursing, and early childhood education programs.
What Is Needed to Take Online Classes?
Having the right skills can help you overcome the challenges you might face as an online student. While you might already have some of these skills, remember there is always room for improvement. Although you might struggle with other skills, commit to improving them to do well in your online program. To succeed in online school, you should ensure you have or are willing to put in work in the following areas.
1. You Have Strong Time-Management and Organizational Skills
Staying organized and being good at managing your time could help you thrive in online school. Being organized helps ensure you are able to study your notes for tests and exams, work on class projects or other assignments, and do other school-related work without having to spend time gathering supplies or flipping through unorganized notes. Managing your time effectively ensures you meet every deadline for online school, such as assignments or project due dates. Time management skills can also help ensure you have plenty of time to study and prepare for upcoming tests and exams.
2. You Are a Self-Starter
Motivation is a crucial skill for online students. Throughout your online program, you will need to make sure you stay on track with assignments, exams, and other aspects of school. Being a self-starter means you have the initiative to keep up with your learning, work on projects and assignments, and prepare for finals and tests without external encouragement or motivation.
3. You Enjoy the Opportunity to Learn Independently
Taking classes in traditional schooling means that most of your learning happens in the classroom at the instructors’ pace. As an online student, you can learn at your own pace without relying on others as much. While you might need to ask your instructor for help from time to time, the bulk of your learning takes place independently. Online school can be an excellent option for your college degree if you love self-directed learning.
4. You Can Remain Focused in Classes and on Your Studies
Concentrating on classes and assignments can be difficult for some online students. Not being in a classroom means that you might become distracted more easily. To do well in online college, you should be able to stay focused while watching video lectures or working on other assignments. Concentrating on classes and studies is an essential skill as an online student since you will not have an instructor in front of you to keep you focused.
5. You Are Not Afraid to Ask for Help
Although online school involves a high amount of independent learning, you might need help every so often. For example, you might need clarification on the instructions for an assignment or help understanding a particular concept. You should be willing to turn to your instructors for help when needed. You might also look into using other resources available to you as an online student, such as school advisors, online counseling, or virtual study groups.
6. Freedom Is Important to You
An online program offers numerous benefits compared to traditional schooling, including greater convenience and flexibility. With online classes, you have the freedom to go through lectures or other material when it is convenient for you. Online courses mean you do not have to rearrange your schedule, commute to and from school, or take classes at designated times. This gives you much more flexibility and freedom in your day-to-day life, which is an essential advantage if you have other responsibilities, such as full-time work, but is also an important skill to use responsibly.
7. You Enjoy Writing and Virtual Interaction
As an online student, you will not be meeting with your instructors in person, such as during office hours on campus. Instead, you will interact with your instructors and other students in a virtual environment. This usually involves posting on a message board or sending an email, although you might have opportunities to interact through a video chat from time to time. Online college might be right for you if you like to write and can handle virtual rather than in-person interactions.
8. You Are Comfortable with Technology and Have IT Support
To do well in online school, you must be comfortable handling different kinds of technology, such as software programs and apps. You might need to navigate an online platform as your learning environment or participate in online discussions for part of your grade. In addition to being at ease with technology, you should have IT support available. Having an easy way to find help when you encounter problems with software or other technology helps minimize disruptions to your schooling.
9. You Enjoy Networking Online
Networking is not just for traditional schooling. You can also network in a virtual environment, which can help you gain insight into your field or make connections that help your career. Networking online might involve attending the school’s virtual events or online events in your industry. Developing your communication skills for online interactions can help you make the most of these networking opportunities as an online student.
10. You Can Make a Comfortable and Distraction-Free Study Environment
Since you can do your schooling at home instead of in a classroom, make the most of this opportunity. Make sure you have a quiet and comfortable place to study, such as a separate room with a closed door. Otherwise, online learning can be challenging, especially in a noisy or busy environment. Set up a study area in part of your home where no one will interrupt you. This area should have enough lighting and plenty of space for your computer and other school supplies.
Post University online classes are available for associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree programs in several fields. We also offer evening and weekend programs, which are a blend of on-campus and online formats. Don’t hesitate to contact Post University to learn more about our online degree programs or evening and weekend programs.
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Please note jobs and/or career outcomes highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs or career outcomes expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.