Have you recently been laid off? Is your career in a holding pattern awaiting the next move on your part? Do you have children and fear you do not have time to begin or finish your degree? Did you take the Graduate Entrance Exam and your scores are not exactly increasing your chances of getting into grad school? If you are able to answer yes to any or perhaps all of these questions then you may benefit from online schooling.
As a veteran of online schooling and a single parent I have learned a couple things for a potential online student to consider. The first is that most people attending class online are in the same or similar circumstances as you. The digital halls are filled with single parents, teachers looking to fulfill a master’s requirement, government employees attempting to step up a pay grade and all other walks of life that probably include you. If you do not have time for a brick and mortar you may find online schooling to be the best possible alternative.
The second and perhaps more important consideration for online schooling is no different than that of a conventional campus student. You have to decide what you wish to obtain from you degree. If you are a student merely looking to fulfill some credit requirements through the summer then you will be pleased with online schooling. If you are an environmental scientist wanting to receive a PhD in environmental sciences, well perhaps this is not the track for you. Decide what you want to do with your degree and speak to one of the career counselors and see if this is the right path for you. The school I attended was very upfront about various programs and how they may or may not help me in my quest.
Online schooling is very similar in curriculum and content with brick and mortar schools. The most important difference for perspective students is that there are flexible times to for attending class. All online schools differ slightly but most have rigorous schedules that must be followed for turning in assignments and completing coursework. The pace can seem frenetic and a high level of self-motivation is required to succeed. If you normally thrive in such an environment then it is likely that you will have similar success in the online community.
The very last consideration that concerns many is the quality of the education. My experience is limited to the school I attended Grand Canyon University, but I can honestly say that I learned a great deal from my course administrators. I have had several professors from Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Princeton. These instructors were very accessible and helpful in more ways than I can even count. Quality will depend on what school you attend but in my experience you get out of school what you put into it.
If you are considering continuing your education and asking yourself why online schools? Might I suggest the real question should be, why not?