Online degrees have received a bad rap. And, the chances are good that you have heard at least one of these myths about receiving an education online. Well, we are here to put a stop to the rumor mill and share the facts.
You may have already read the first part of our myth dispute blog. If not, fly on over and read Part 1.
Myth: Online education is easy.
Fact: A degree from an online university is not bought and paid for, but it is earned. A student enrolled in a legitimate, accredited online college will be learning at the same level they would be had they attended a traditional brick-and-mortar university. As with most things, you will get what you put in. If you are there to learn and excel, you will.
Some universities, like WGU, focus on competency-based education, a model of learning which allows students to earn their degrees by demonstrating what they know and can do (competency) rather than spending time in class to accumulate credit hours. Competency-based learning is ideal for adult learners, who enroll in college with different levels of knowledge as well as a wide variety of learning styles, because it allows them to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they need to learn. Students demonstrate their mastery of subject matter by successfully completing assessments—objective tests, papers, projects, or presentations.
Myth: Employers don’t like online universities.
Fact: Employers are focused on the proficiency of the student hired. In fact, required competencies for each degree program are defined in collaboration with external program councils. Program councils are representatives from industry and academia, and they help us ensure that our students are learning the competencies they will need to be successful in their fields. In addition, they regularly review curriculum to make sure that it is up to date and relevant.
To ensure that the university is continuing to produce graduates who are well prepared for their careers, WGU commissions Harris Poll to conduct an annual survey of employers of the university’s graduates. The 2017 poll, which surveyed 301 employers, found that WGU students continue to graduate well prepared for their careers:
- 100% said that WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs.
- 97% said they would hire another WGU graduate.
- 91% rated the job performance of a WGU graduate as “excellent” or “very good.”
- 91% of employers said that WGU graduates exceeded their expectations.
- 90% rated the technical skills of WGU graduates as “excellent” or “very good.”
Myth: You are anonymous and can “hide” in an online university.
Fact: There’s no hiding in the back of a large lecture hall. Online courses are designed to be engaging and participatory, using group projects and activities to test the knowledge of each individual student. An online atmosphere also offers discussion boards and suggested student interaction to ensure assigned mentors knows how the student is doing throughout the entire educational journey.
Myth: Online students cannot receive financial aid or scholarships to pay for their education.
Fact: Of course, they can! Online students, much like traditional brick-and-mortar students, can take advantage of the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA) to pay for their education. Also, many universities, including WGU, offer scholarships to help students pay for the price of tuition.