The notable convenience and practicality of online schools in our bustling digital world is constantly under scrutiny by opponents who view online schooling with a fair amount of skepticism.
Understandably, news stories about fraudulent online degrees may have those who are considering pursuing a graduate degree online overcome with waves of anxiety and uncertainty. Are online degrees as valuable as the traditional, campus-based approach? Do they offer the same quality education? How do employers view graduates with such degrees?
This article will help dispel some of the stigmas associated with online degree programs, and help you decide whether or not online school is right for you.
1. Online degrees lack accreditation
Programs do exist, of course, without proper accreditation. Avoid these courses at all costs, especially if you will be required to obtain licensure to practice in your field. In many cases un-accredited programs are considered absolutely useless in the eyes of future employers and academic institutions. Search the school’s website, or talk to an administrator to ensure the program you select is accredited.
2. You have limited networking opportunities with online colleges
Those who have taken online classes will know this is far from true. If anything, your networking opportunities may expand with online schooling. There are message boards and forums facilitated by the professor to promote discussion and collaboration. In fact, online programs eliminate geographic boundaries, which may help you build a more diverse network of contacts throughout the world.
3. There are no scholarships or financial aid available to online colleges
This statement is false; scholarships and financial aid are available to qualified students enrolled in an accredited online program. According to Scholarships.com: “If you’re enrolled in an accredited distance learning program and working towards a degree, you have essentially the same eligibility for scholarships as traditional students”
4. You need to wait for Fall or Spring semester to begin online college
Not true in the least. You can begin online college in the Fall, Spring, or over Summer. Convenience and flexibility is what online courses do best.
5. You have little to no interaction with students and professors
Like previously mentioned, forums are a common feature in the online experience. Although there is no face-to-face interaction, a definite negative, communication amongst students and professors is constantly encouraged.
6. Companies do not hire people with online degrees
So long as the course you take meets accreditation standards, employers will value the degree you’ve received online. Accreditation by the institution awarding the degree ensures the credibility of its program and the quality of its graduates.
7. The quality of education is less than superb
Just like campus-based classes, the amount of knowledge you derive from a class depends upon your efforts. In online school the necessary tools, services, and information is provided to you. It’s up to you to get the most out of your curriculum.
8. Online school credits are nontransferable
Just like campus-based courses, transferring credits to other universities tends to be a stressful and relative process that needs to be discussed with an adviser. It’s the exact same for online schools. If you plan on transferring with some online credits, just ensure you contact an adviser to see if that’s in the realm of possibility.
9. There is no tutoring available for online colleges
Many online colleges still offer a plethora of student services in the form of emails, online chat, and online lecture sessions. Virtual tutoring tools exist to those who need them, as does extra time with professors.
10. Earning online degrees are easier
Dedication and self-motivation are the key words here. Such a myth is nothing but noise perpetuated by those who know nothing of these courses. It takes a tremendous amount of determination to avoid the endless distractions prevalent on the internet and home environment. The will to study in the face of diversion is effort enough. There is an equal amount of hard-work at play in order to succeed in your online studies.
With this new perception about what online college is all about, you can now determine if taking online courses is ideal for your life and advantageous to your daily routine.
Mandy Fricke is a community builder for Gradschools.com MBA programs. In her free time she enjoys biking, traveling, and reading in coffee shops.