If you’re a working professional, have family commitments, financial complexities, or don’t happen to live near a university, studying might feel out of reach. It is well known that academic qualifications can unlock a whole new world of opportunities, whether it’s a promotion at work, a new career, or even just the chance to pursue your passions.
In today’s technologically-driven world, there’s a great solution for those who wish to attend college but physically can’t—studying online. There are lots of online colleges to choose from, offering courses from diplomas and associate’s degrees all the way up to master’s and beyond. In this article, we explore 10 reasons why people are choosing to study online today.
The great thing about learning online is that it doesn’t matter where you are. You can access courses from universities and educational institutions around the world regardless of your physical location! This means you have your pick of the best online colleges and can choose one that suits you in more ways than just being nearby.
Lots of universities across the United States, and even globally, are now offering online degrees. It also means you won’t need to travel or even move to attend your classes. Learning is accessible to more people, including those who don’t have the means or the time to change location.
Most online degrees will contain a mix of recorded lectures, online reading material, assignments for emailing in or uploading, and discussion forums. You can access these on your mobile, tablet, or laptop, making your learning completely portable. This means you can study whenever you’ve got a bit of free time, and from any location, whether that’s in your car waiting for the kids, in a coffee shop in between appointments, or in your kitchen.
Studying on the go can make learning more suitable for a busy lifestyle as you can fit it into your existing schedule rather than needing to make drastic changes.
If you’re looking for a promotion or career change, achieving your qualifications quickly may be a high priority. Luckily, with an online course, you can often work at your own pace rather than needing to fit into a rigid semester system. If you’re able to dedicate more time to the course, you may be able to speed through some of the content, meaning your qualification will be achieved more quickly than if you pursued traditional, in-person teaching.
Additionally, you may be able to pick your start date according to what fits your personal schedule (depending on the structure of the course), rather than needing to wait weeks or even months to begin, another reason that studying online can get you to your goals faster.
On the other hand, if you’re short on spare time, you might choose to extend your period of study. Again, not being tied into the regular semester system can give you more space to study part-time and still keep up with existing commitments.
With technology at the heart of studying online, you’ll be able to learn in a variety of ways that can make it easier to digest complex information. Most online degree courses will use recorded lectures or custom-made videos, which can be a really engaging way to absorb new ideas. Reading material may come in the form of eBooks or downloadable articles.
You may also be able to engage with other learners via a discussion board or forum or give feedback on each other’s work remotely. Some tutors will even use live classes on video-calling platforms, so you can have real-time conversations with your teacher and peers. These up-to-date ways of learning can be more exciting and engaging than just sitting in the library.
It can be intimidating as an adult learner to walk into a classroom full of teenagers. Luckily, with online universities, any level of study is open to anyone, no matter your age or life situation. Whether you want to start at a more basic level with a diploma or associate’s degree, get your undergraduate qualification with a bachelor’s degree, or go further in your subject with a master’s degree, you can select the level of study that’s right for you.
Online accredited colleges can be a great way to get an accredited qualification. This is a qualification that has been quality-checked by the Department of Education (Office of Postsecondary Education) or the Council of Higher Education Accreditation.
Not only does this stamp of approval show that the course is well-organized and contains a high level of useful content, but it should take you further in your career. Accredited qualifications tend to be recognized as good quality.
If you are studying at your own pace, without the pressure of in-person teaching, you will need to develop and hone your soft skills to be able to complete your course. For example, you will need to be very disciplined, flexible, and adaptable to keep up with your studies and incorporate them into your life. In addition, you will learn how to organize your time and schedule of commitments.
These soft skills look great on your resume and could serve you well in your career and for the rest of your life.
When learning something new, simply watching lectures or reading an article once might not cement the information. The beauty of having all your material available remotely is that you can review it as much as you like. Missed the main point? Rewatch all or part of the video or audio content.
You can also take electronic notes or snippets and organize them in the way that suits you. This way of learning can be adapted to your needs so you can review everything at your own pace.
The best online colleges offer lots of remote support for students. For example, you might be assigned a remote tutor who can answer your questions by email or over a video call. Some colleges also offer career support from a dedicated adviser, and you may be able to get help from a librarian or tech team.
This remote support means you can access it wherever you are, without needing to travel to the campus to connect with someone. Additionally, you may be able to get help out of standard hours, or schedule calls for a time that suits you, enabling you to work around your existing commitments.
One of the strongest selling points for an online degree is the cost. In-person education can be expensive because of the overheads involved in running an actual college campus, or extra fees like books, parking, or living expenses.
Online courses don't have all of these overheads, plus they can generally enroll more people to share the cost of teaching and admin support. This can lead to online degrees costing thousands or even tens of thousands less than in-person counterparts.
If you're ready to pursue online study, compare the best online college sites using our chart above and choose the one that suits you best.