Just like there’s no longer one type of college student these days, there’s also no longer just one way to go to college. If you’re an older student or just someone who needs to juggle other responsibilities with going to school, an online bachelor’s program could be for you. Whether you’re trying to find a criminal justice degree online program to make a career change, or you’re simply looking to advance in your current field, an online bachelors can help you reach your goals.
In fact, online education has many perks that traditional education in a brick-and-mortar setting can’t offer, especially in the age of COVID-19. It’s not just about staying home to stop the spread, though. Online degree programs offer as much flexibility as technology can bring to bear on your education, while allowing you to minimize costs and still giving you the chance to network with other students. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of earning your bachelor’s degree online.
1) Customize Your Learning Experience
In brick-and-mortar learning environments, students walk into the lecture hall, sit down, and grapple with the information the professor presents in whatever style the professor presents it. There might be limited opportunities to record lectures (some professors and schools don’t allow it), or even to take pictures of information presented on the board. The professor may or may not make PowerPoint slides and other presentations available to students in the class’s online portal, if indeed the professor even uses an online portal for the class.
In an online learning environment, students have access to more learning materials — digital whiteboards are displayed, and lectures are recorded and uploaded for students to watch and rewatch as needed. Transcripts are often available for recorded lectures, and students can engage with the textbook as well as discussing class materials and concepts in forums and chats or via video conference. And, of course, you’ll have total control over your personalized home learning environment.
2) Learn on Your Own Schedule
For many, finding time to attend class is one of the biggest obstacles to returning to school. If you’re a little bit older and have a family and a full-time job, you might find that your days are taken up with work and your evenings with child care and family life. An online bachelor’s degree program eliminates the need to show up in a specific place at a specific time in order to be educated. As long as you meet your homework deadlines, you can engage with course material at any time of the day or night that works best for you.
3) Go to School Anywhere — Without Leaving Home
Traditional education might not be easy to pursue if it’s going to have to mean uprooting your family to be physically close to the campus where you’ll take classes. Maybe you already own your own home and don’t want to sell it just to move for school for a few years. Maybe you don’t want to rip the kids away from their friends and schools. Maybe you just can’t afford to pack up and move.
When you take classes online, you can go to any school in the world without leaving home. You’ll have a lot more access to different schools and programs than you might if you chose a traditional degree — for example, you won’t have to stick to attending classes at a nearby school that might not be as good as your dream school, but is nearby. And what if the schools near you don’t offer the program you want? When you go to school online, you can always study what you’re truly passionate about.
4) Save Money
Tuition for online college degrees may not be much cheaper than for traditional programs, but you’ll save money in other ways. First, you’ll save the cost of moving to be near campus, which will be higher if you have more people in your family and more things to move. You’ll save the money you’d spend commuting to classes in your car — fuel costs, parking fees, and even wear and tear add up fast. There’s no meal plan to buy, no dorm costs, no student rec center fees. You may even save some money on textbooks.
5) Make Connections Around the Globe
Many students worry that they’ll miss out on the camaraderie and networking potential of school if they’re not sitting next to their classmates in the same rooms every day. But there are still plenty of opportunities for interaction in an online program.
Many professors require online students to interact on discussion boards and via video calls. Some scheduled class sessions may be synchronous, meaning everyone is required to login to a video conference call at the same time. And many schools require online students to spend a few weeks on campus each year, or at least offer them the chance to get together on campus to network, attend lectures, and share collegiate experiences. Since online programs attract students of every nationality, you’ll have the chance to make lasting connections around the world — perhaps much more so than at a traditional brick-and-mortar college.
An online bachelor’s degree may not come with 8:00 a.m. lectures and late nights at the campus library, but it can have perks of its own that appeal to non-traditional students or just those who have other responsibilities to manage. The flexibility and accessibility of online learning have made it more popular than ever to go back to school online, whether to finish your degree or earn a second one.