Whether you are finishing up high school, going back to school after a break, or looking into a master’s, choosing the right school for you is tough. It’s a difficult enough decision when there’s only location for your degree program to consider, but with online schooling becoming more and more common, you now have online choices to add to the mix. There are several things to consider when you are looking at schools, and deciding what kind of education experience you want is the first decision to make. What are the pros and cons to traditional and online schooling?
The familiar choice of a traditional brick and mortar school is one that most people end up making. There are plenty of upsides to physically attending school. Sitting in a classroom allows you to interact face to face with your professor and fellow classmates, as well as take advantage of study groups and office hours. Getting to know your professors and classmates also makes for great networking opportunities, which is known to be important for finding work after college. You get the benefits of using on-campus facilities like the library, recreation center, and career center (among others) which are awesome resources for students. Being on campus also gives you plenty of socializing opportunities like joining clubs and participating in campus events.
Of course, with the positives come negative aspects. Having to choose from and attend classes on campus makes your schedule pretty inflexible, which can be difficult if you need to work. With all of the expenses of attending school, it’s necessary for many people to be employed while going to school, and not all jobs are willing to work with school schedules. Another demerit for brick and mortar schools is location. If your local school doesn’t have the degree you want to pursue, then you have to consider either changing your choice of major or moving to another city or state. That adds the extra expense of living on your own, whether on or off campus. While some students intend to do that anyway, the option to stay at home is a comforting one as the cost of school and the cost of living continue to rise.
While there used to be a negative stigma associated with getting a degree online, these days, millions of students actually prefer online school. Online school is becoming available with several accredited and established Universities, and the online option is an extension of the same degrees offered on campus. This is incredibly convenient for people who work full time or have families and need their school life to work around their schedule, and not the other way around. Online school is also a great option for people with anxiety, or people who don’t care about the social aspects of campus life. Nothing is worse than having to go all the way to campus during homecoming week when you could care less about football. Many people worry about not getting as good of an education taking classes online, but as long as you follow these tips for maintaining focus as an online student, there’s no reason why you can’t get a full and successful education. Learning to focus and succeed in online classes can develop your self-sufficiency skills, which are important in the working world.
Negatives to online education are probably covered by the positives of on campus learning. You miss out on live interaction with classmates and the professor during class. You won’t have all of the networking opportunities you may have gotten by being on campus and participating in academic and social activities, as well as clubs. The lack of face-to-face interaction with professors can hinder students who aren’t quite college ready and need more direction. Unless you are a part of an online program with a local university, you don’t have access to the various campus facilities that other students get. Also, you don’t get the chance to make school your main focus like those who study on campus and surround themselves by like-minded individuals in an academic environment.
Choosing whether on-campus schooling or online schooling is better for you can be a difficult decision to make, but when you take a look at your life situation and your personality, it can help lead you to a decision. As long as you put in the hard work that earning any degree takes, you can get a great education with either choice. Find what’s right for you, and do your best.
This article was contributed by guest author Mila Sanchez.