The Truth About Online College

  • Online College Requires Just as Much Time
  • Some Classes May Have Real-Time and On-Campus Attendance Requirements
  • The Quality of Online Instruction is Comparable to Traditional Instruction
  • Online Learning Isn’t for Everyone
  • Procrastination is the Enemy

Online college degree programs are increasingly popular. They are favored by many students because of the freedom and flexibility that they promise. However, many misconceptions regarding how online classes work continue to persist. If you are debating the merits of distance learning, then you’ll want to know the five things that nobody tells you about Internet-based classes.

1. Online College Requires Just as Much Time

People mistakenly assume that college classes online won’t require as much time as traditional classes. However, the opposite is often true. While an online class may not have a designated meeting time each week, students still have to spend time in “class” where they participate in discussions. Additionally, it’s realistic to expect to have to put in the same amount of time for reading and completing assignments as is required in traditional classes.

2. Some Classes May Have Real-Time and On-Campus Attendance Requirements

Although many online college degrees can be earned wholly online without ever visiting campus, others have different requirements. An on-campus orientation may be mandatory, and some programs require that students attend campus at least once per term. Others may not require any campus visits, but still stipulate that students must attend virtual class at a set time each week. This can be inconvenient for students living in a different time zone. Before enrolling in online college classes, be sure to ask about any real-time or on-campus attendance requirements.

3. The Quality of Online Instruction is Comparable to Traditional Instruction

While there are degree mills that churn out academic credentials for little more than a certain sum of money, reputable online schools demand considerable time and effort from students. These programs feature well-qualified instructors who are experts in their respective fields. Classes are known for providing academic rigor, which means that students know they are earning a worthwhile degree that will be recognized and respected by peers and prospective employers. Ensure that any online degree program that you consider is fully accredited before you enroll,

4. Online Learning Isn’t for Everyone

Many colleges and students are terrifically enthusiastic about their online degree programs. They may offer a quality education, but that doesn’t mean that every learner is suited to this format. Some people who have tried online classes find that they feel isolated and unable to connect with their instructor or fellow students. Others lack the self-motivation or time-management skills that such independent learning requires. Before jumping into an online degree program with both feet, spend some time reflecting on whether your personality and tendencies are right for online learning. Consider trying a free Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, to test the waters.

5. Procrastination is the Enemy

If you like to wait until the last minute to hand in an assignment or take a test, then you may need to alter your approach with online classes. Most instructors don’t accept loss of Internet connection or other technological malfunctions as excuses for not getting work completed on time. The earlier you turn in assignments, the less likely you are to encounter last minute hurdles like an unexpected Internet outage. Staying ahead of deadlines is paramount.

More well-respected institutions are offering online degree programs than ever before. While a growing number of students is enrolling in these courses, many of them come into the process with several misconceptions. When you are aware of the five things that nobody tells you about online college, you will be able to make a better decision about whether or not this learning method is right for you.