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7 Benefits of Online Education

Aug 18, 2007
For centuries, a college education meant "going away to school". It meant ivy-encrusted campuses, dorms and fraternities, and all-nighters at the library cramming for a chemistry test. But recently, prospective students are facing a new kind of college experience - online education. The purpose of this article is to inform students about some of the potential benefits of this new kind of college education in which students take classes and work toward their degrees over the internet.

1. Accessibility
Traditionally, if a student wanted a college education they had to relocate or commute to campus, reduce hours at work, or even postpone careers entirely. But not anymore. Online education offers the same quality education, the same courses, and the same degrees as traditional education but in a more convenient setting. With online education, you can get a college education on your schedule. All you need is a computer and an internet connection and you can go to college in the comfort of your own home.

2. Flexibility
In addition to being more accessible, online education is also more flexible than traditional education, especially for students who work. With online education, you can cater your courses, homework, and school correspondence around your work or family schedule. Study when you want and where you want. The flexibility of an online education allows you the ability to maintain your priorities and your income while still earning a college degree.

3. Work-Ability
Many people fear that starting or finishing their college education will interfere with their existing careers. Traditionally, going to college meant going to school full-time during the day, which made it difficult to work. Not so with online education. By going to school online, you can keep your current job and continue earning the money you need. Online programs allow you to take courses at your own pace, which in turn allows you the flexibility to work full-time or part-time while still maintaining a balance among work, school, and your social life.

4. Applicability
One of the oft-overlooked advantages of working while going to school is the potential applicability that studies may have on your job. In other words, it's one thing to go to class and learn about something in theory, and it's another to take that theory and put it into practice. Students who work can apply their newly acquired knowledge immediately to their jobs; they can also focus their studies on the kinds of real-world problems that professionals face daily in the workplace.

5. Speed
The accessibility and flexibility of online education makes it possible to shave months, even years off your graduation date. Motivated students can earn prestigious degrees online in half the time it would have taken in a traditional classroom setting.

6. Variety
One of the great myths regarding online education is that there aren't enough degrees to choose from. Not true - at least, not anymore. Colleges and universities are now offering scores of degrees in a variety of different areas including business, criminal justice, education, engineering, health care, hospitality, law, liberal arts, science, and web design, to name but a few. Furthermore, within these areas you can obtain associate degrees, bachelors degrees, masters degrees, and other professional degrees in addition to a gamut of certificates and diplomas.

7. Cost
Finally, one of the most dramatic advantages of online education is the cost. Typically, the tuition of online programs is already less expensive than traditional programs. When you add in the potential savings associated with housing, transportation, books, and lost wages, the difference is enormous. Furthermore, if students continue to work while taking classes online, the need for student loans decreases, which greatly eases the financial strain of college after graduation.

Whether you experience college in a brick-and-mortar classroom or a virtual one, your education will be one of the most important investments you will make in your life. So as you prepare for this important decision, make sure you consider all the options, including the unique possibilities offered by online education. Whatever you choose, you are certain to have a genuine "college experience", including more than a few all-nighters cramming for that chemistry test.
About the Author
Benjamin Welch has been a college instructor in writing and composition for nearly six years. When he's not teaching or playing golf, he writes articles about online education and careers. Find more of Ben's work in the online education blog.
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