Online course enrollment is on the rise for every type of higher education institution, from public universities to local community colleges. Online colleges are also seeing a rise in enrollment. A US News report states over six million students who are enrolled in either undergraduate or graduate classes, took at least one of their classes online.
It seems these students are finding online college is allowing them to overcome some of the obstacles they faced in attending traditional education only.
If you are considering college, you are most likely reviewing which avenue is best for you. Will attending classes be better for your schedule? Will online courses be more flexible? There are many questions to consider.
Before you make your choice, keep reading. Below are just a few of the challenges online college can solve for you.
Challenge 1: Extra Costs
When you attend traditional college, where you go in-person to a campus, there are costs that pop up that are not seen when you attend online college.
While tuition costs may not vary much, there are other expenses. Some of these include transportation costs like fuel, wear and tear on a vehicle, bus passes, or the burden of asking someone else for a ride. Studying online eliminates this challenge altogether.
You are able to attend college classes from your home, or from a place convenient for you.
Other expenses can include the cost of books and reference materials. Many times, these materials are offered online for a much cheaper cost. Furthermore, time is money. Online courses can save you both.
Challenge 2: Set Class Times
When you go to a college campus for education, you enroll based on the time and day that is convenient for the professor and for the school. Many colleges offer day, evening and even weekend courses, but these still may not fit your schedule.
You may be working a third shift job and caring for family on the weekends. With online college, you choose the courses you want to take and fit them into your schedule, not the other way around. You are able to have flexibility that is not always offered with traditional courses.
Challenge 3: You Must Continue to Work While Going to College
Because online courses are flexible, and allow you to set your own schedule, you can continue to work and earn a living. This is an important factor for many students. Unless you want to build large debt, which most people do not, you will need to be able to maintain employment while going to college.
If attending college at a campus, you may find your work hours conflict with class times. This creates a problem for some who must choose work over class. With online courses, you do not have to choose between the two. You can do both.
Your employer will be happy you don’t need to leave work, and you will be happy you still get to complete the classes you need to graduate.
Challenge 4: Finding Online Courses and Programs Right for You
You may be thinking online courses are limited in what can be offered. You may fear that you will be stuck graduating with a general, liberal arts degree, if you enroll in online college. Just the opposite is true.
Online colleges offer a greater variety of courses and degree programs than many traditional schools, who may have limited faculty or student interest in particular subjects.
Online you can find programs to match your needs, including certificates, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and even doctoral degrees. And these all can be found at accredited online colleges.
Challenge 5: You Fear Classroom Interactions
You are not alone. Many students fear meeting new peers, and worst, speaking in front of a room full of strangers. You may dread the group projects or working in pairs with a student you just met.
This is a fear that has been around for ages and professors are not reducing the number of classroom activities anytime soon. There is hope for those who are shyer than others, however.
Online college is taking away some of this fear while still giving you the opportunity to connect daily with classmates and instructors. In fact, online college may increase your participation in activities because they are not face-to-face encounters.
You are still able to socialize, receive and offer feedback, and join in on group conversations but without the initial fear you may have when attending courses in-person. Many feel they are able to better express their opinions in an online format, and when you can do that, you will gain more from the course.
Challenge 6: You Worry About Being Self-Disciplined Enough to Complete Courses
It is quite normal to have this worry when considering college, either traditional or online. When you enter a college course, you are treated like an adult, even if you are still in your teens. You are expected to show up, learn, and complete assignments.
You must take responsibility for showing up, for learning, and for completing assignments. The same is true whether you are attending college on campus or online.
The good news, you are already proving you can do it. Just take a look at all the other areas in your life where you are successfully responsible. College is not much different. Once you commit to something, you do what it takes to reach your goal.
Challenge 7: You Don’t Know How to Start Online College
The best first step you can take if you decide to choose online college is to reach out to a local college. Most likely, they have online courses that can get you started and that will transfer to higher programs. Do an online search for colleges in your area and use the contact form on their website to reach out for information, specifically the admissions department.
With their help, you can resolve any other challenges or concerns you may have, and you can do it all on your terms.