In just a few short years, online universities have gone from being relatively unknown to exploding in growth and popularity. Even so, the average person’s knowledge about online education is fairly limited. Here are some things you may not know about the world of online education.
Time is of the Essence
You can often earn your degree in a much shorter time than is possible at some traditional universities. A bachelor’s degree at a traditional university that usually takes four years to complete, with some hard work and determination, can occasionally be completed in two years through an online university.
Looking for a quality education at an affordable price? At some schools, online courses can be less expensive per credit hour. That online business degree might just be a whole lot cheaper than you originally thought.
Your Studies Aren’t Limited
You can get advanced degrees online—online universities often offer more than just associates or bachelor’s degrees. It’s possible to earn master’s degrees through many online universities.
A 2009 study from the Department of Education found that students taking all or some of their courses online tend to perform better than their traditional peers. (Source: U.S. Department of Education Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning)
Scholarships and Loans Still Available
Scholarships and federal loans can be used to pay for tuition at online universities that are properly accredited and choose to participate, enabling students to pay for their online degrees using the same sources as students at traditional universities.
A Popular Option
Student enrollment in online courses is growing and shows no sign of slowing down. There was a 21% growth rate in enrollment for online courses from 2008 to 2009, compared with the 2% growth in the overall higher education student population (Source: Class Differences: Online Education in the United States, 2010).
Degree Programs Offered in Growing Industries
The two most popular online degree programs are Business Administration and Early Childhood Education. Not surprisingly, all of these fields are expected to grow in the next few years. (Source: Top 20 Online Degree Majors Identified by EducationDynamics’ 2010 eLearning Index)
Socialization Is Not Lost
Many may think that a traditional degree program is the only real way to get the full “college experience,” but a similar social experience in college is available when attending an online university. Advancements in technology allow for peer-to-peer as well as student to teacher communications to take place via chat or webcam. Social networks give students great opportunities to connect. You might miss out on the dorm life and party scene but considering the many advantages of an online degree all is not lost.
Attending a traditional university is sometimes difficult for adults who have family and work commitments. Many individuals have found that online learning enables them to more effectively juggle family and work responsibilities. Online learning allows you to work at your own pace, multi-task and attend to your studies at all hours of the day.
Retain More Information
Arguably one of the prime myths in online learning is that, when compared to traditional institutions, the degree you achieve is less prestigious. Quite the contrary has been proven, however. In a recent Western Governors University survey, 95% of employers rate WGU graduates equal to or better than their counterparts. A whopping 69% of employers rate WGU graduates as excellent employees. With numbers like these it’s clear that students are able to get hired and excel at their jobs with an online degree. (Source: Graduate Satisfaction survey taken by Western Governors University)
Whether your goal is to completely change careers or get a degree in your chosen field or profession, considering an online university may be a good idea.