Is online education the right next step on the path to your degree? Understanding the similarities and differences between online college education programs and traditional college education programs will help you make that choice. Keep reading and check out the infographic below to see how they compare.
Online and traditional universities are required to go through the same process to be accredited. The US Department of Education recognizes fifteen accreditation groups, which serve all US institutions of higher learning. Accreditation carries the same weight whether the school is in-person or online. Many brick-and-mortar students end up taking online courses to complete degree requirements, proving that the two learning models often provide the right mix in a student's education.
Consider the Cost
If we compare tuition alone, then online universities and in-state brick-and-mortar schools come out relatively similar. But a student attending an in-person university also needs to pay for housing and transportation. The cost of an online university is only tuition and fees, which means when the total cost of education adds up, online degrees often cost much less. Brick-and-mortar programs also often include out-of-state tuition, moving expenses, or the added cost of attending private universities. Additionally, an online degree is a great consideration if you don't have the option of moving to pursue a degree.
Degree Programs and Classes
A common misconception about online education is that there are fewer degree programs offered, or that to get a liberal arts degree one will have to attend a brick-and-mortar institution. Online programs, however, offer a vast array of degree possibilities, whether you want an associate's or a master's degree. Remember, just because a class is online doesn't mean it's easier. Online classes might be accelerated to cover more ground in a shorter period. They are often heavy on reading and writing assignments, and require students to have the discipline to keep to a schedule and get assignments done without the reminder of regular classroom attendance.
Classmates and Student Body
The traditional college experience tends to attract students freshly graduated from high school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 85 percent of all attendees of four-year public and private nonprofit schools are under 25 years of age. The age demographics of online schools, however, are much broader. Due to family, work schedules, time constraints, and financial reasons, many students elect to finish their degrees online instead of attending traditional classes, because online school is easier to fit an already busy life.
Your education is important, whether it's in-person or online. Consider the benefits of online education when deciding how, where, and when to attend school.