Prospective students considering an online degree may be worried if they will miss out if they go to college online. In some cases, this concern is justified, although in others it may not be. It largely depends on an individual student’s preferences, needs, and abilities. Here are some of the most important factors to consider.
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Interpersonal Socializing Will Be Affected
There is no way around the fact that students attending college online will only marginally interact with others in their school’s community. They will not live in dormitories and thus not experience dorm life, nor will they have many, if any, opportunities to meet other students outside of the classes they are taking. That all being said, students who attend classes online but live near their college may still be able to go out and socialize at either official events or at popular off-campus locations. Students attending a college across the country will only be able to interact with anyone at the school digitally. Depending on how a student feels about these realities, they may or may not feel as though they have missed out on some integral part of the college experience.
Some Students Just Want Their Degree
Many of the students pursuing a degree online don’t really care about getting a traditional college experience. In fact, that may be one of the main reasons they are going to school online. This is especially true for non-traditional students who have families or work during the day, and therefore need the flexibility inherent in an online degree. They may simply want to complete their degree as quickly as possible and have no interest in joining a campus community, as is often expected in a more traditional college experience. Some students may simply want to focus on their classwork and not be distracted by socialization, or they may be incredibly shy. Whatever the reason, some students will not feel as though they will miss out if they go to college online.
Employers Are More Accepting Of Online Degrees
Another valid concern is whether a graduate will miss out on job opportunities because of their online degree. While it used to be true that employers were incredibly biased against online degrees because of their perceived low quality, this is no longer the case. Many traditional, non-profit, fully accredited institutions now offer online degrees and in many cases, employers cannot know a degree was obtained online unless the candidate discloses that information. Students who attend college online at a respected and accredited school are not likely to miss out on potential opportunities.
Professors who teach online classes still want to see their students succeed and will make themselves available when needed. They often maintain online office hours just as they would when teaching an in-person class and can be reached in a variety of communication methods based on a student’s preference. Most online colleges offer substantial student resources as well, such as tutoring, career services and more. In fact, according to Forbes, most students studying online live near their schools anyway and can, therefore, take advantage of resources offered at a physical location. A student is unlikely to miss out on educational help if they attend college online, although they may need to be more proactive about reaching out.
Attending college online is a different experience than doing so in-person. The better option for each individual will depend on a variety of factors. Many students do not need to worry that they will miss out if they go to college online.