Online colleges are more popular than ever. But as with any trend, there are definite pros and cons involved. Before you enroll, weigh the good and the bad and make sure an online education is the right option for you.
The best-known pro is that you can go into class when and where you choose, which makes it a lot easier for people who need to work or take care of their families. It also means that you don't have to drive all the way to a college campus or look for student housing. Another advantage of online college is that you get to learn at your own pace, so if you need more time to reflect on a certain lesson or consider the contributions of other students, then you'll get that time without being rushed into the next part of the lesson.
On the other hand, this flexibility means that students that are less organized or less motivated will find it more difficult to keep up, and no one will help you back on your feet if you end up falling behind. It's for this reason that younger students are usually encouraged to go to a physical location rather than take an online course.
Pro: Better Access to Resources
Online students have greater access to many resources. It can be difficult for an expert in any field to find time to speak to or teach college students, but it's a lot easier to make a video or participate in a live online discussion because there's no need to travel to a campus. Moreover, an online educator can compile a comprehensive list of research materials specifically tailored to an individual student's needs.
Con: Less Social Interaction
One major disadvantage of online colleges is that not physically visiting a campus means less social interaction with teachers, other students, and student groups. Seeing the professor to ask questions after hours can be very informative, and group studies allow you the chance to swap ideas with other students. Neither of these is easily attainable in an online class, although many have online forums.
Con: Potential Lack of Quality
An online college education is only as good as the college in question makes it. Some colleges only consider distance education a way of grabbing more money and won't put in the necessary effort to make online classes work, so you should do your research when looking at colleges that offer these classes. If you think you can handle the pros and cons, you'll receive a good quality education on your own schedule.