What are the advantages of online college?

The numbers of students deciding to complete their undergraduate and/or graduate studies via distance learning programs at an online college have grown over the last few decades.  Advantages of online college attendance include transportation savings, time savings and schedule flexibility.  Additionally and because distance learning degrees are offered by accredited colleges and universities many employers respect online degrees the way they respect degrees earned in classroom settings.

Gone are the days when online college is only for working adults or parents of young children.  Recent high school graduates are also opting to register for and complete their undergraduate and/or graduate courses online.  Research studies on distance learning and its effectiveness have been conducted for years.  In fact, Inside Higher Ed reports in its June 29, 2009 “The Evidence on Online Education” article that from 1996 through 2008, more than 1,000 studies have been conducted on the learning method. 

Benefits of Attending Online College

Benefits and advantages associated with taking distance learning courses at an online college include:

  • Ability to focus on college and university courses at a pace that suits your personal learning style
  • Many online colleges and universities accept military financial aid as well as employer tuition assistance
  • Some distance learning schools charge lower course fees if you take virtual classes.  Check with your academic advisor or your school’s business office to find out the difference between online and classroom tuition for courses you want to take.
  • Opportunities to complete college assignments during your lunch break at work
  • No need to search for on campus parking spots
  • Chance to remain indoors during inclement weather and complete your school projects from home
  • Opportunities to take short certificate or diploma courses that complement your job responsibilities, a step that can help you earn promotions at work
  • Ability to transfer credits to other accredited colleges and universities around the country and in other parts of the world
  • Changeable schedule (you decide when you’re going to focus on school and study)

Additionally, most colleges and universities allow you to combine online classes with face-to-face classes.  These combined courses are often referred to as blended college courses.  For example, if you take a course that requires you to complete clinical studies or lots of laboratory projects, you could opt to take these courses in a classroom setting, while you take courses that require heavy amounts of reading and writing from the comforts of your home.

Whether you’re a working parent or a recent high school graduate, attending an online college may offer you the flexibility that you’re looking for.  After all, you can log into online college systems, attend virtual discussions with your professors and classmates and complete classroom projects and assignments on days and times that best suit your personal schedule.  Thanks to the Internet and online libraries, you can also complete research work during your lunch break, before you leave for college internship jobs or after you put your children to bed.

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