There’s often a heated debate about which is better: online schooling or in-person education. The truth is, each approach has its own setbacks and advantages, and it’s silly to try to compare the two.
Each caters to different needs, and some people simply learn more effectively in one environment or the other. You can take healthcare classes online, accounting classes online, and so much more. There are plenty of degree options that you can obtain entirely online for convenience and flexibility.
Here are seven benefits of online schooling vs. in-person education.
With COVID-19 still raging around us, many universities have temporarily suspended in-person classes to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Social distancing helps prevent the spread of the virus, which could potentially spread exponentially in a close-knit environment like a classroom.
The best way to stay safe while getting your education is to choose online schooling instead of the traditional method. You’ll be able to adhere to social distancing, and many programs are much more flexible when it comes to time and affordability.
Speaking of affordability, let’s talk about the cost of online schooling vs. the cost of traditional in-person classes. As of 2019, the average cost of a 4-year in-person degree program was about $25,000 per year. According to the same estimation, pursuing a bachelor’s degree (given all of the expenses combined plus student loan interest) can exceed $400,000. That’s not an easy price tag for most of us to come to terms with. The unfortunate fact is that tuition costs keep rising as well. Tuition for public institutions alone has risen 65% since 2000.
Bear in mind that this covers basic tuition and fees for your average university; it doesn’t account for the cost of commuting to and from the university, housing, food, books and materials, special class fees, testing fees, etc.
Online programs have a distinct advantage over their counterparts: they don’t have a brick-and-mortar campus to run. This requires support staff like janitorial services, aides, secretaries, sports coaches, and more. An online college will function from a point of operation, of course, but the overhead costs will be significantly lower.
This means lower tuition and fees for the average student because there’s less of a gap between profitability and meeting overhead costs. The bottom line? In many cases, online education is the cheaper way to go, and you’re still going to get a quality education.
Traditional colleges are much more strict when it comes to class times and attendance. That’s not to say you can get away with being tardy or missing assignments in online classes, but there’s greater flexibility for scheduling there. Where a brick-and-mortar institution might not have any night scheduling options, online classes often include work-at-your-own-pace programs where you can do your coursework any time.
Keeping things flexible is important to the success of your studies. If you have to move around personal commitments and job commitments too much, one or the other will suffer. At worst, you could potentially have to drop your classes!
Who doesn’t love the convenience of sitting at home and logging into class instead of having to get ready and show up to a physical location? You’ll save money on travel, and you won’t have to stress yourself out over being late or not being able to make it to campus on certain days. With online learning, you can do your coursework anywhere with an internet connection. That kind of convenience simply doesn’t exist with traditional educational programs.
Many of the online programs available today are geared towards cutting down the bureaucracy of education and speeding up the process. It’s exhausting to have to limp along for four years, completely at the mercy of campus closings, delays, more classwork, and missed requirements for graduation.
Online programs cut right to the chase, and many of them are fast-track programs that can get you into the field in between 1-2 years.
Of course, you can’t exactly mention flexibility without mentioning work-at-your-own-pace programs. These programs are perfect for those who are busy, new parents, fresh graduates, or anyone who doesn’t want to have to be committed to a certain schedule every week. Most of these programs are aimed at getting you a certification, though; not a degree.
While both sides of the spectrum can help you teach you responsibility, there’s a certain kind of self-discipline that’s required with online schooling. There are no teachers around to keep you in check, and you won’t really see your classmates. Your class times may vary, and your coursework might be at your own pace. This requires significant self-discipline to get up every day and do what you need to do to pass your classes.