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Some Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Courses for Young People

Nov 2, 2007
More and more young people are becoming attracted to the idea of online courses. Many believe that signing up with accredited institutions for perfectly legitimate diplomas will give them the time and space they need to do other things. They believe this is especially useful if they must work early on, or if they plan to pursue a profession on top of a college degree. Therefore, more and more young people are weighing the advantages and disadvantages of online courses.

However, the advantages and disadvantages of online courses vary greatly between institutions. Some institutions that offer distance learning offer very comprehensive curriculums, which may be a boon particularly for young people who wish to study and work full-time; they may set their research and composition time after regular working hours, so they could better feel that they are in control of their time.

However, even if you have more flexible hours in which to do your studies, some courses could be quite demanding, and the exhaustion may lead you to find yourself wishing that you could just pursue a degree full-time instead of part-time. This is why before you sign up for an online course, you should have a good idea of the requirements that come with it, and be able to fit it well into your schedule. Some people may believe that since online classes give you the luxury of studying at home, on your own schedule, the demands are less rigorous. This is a common misconception.

Working at home could be quite taxing, especially if you already have a family and are looking after an entire household. The distractions abound. One needs enormous discipline and energy in order to study for a correspondence degree course while at home, especially if one is also working full-time. Many people draw very clear lines between recreation and work, and when regular work hours end, their bodies are wired to rest, or to play. This would make it very difficult for an easily distracted young person to keep up with the demands of both full-time work and part-time studying.

Also, one should not think that just because a course is online, a student may be spared lab work, legwork for research, one-on-one consultations with the professor, group meetings with classmates and other regular classroom requirements. These may still be required of students taking online classes, so occasional trips to the library and to the physical campus are still called for. Shy students may feel more comfortable studying in isolation, but socialization is still quite vital for many degree courses.

One empirical disadvantage that may arise is the difficulty of transferring credits from an online course to an existing or future study program. Not all universities accept online class credits for certain courses, and some universities even have strict rules as to which exercises they will and will not credit. Before signing up for an online course, map out your academic plans carefully. Have a clear idea where you want to proceed after you have finished the online course, and what you plan to use your distance education degree for. Coordinate with the necessary institutions to make sure your performance at an online class will be credited. This knowledge will help you become more accurate in determining the advantages and disadvantages of online courses of your choice.
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