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BLOG POST (see all posts in 'Choosing Schools')

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Taking Online College Courses

The average cost of college tuition for the 2012-2013 school year was $8,655 for in-state students, $21,706 for out-of-state students, and $29,056 for students attending private schools according to College Board. Due to this factor alone, online college courses are becoming more prominent than on-campus courses. What, might you ask, are the pros and cons of online versus on-campus courses?

One advantage to online courses is that they have a flexible schedule. You can take classes when you want, day or night, and not at a scheduled time on campus. Due to this flexibility, online courses are particularly attractive to full-time employees. A second upside, mentioned previously, is cost savings. Online classes are relatively less expensive than campus classes. Also, online classes do not require those extra fees for gas and parking. Another benefit to online classes is multi-media. Many courses use CD/DVDs and webcams to aid students. Due to this media use, classes can be easier and more enjoyable for the student. One final benefit to online college courses is self-direction. Students are able to determine their own pace and can finish the course as slowly or as quickly as desired.

Alternatively, there are some drawbacks to online college courses. Through the years online courses and online degrees have gained credibility, however, there is a common misconception that online courses are easier and thus employers may view the degree as being less credible. This is less of an issue at an individual course level and more so for online degrees. A second disadvantage is technological challenges. Not everyone has a home computer, or their computer may not be equipped with the latest technologies needed for class. Another drawback is limited instructor interaction. During online classes, you cannot just raise your hand when you have a question or drop by the professor's office during office hours. One last downside to online courses is mandatory self-discipline. The same flexibility that can be advantageous can also serve as a disadvantage in causing you to fall behind in your work given no discipline.

At the end of the day the choice is ultimately yours. When deciding whether to take online college courses versus on-campus courses, you must determine which path is best for you given the pros and cons of each. Hopefully this comparison can shed some light on your direction, but be sure to do your own thorough research before diving in to either.

POSTED: 7-12-2015 at 2:51 PM (EDT)

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