When adults are considering going back to school or even choosing to further their education right after high school, they often ask themselves one important question: is an online college right for me? The answer depends on what you want from the experience and what you are willing to put into your education.
Before choosing an online college, you need to think about how much interaction you want to have with your professors and with your fellow students. For some college students, making these personal connections is an important part of furthering their education. They love the idea of meeting for study sessions, visiting their professor in his or her office after class with a question, or being able to have lively in-class discussions with their peers. These are not things you are likely to experience in an online college environment.
That doesn’t mean you will be completing your courses in total isolation. Modern tools allow you to communicate via the Internet in many ways with professors and students but because of diverging schedules you may not get the same amount of discussion.
For some students who are wondering “Is an online college right for me?” the answer comes down to an issue of variety. Students who look forward to college because they want to take a wide range of courses and expand their knowledge in several different areas while pursuing their degree may be disappointed by the number of different courses available in some programs. To meet the needs of the programs, most of the courses offered are specifically geared towards the completion of degrees so you won’t find many courses available to match your other interests. However, many busy adults prefer this approach so they don’t get bogged down in classes that aren’t directly relevant to their fields.
How you see the issue of course choice affects whether or not you should choose an online education program.
College costs are going up all over the country. If you are on a tight budget, you’ll find the lowest cost tuition at public and community colleges and universities. Online colleges tend to charge more because of their convenience and because they are primarily targeting professionals who want to take their education further.
The good news is that financial aid is available for most of these online colleges if they are accredited and if you are attending at least half-time. Of course, you will also be saving on transportation and possibly on housing by choosing the online option. You’ll need to factor in all of these issues to figure out whether an online or offline college makes the most financial sense for your needs.
The bottom line is that only you can answer “Is an online college right for me?” Take a deep look at yourself and what you want from your education to decide what works best for you.