I loved my first two years of college. After graduation, I stayed local and went to a community college along with some of my friends. I eventually graduated early and decided to spend a semester doing a paid internship in Florida. The only way I could really stay on track and follow my dreams was to go to school online. I’m currently two semesters in and it has given me a chance to embrace some amazing opportunities. However, getting a degree online is not the “easy way out” most people think it is. With that being said, here are my top pros and cons of pursuing a degree online:
Probably one of the most beneficial parts of going to school online is the fact that you can choose exactly when you want to do your work. This frees up your day to work more hours, spend time with family and friends, or have some you time.
2. Work at Your Own Pace
Most online classes will have everything due at the end of the module (which is usually Sunday). That means instead of having random assignments due at random times throughout the week and having to study for three tests on Thursday or have two essays due by Tuesday, you can decide throughout the week what you want to do and when you want to do it.
3. Learning in the Comfort of Your Home
Listening to lectures is never fun, but being at home makes learning a little easier. Instead of being stuck in a classroom or lecture hall full of people, you can listen or read them on your couch in pajamas, wrapped in a blanket while eating McDonald's - and no one can tell you that you can’t.
4. Easy Registration
My least favorite part of starting any new semester was having to speak with my advisor, look through the course catalog to see what was available and could work with my work schedule, then having to get in to register the minute classes became available. With online classes, advisors are typically willing to communicate through email or phone as needed and after that, all you have to do is pick whatever class sounds good to you.
5. Low Cost
It is no secret that college is expensive, and with a college education becoming more valued in the workforce, the majority of millennials are doomed to be up to their eyebrows in debt by the time they graduate. This is part of the reason why taking the “alternative route” of online classes has become increasingly popular through the years. Most online programs are fairly affordable and will save you a lot of financial stress later in life.
6. Access to Course Information
Are you not so great at paying attention in class or maybe not the best note taker? No worries. With online classes, you literally have the lecture on your laptop which can be a lifesaver when it comes to writing papers and taking tests/quizzes. This equals better grades and higher GPA’s.
1. Lots and LOTS of Writing
Because you are not actively going to class every day, you need to show that you are learning from the course material. How do they do that? Writing… And a lot of it. If it’s not a discussion board it’s a weekly written assignment. If you are taking a full course load, that’s about 4-5 essays a week. It’s not as difficult as it sounds surprisingly, but if you are not someone who enjoys writing, then you may have to go to class.
2. Little to No Interaction with Professors
I was never someone who was afraid to ask my instructors questions when I was lost but with online classes, you either have to try to figure it out on your own or wait for an e-mail response from your professor (and no one knows how long that can take).
Being able to decide when you want to get all your work done can be really convenient but it can also be really easy to fall victim to procrastination. Some weeks I am able to follow a certain schedule to distribute my workload evenly and other weeks I’ve been stuck writing four essays during my weekend.
5. Little Peer Interaction
One of the things I miss most about going to class is the people. On the one hand, getting into groups and telling each other a “fun fact about yourself” is my actual nightmare. But, on the other hand, there is something very satisfying about making friends with the person who sits behind you because they also forgot that the project was due this week.
6. No College “Experience”
The thing I miss the most is meeting up with people in between classes, grabbing a coffee, and going to the library to study. There’s something very sad about giving that up to type on a computer alone all day long. College is a very fun, stressful, and emotionally developmental time in a young adult’s life and some people feel as if they need the experience more than the degree, which is perfectly normal.