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Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Colleges

Pros and Cons

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Colleges

Education is the key to discovering fulfilling and challenging career opportunities. Especially considering the state of the national economy and the competitive nature of the workforce, additional education is often necessary for advancement. New college graduates entering the workforce are more than three times as likely to be hired as those without a college degree. Recruiters are generally seeking to hire employees that have proven their dedication and commitment to a project by obtaining a college degree.

For those individuals who have not earned an undergraduate degree, there is no time like the present! What are some obstacles that hindered your past decision to return to school? Maybe your work schedule was not flexible enough to take daytime classes. Perhaps your family needed your presence in the evenings. Or, maybe you do not live close enough to a university to make the commute. All of these scenarios represent a definite reality for someone who would otherwise be enrolled in school at this moment. However, they are only disadvantages to attending a traditional college campus. A different opportunity to earn a degree is available and becoming increasingly more popular.

A common misconception of online education is that it is easier than traditional learning. There is no easy way out, and anyone who received an online degree will confirm that if anything, aspects of online colleges are more difficult than traditional colleges. While online students do have the flexibility of taking classes on their own terms, they often have to squeeze in study time under less than ideal conditions. For example learning during soccer games, while cooking dinner, checking homework, or during the morning commute does not lend itself to an easy degree.

Taking classes online is quickly becoming the fastest growing sector in the field of education. However, there are few key things to keep in mind before enrolling. Going to an online college is not harder or easier than traditional college, but there are some important differences…

Online colleges offer the flexibility to meet the demands of work or family life and still make time to earn a degree. Taking the pressure off working adults to choose between an education and a family has empowered countless people to finally obtain the degree in the major of their dreams! Most online colleges offer the same catalog of courses as their traditional counterparts, and have generally the same accreditation and entrance requirements. However, you can take classes and complete assignments according to your schedule. If you need to review a lecture at 2:00am, update notes in your pajamas, or interact with your classmates during your daily public transportation commute, you can!

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to obtaining a degree online:

Advantages of Online Colleges:


One of the main reasons people choose to use online colleges is because of the flexible schedule options. You can typically access these programs on your own schedule, allowing you to work around work or other obligations. It also means you can typically complete a program at your own speed. Courses are always there when you are, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Students can incorporate their homework and classes into their hectic schedules when it’s convenient for them.


Another reason people use online colleges is because they are convenient. You can study anywhere you have Internet access. This means that you can do your work when you are at home or when you’re traveling.


Online colleges differ in tuition costs, but on average, they are cheaper than traditional schools. This is because you do not need to pay for the extra fees involved with a traditional campus – computer lab, gym, parking, etc. You also do not have a requirement to live in a dorm, do not need a meal plan, and you do not have to pay for transportation costs.

Professor relationships

When you are relying on e-mail and online material as the main form of communication with your professor, the accessibility in communication tends to be much better. Written responses in the form of e-mail are usually much better thought out and less off the cuff with typical teacher/student conversations in a classroom setting.

More resources

Again, since you are relying on your education from the Internet and online tools provided by the school, they offer more resources and guidance to enhance and support your learning potential.

A unique experience

When dealing with online classrooms, some ingenuity is required on the professor’s part. They take the time to structure their curriculum based on this environment, making it much more engaging and effective for students.


Disadvantages of Online Colleges:


If you are attending a traditional school there might be a lot of distractions around, as college life is new and exciting. Sometimes, these distractions prevent students from completing their work or getting good grades. An online college might be a good option for you if distractions get in the way, and allow you to focus exclusively on your education.

Online students must show even more discipline to complete reading and homework assignments. They must also be very professional when discussing subjects with peers and professors, since all communication in an online environment is in written form. Because of these and other obvious distractions, online learners may have a more difficult time adjusting to college and enforcing their own study habits. However, with a realistic plan, a little preparation and an understanding family unit, they can be very successful.

Choosing to attend an online university would not be the best option if you are not self-motivated and not disciplined enough to work on your own. This is an important skill to have when you’re tempted to push homework or classes to the side in order to make time for family, work, or hobbies.


Sometimes people who take online classes have a hard time becoming motivated because they do not have the day-to-day interaction with students and professors to keep them “in the work zone.” You may also feel isolated taking online classes, as you do not have peers to work with and see every day.


Unfortunately, online colleges do not typically encourage socialization. Many people believe that the socialization that happens at a traditional college is almost as important as the educational aspect. If you take an online degree program, consider enrolling in activities or organizations around your town so that you can get some socialization.

Admittedly, college is not easy and taking classes online is not meant to be an easy experience. In fact, some students find it more challenging because of the self-discipline required. Online colleges are designed for self-motivated and responsible individuals who have a true desire to create a better life through education. Students who choose this venue must be willing to work hard on their own time, without the threat of a tough professor breathing down their neck. They must be willing to dedicate the time necessary to review material and complete assignments.

Online students must also be willing to communicate openly with their professors and fellow students. Even in a virtual classroom, there will be lessons that are more difficult than others, and in order to succeed, online students must be able to ask questions to ensure understanding. However, by putting forth the effort and determination to succeed, students who choose to pursue their education are richly rewarded. Of course there are benefits in the workplace, but the more important reward comes from the satisfaction of achieving an important goal.

Sole reliance on technology

There is a reason why technology is sometimes referred to as a double-edged sword. If your computer happens to break or malfunction, this can affect your ability to attend class and complete assignments.

Computer skills

You might be able to type 100 words per minute, but you’ll need more than typing skills for online courses. If you are not computer savvy, this might hinder your success in obtaining on online degree.

As you can see from these examples, online education is not the best fit for every individual. If you are considering attending an online university, weigh up all your options and be honest with yourself regarding your level of dedication and commitment. There are many online colleges to choose from, and one or more is bound to meet your specific needs and educational plan. However, choosing to pursue your education and even choosing a college are only half the proverbial battle. The success in completion is going to be an individual accomplishment.

Whether you choose to enroll in an online college or a college with a campus, weigh your options heavily before making your decision. Use these pros and cons of earning your degree online as a guide while also taking into account your own personal preferences, learning styles, and current situation.