We’ve all seen the commercials and advertisements for online universities that help those with busy schedules and families earn their degree. For those that work full-time or have kids, going to a brick and mortar college can seem out of the realm of possibility, but these online schools offer a flexibility that they could more easily weave into their lives. The big question is, does this kind of education really live up to the hype?

Advantages

Flexibility

Being able to start up on a course and stop when something comes up in your life is an obvious advantage. When you have to miss classes because your child is sick or you just plain can’t make a class because of a work obligation, you’re going to fall behind in your course schedule. With an online education, all you need is a working computer, wifi connection, and some free time when it’s convenient for you.

Some programs let you work at your own pace and others require that you log in a certain set of hours every week in order to be considered present in the class. If you do sign up for an online program, make sure you know exactly what’s expected of you in terms of participation.

 

Variety of Subjects

Online colleges have a wide variety of disciplines for you to choose from, which can be hard to find from a traditional college. For many students that have a specialized interest, attending a college in that subject could mean traveling to a different city to learn it, but with online education, you can learn in your own home.

Disadvantages

Lack of Structure

While online education has the flexibility you may need for your schedule, it definitely isn’t for everyone because it lacks a sense of structure that comes with traditional education. If you lack motivation or struggle to keep motivation in the long-term, online education may not be the route for you.

 

Lack of Contact with Professor

When attending a traditional college, you have the ability to meet with your professor at various times throughout a given week. Depending on the institution and professor of an online school, you could be hard-pressed to get one on one time with the professor because they have so many students and are tougher to reach.

Before making the leap to online education, you need to consider all of your options and speak with admissions representatives in several schools. You also need to know what discipline you’re going for and make sure the college you choose, online or otherwise, has a solid program for you. Talk to your friends and colleagues to see if they have any recommendations or have heard of a program you might be interested in. There may be a college you weren’t aware of that offers an adult degree program.