Choosing between traditional college and an online degree program is a very personal decision. You need to consider your own unique situation. Ask yourself what you want from your educational experience. Understand that there is a major difference between online and on-site college learning.
Online degrees can usually be completed in shorter periods of time. The duration is reduced, because the coursework and class layout is streamlined. Students complete assignments individually. Everything is conducted through an Internet connection. If time is a factor, and you need to get your degree as soon as possible, then an online program can be a very valuable option.
Online degree programs are very convenient. You get to work around your current schedule. Availability is a huge concern for people who want to get a degree. College is a huge time investment that many people cannot afford to make. Working professionals cannot simply take breaks for multiple years at a time. People have responsibilities and commitments. Online degree programs let you keep your commitments, while also giving you a very accessible way to earn a college-level education.
Online degrees are considerably less expensive than traditional college programs. When it comes to your education, money is an object that must be considered. College tuition, books, housing and so forth eat up funds like there's no tomorrow. If you want to invest in a college education, you have to make sure that you can afford it. You have to be certain about what you're doing. Online degrees give you more leeway. You can explore more options without accruing a large financial risk. You can test the waters and find a subject that you like. In the long run, online degrees will cost a fraction of what you would dish out for a traditional college experience.
So online degrees are trade-offs really. In exchange for lost experiences, you get convenience. You don't have the thrill of relocating, or the focus of total collegiate immersion. You exposure to new ideas, people, places and practices will be limited by your Internet connection and web browsing capabilities.
With online degree programs, you won't have the same level of natural interaction and live exchanges. The traditional college support network is replaced by individual motivation and Internet access. The social element is removed from the equation, and all you have to focus on is getting your own stuff done. This can be a motivator or a deterrent, depending on who you are and how you learn.
Balance the pros and cons that are specific to your situation. Do you want prestige and exposure or convenience and affordability? Do you want to learn in a group or private setting? Only you can decide what's best for you. Just be sure to review the situation, figure out a course of action and get to it.
Review more industry related articles by Chris Stout at CareersandEducation.com. Chris Stout is a CareersandEducation.com feature writer that often covers topics relating to Campus and Online Degree Programs and Career Planning.