6 Pros and Cons of Online Degree Programs

Due to the development of technology and the internet, people nowadays can begin or continue their education online. It seems that online courses have never been more popular, and the fact is that you can find almost any program and obtain the degree you desire.

Studying from the comfort of your own home sounds like a dream, right? Yes, it is, and an online degree program comes with numerous benefits. However, at the same time, there are some downsides, too. Before deciding whether or not you should apply for one of these programs, you have to see the full picture, which is why we will provide you with some info you have to know.

What are the pros?

Firstly, we will discuss some positive aspects of getting a degree via an online program. We will mention only some widely-acknowledged ones, which are, at the same time, the reasons people decide to apply for a course.

1. Flexibility

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The biggest benefit of online programs is the fact that they are flexible. What do we mean by this? Well, basically, when you sign up for one, all the learning material will be available to you immediately. You will get all the lessons, books, exercises, and so on. It means that you are the one who decides when it is time to study. Naturally, if you need some extra help, you will have to make an appointment with the teacher, but once again, you will choose the time according to your schedule.

The fact that there isn’t a fixed schedule that has to be followed is the reason why people opt for this type of education. Having a full-time job and taking care of the family takes a lot of your time. Unfortunately, in the past, the desire to continue education wasn’t enough, but today, you have the chance to create your own schedule, to include every task you have to complete, and organize everything the way you want it.

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2. Wide range of programs

Yes, many institutions still don’t offer all the programs for online learning, but there is something even better. When it comes to these, there are no geographical boundaries. It means that you can apply for a course at the college on the other side of the globe. The same thing goes for the economic aspect of it. If you have always wanted to attend a college in a foreign country, the chances are that you would need a lot of extra money. Well, this is an issue that online programs eliminate entirely. Now, all you have to do is find the program, apply for it, and start learning. You should read more to learn how these programs work, get a course list, and so on.

3. It cost-effective

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We have already mentioned the problem of the funds one needs to attend a traditional program. Obviously, these courses aren’t free, but the truth is that you will save a lot of money on other things. First of all, since you won’t have to go to an actual classroom, but instead stay home, you will save a lot of money on commuting expenses and fuel. Similarly, you won’t have to pay for accommodation, food, etc.

Furthermore, as we have already explained, you will receive all the course books via the platform, so you won’t have to pay for hard copies, and we all know how expensive these can be. Finally, if you have children, you won’t have to hire babysitters, since you will be able to organize the studying according to your schedule.

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What are the downsides?

As expected, there are some downsides to this type of education. Depending on multiple factors, these may or may not decide whether these programs are right for you.

1. Discipline

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Personal discipline is a challenge most students face, and in fact, it can be really difficult to overcome it. Yes, school, in general, requires a lot of discipline – you have to attend the classes, do homework and write papers, meet deadlines, etc. Nevertheless, when it comes to a virtual classroom, these requirements aren’t that strict.
Sure, you can choose the time of the day you will go over the course work, but you have to follow your timetable. In this case, discipline is vital because if you began procrastinating and start “skipping classes”, soon you will be overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do. Eventually, you may miss deadlines and end up with low grades and overall score.

2. Lack of 1 on 1 learning

Even though some people would argue otherwise, 1 on 1 learning is still a vital aspect of education. Nothing can top the interaction between a teacher and a student. Sure, you will still communicate with the teacher via email or platform, and their job still is to help you learn, but this method is not as effective as a regular one. When you are in a traditional classroom, you can ask all the questions you have and get the answers immediately. Well, this may not be the case with online degree programs. Depending on the school and teacher, you may have to wait for a few days for them to respond to your email.

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The same thing applies to feedback. It is really important because not only can students use it to improve their skills, but positive feedback motivates them to keep on going with the good work.

3. No college life

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This doesn’t necessarily have to be a downside. If you just want to get your master’s degree, meaning that you went to college, you won’t be missing anything by choosing online courses. On the other hand, if you haven’t done this, this may feel like a significant downside. After all, you won’t be able to meet your classmates, engage in numerous actives, and just have a complete experience of campus life.

Moreover, taking virtual classes can feel quite lonely. Meeting peers this way can be very challenging. Sure, you can chat via email with them, but you may never get the chance to meet them and talk with them unless they live in close vicinity and you set up a meeting. Similarly, finding a study buddy can also be difficult, and having someone by your side to help you with the matter can prove to be quite essential at certain moments.