The world around us is literally changing in the blink of an eye and more Americans are headed back to school in today’s era than ever before in the history of our great nation. Of course, before we have one of those general feel-good moments here, it would probably be fair to point out that so many adults are going back to school because the previous employer went out of business or laid them off during corporate downsizing. Finding a job in America is quite a challenge right now and the few who are getting hired for those great careers all have one thing in common- they are college graduates.
So what does this have to do with online college, you ask? Almost 90% of all students returning the college are doing it through a virtual classroom. There are many reasons for their decision to attend an online university (about 20 of them, in fact) and we will go through each of them below-
1. Traditional Colleges Are Not Made for Adults
The concept of taking night classes sounds awesome; all a parent has to do is get up at 6 AM to get the kids to school, then run a few quick errands, then work for 8 to 9 hours, then run home to cook dinner, just so they can be seated behind their desks by the 7 PM class time. Then they get to drive home, make sure everyone else is ready for tomorrow, complete a few hours of homework, and get about four hours sleep before the next day begins.
Doesn’t this sound awesome? The bad news is that this is by far the best scenario for a working adult and it’s why they are flocking to online colleges by the millions each year.
2. Traditional Colleges Are Definitely Not Made for Kids Either
Then again, picture being a college student in today’s society- there are frat houses and parties everywhere, tons of extra-curricular activities, something always going on inside the dorm, and the sudden phase where young ladies across the US are dressing like they’re about to go rollerblading on the Ft. Lauderdale strip. Even students who leave home perfectly focused and committed to a college education struggle their first year college; that’s why the nationwide freshman dropout rate is nearly 40%.
3. There is No One to Impress but You
Then again, maybe you have this idea that college is not supposed to be about three keg parties and streaking across the quad while people laugh at you. Believe it or not, you’re not even close to being alone in those thoughts because attending a traditional University creates all kinds of pressures that simply have no place inside learning institution.
When you attend college online, there is literally no one to impress but yourself. Sure, you’ll probably want to make your instructors proud, but at the same time you’ll be happy to know that you will not have to dress up, make social appearances, or even attend a single campus event. Instead, you go to online college in order to enhance other parts of your life in the near future without sacrificing too much of the present.
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4. Online College Students Tend to Graduate
Online colleges have about half the overall dropout rate and none of the peer pressure mentioned in the above example exists at all. In fact, since the student is remaining at home with no major lifestyle changes, good high school students are almost guaranteed to remain good college students. They will still take plenty of time for play and goofing off but then again, they did it in high school too and did just fine. Mom and dad will see to that.
5. Online College is A Streamlined Education
Curriculum advisers at online colleges have one specific task; design a program where students can learn efficiently, receive all of the required knowledge, and graduate as quickly as possible. Sure, it makes more sense financially to go the traditional route and for students to take three humanities electives, two physical education courses, and several other classes that have absolutely nothing to do with their major; that’s not what only college is about. Every part of the learning experience is designed for efficiency and results…not profits.
6. Distance Learning Classes are Convenient
Imagine this- Its final exam day and somehow your alarm clock doesn’t go off. Your college is all the way the other side of town and it’s raining like cats and dogs outside. You’re two hours late. Just getting to the campus is going to be a nightmare and you do not even have time to grab a decent breakfast. Then again, food is practically the last thing on your mind because all you can think of is how you’re going to beg and plead with professor just to be able to take the final exam in the first place. Of course, with all of this stress you’ll probably choke on it anyway…
Now let’s replay the same scenario in an online classroom. You wake up two hours late but it really doesn’t matter because the instructor said that you can log on anytime today and take the final exam. So you’re probably little upset about being a behind but most of that frustration is gone after the third waffle that was buried under all that Maple syrup. Even if you couldn’t actually take the exam on the required day at all, online instructors are far more flexible with their students because most of them are working individuals with plenty of responsibilities on top of their studies. There’s a good chance that you be allowed to reschedule without any hassles whatsoever.
7. No More Long Commuting at Today’s Gas Prices
Seriously, does an afternoon commute back and forth in rush-hour traffic really sound like the best way to prepare for learning? Over 90% of today’s college students say that the commute alone was reason enough for them to check out online alternatives at their University. Once they completed their first course, realized how much easier it was and how much time they saved by being able take the classroom home, the vast majority of them actually look for online classes and take them whenever possible.
8. Online Classroom Modules Organize Everything
Imagine stepping into class on the very first day of the semester and knowing when every test will be, when assignments and term papers will be due, and exactly what will be expected of you throughout the course. Online classrooms are fantastic because everything is organized and in one place…on your computer screen. All of your notes can be taken online and since the lectures are usually recorded and downloaded, they can actually be watched again when it comes time to study. Once you take your first class online, the old traditional methods will really seem outdated and unproductive.
9. Talk About Affordable…
There’s a big debate over the cost college and many argue that it is unfair for online college classes to cost about the same as traditional ones. If you look at it from a motivated student’s standpoint, however, the math starts to look really appealing. Almost all of the state and federal financial aid is available for distance-learning students plus there is no added cost for on-campus housing or those overpriced apartments that are located just a few blocks away. Online college students spend an average of 40% less when all is said and done with at graduation and that kind of math is difficult to argue with.
10. An Actual Support Staff
For some students, one of most appealing aspects of attending online college is their peer advisor. This is normally the person that helps them enroll for the first time and answers any questions that the student may have over taking classes, using the online classroom or anything else that may come to mind. This person remains available to the student all the way up until the graduation several years later and many students talk about their advisor as if he were a favorite uncle or cousin. That simply does not happen on traditional campuses.
11. There are No Distractions in Online College
We’ve already touched on this a little better earlier; there is simply too much going on at any given college to take the student’s focus away from their actual studies. There is a great reason for this too; college campuses are massive in size and I have tons of overhead for various departments. In fact, many colleges have hundreds of employees that have absolutely nothing to do with teaching at all, and there’s only one place that their salary can come from- the student. Online colleges are not built on this philosophy and they make every aspect of the college experience promote learning.
12. Attend Online Classes Anytime
One little tidbit that a lot of people do not know about online college is that there are usually a few weekly classes for each subject and the student is free to view these lectures at their convenience. That means if the instructor speaks live to the classroom on Monday and Wednesday mornings but you would rather wait Thursday night to view them, in most cases that’s perfectly acceptable. Online college was designed to let busy individuals attend college classes on their own terms and for working parents, this is a true Godsend.
13. Say Goodbye to Textbooks!
There are few things in life more offensive than a college professor demanding that each student purchase 2-3 textbooks for his classroom only to never once reference them in any way, shape, or form on the actual tests. Of course, if you ask one of them then they will surely tell you that, ‘it is in the student’s best academic interest to read these volumes for additional clarity,” but we all know what I do happening to them… they go straight back to the bookstore at a loss (for the student) of 30 to 50%. Most online colleges do not use textbooks that all; all additional study materials are available through the school website.
14. Learn and Graduate at Your Speed
Another great thing about taking college classes online is that many schools offer accelerated curriculums that can offer courses lasting anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks. That may not sound like a big difference from a traditional semester but when those couple weeks here and there are added up over your entire stay at the college, it can cut years off of a formal education.
15. You Just Can’t Beat That Home-Cooking
Besides the massive cost savings and all the other benefits that students enjoy when they attend college of their hometown, it is almost impossible to not get just a little bit excited about the food. Even though mom may not be the best cook in the world, take our word for it that it sure beats the heck out of four long years of fast food and wasted calories. There is a reason why there is a massive obesity problem in America today and many people start to embrace the McDonald’s lifestyle as a college freshman.
16.Students Actually Get to Know Their Instructors
One of the neater things about distance learning is that many instructors hand out their e-mail address and/or their phone number to students on the very first their class and they actually expect their pupils to contact them whenever something comes up. What’s even more surprising is that a large portion of the instructors check their e-mail and real-time and get messages back to students within an hour or less during the workday. This is literally unheard of on any traditional college campus.
17. Build Friendships Based Around Education
We all have friends that we think fondly of from college but chances are better than average that we remember them not for acing a calculus exam but for something they did that made us laugh ourselves silly. Inside the online classroom, students communicate back and forth inside chat rooms and on message boards so there is a high level of interaction. Most online universities will require a number of group projects as well. Since you’ll likely be with the same group of students throughout your time there, you’ll probably get to know several of them extremely well. The difference, of course, is that you remember your fellow students as academics and call on them later in life for things like job opportunities or problem-solving.
18. Hit the Job Market Faster
Let’s be honest for a moment; if you could start your dream job tomorrow without attending college at all, then there is absolutely no way that you would even consider reentering the classroom. The only goal that you probably have for college at this time is to graduate, and luckily for you online college students hit the job market a lot faster than their traditional counterparts. Why spend four years in school when you graduate in two and a half?
19. Online Degrees Impress Employers
Besides, nowadays employers actually enjoy seeing applicant that has obtained an online degree because in their minds, they see someone who worked through diversity in order to obtain their goals. When compared to the average 23 year old who stayed drunk through their first three years of college, there is little doubt over which person will get that interview.
20. Technology Matters
It really doesn’t matter if you want to become a mechanic or a marine biologist; you’re going to be working with a computer system and learning a completely new set of software programs. That will not be too much of a big deal for online graduates, however, because they just spent several years sitting behind a computer and learning a whole treasure trove of information from a professor that was thousands of miles away. Employers prefer online graduates because, more often than not, they are comfortable technology and eager to take on new challenges.