Have you been considering online school, but don’t know if it’s the right choice for you? There are many factors that you need to take into consideration in order to determine if online school is a good fit. First, throw all of your preconceived notions about online learning out the door, and read on to discover how online programs can be adapted to a variety of learning styles.
Over the past several years, the quantity (and quality) of online schools has been steadily increasing. As more online schools are established and traditional bricks-and-mortar schools extend their courses to the online forum, the credibility of online schooling is improving. In fact, some students even claim that with a lot of motivation, you can learn just as much, if not more in an online course. Because students mainly interact through bulletin board formats, they have more time to think about and construct their answers and generally are more open to sharing personal experiences and ideas.
Online schools are a form of distance learning. Since its inception in the mid-1830’s, distance learning was primarily completed through correspondence courses. With the technological advances over the past 35 years, computer technology and the Internet has combined to create online education. As online school programs progress, more traditional colleges and universities are establishing accredited online schools.
According to the Sloan Consortium reports, during the fall 2008 semester over 4.6 million students were taking at least one online course, which is a 17 percent increase from the previous year. This number is significant when taken into consideration that there has only been a 1.2 percent growth of the student population of overall higher education. Furthermore, approximately one in four college and university students is enrolled in at least one online course per year. Online degrees are even gaining importance in the business world. Current statistics show that of all schools offering a masters of business association (MBA), over 40 percent offer the same MBA degree online.
Qualities for Success in Online Schools
Prospective online students must be aware that they must work on their own time. Online courses generally do not have specific times that you are required to log in. You essentially work on your own time, ensuring that you meet weekly and bi-weekly deadlines for homework, discussions, tests and projects.
Assess your own study habits in past learning situations. If you are a habitual procrastinator, online courses might not be your best option. Professors in any setting value students who push themselves to meet the course requirements and hand in assigned projects on time. You are guaranteed to have a tough time keeping up with your classes if you leave all reading, tests and homework to the last minute.
Online School Students
Time constraints are the main issue that drive students to pursue an online degree. Full-time employees who cannot afford to take time off of work, but have extra downtime at home thrive in an online setting. Low-income and single parents are especially great candidates for online school.
The large number of individuals who have been laid off over the past several years has lead to an increase the enrollment in 2-year career training certificate, associate degree, bachelors degree and masters degree programs. Unemployed people are looking for ways to improve their qualifications in order better market themselves to prospective employers. Online school is one option that will help this demographic thrive once again. Online school is also an economically sound investment for the unemployed and low-income students because it cuts down on tuition costs, as you do not have to pay for room and board or for classroom space.
Other perfect candidates for online schools include caretakers of a person who is homebound and disabled students who have difficulty getting around campus. In addition, individuals living in remote areas, who do not want or are unable to relocate have the potential to succeed in online courses. Members of the military who wish to supplement their education may also benefit from taking online courses.
If college reputations are an important factor for you, consider earning an online degree through the many established traditional school that have jumped on the bandwagon and created their own online curricula, such as Boston University - Online School, George Washington University - Online School, Colorado Technical University - Online School, the University of Illinois - Online School.
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