Many advantages can be gained by obtaining a degree online. An online degree is the best option because it is more flexible and adaptable than a conventional degree. You can work on it from the comfort of your own home, at night, or whenever you have free time.
Even so, many of our future students have never taken an online course. Before “jumping into” an online degree, you’re likely to have a number of questions.
In this guide, we’ll try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and concerns about earning an online degree.
In the event you’ve already made up your mind to pursue a degree entirely online. If you’re interested in learning more about some of the best online degree programs, be sure to check out our section on online degree rankings.
Are Online Degrees Worth the Investment?
Some people see an online degree as a lifeline that will allow them to return to school and complete their education while also juggling their professional and personal lives. In the case of others, online degrees can be too demanding in terms of self-control, resulting in frustration and, ultimately, dropout.
As a result, no two online bachelor’s degrees are the same. Support from professors can vary widely. In terms of expectations and services, different online universities have set their sights on different things.
Prior to beginning an online degree program, it is critical that you thoroughly research the school and program you are interested in.
You will find many similarities between online courses offered by different universities, despite the wide range of options available.
We need to make a distinction before we get into the specifics of online education. synchronous and asynchronous online degrees are the two most common types of online degrees. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. However, depending on the learner, one or the other option may be better suited.
For the time being, you only need to know this:
- Students enrolled in a synchronous online degree program must log on at specific times each day. Students participate in “live” classes via instant messaging, video chat, or voice chat, and are able to interact with each other.
- Live classes are not required for asynchronous online degrees. Classes are almost certainly still videotaped, and in many cases, this is a requirement. It is possible, however, for students to complete course material at their own pace. There’s no such thing as a set schedule here. Assignments have deadlines. However, students are not required to work on their assignments continuously throughout the day.
“What it’s like to get an online degree” varies greatly depending on whether you’re enrolled in an asynchronous or a synchronous program.
We’ll go over the differences and similarities between various types of online degrees below.
What Can You Expect From an Asynchronous Online Degree?
- Log on to watch videos of courses or read e-books whenever you can.
- Before or after work, after the kids have gone to sleep, or during your lunch break are all good times to take courses.
- Talk to tutors who are available “on call.” Sometimes available round-the-clock.
- Use online bulletin boards to stay in touch with classmates.
- The best way to learn is to use a wide range of online resources.
- In comparison to traditional degrees, this one places less emphasis on “lecture-time” and student-teacher interaction.
What It’s Like to Have a Synchronous Online Degree?
- To participate in class, students must “log in” at specific times.
- Make use of the various chat options available to students and instructors, such as video or text chat.
- Like in-person schooling, get to know your classmates and professors.
- In class, you’ll be “called upon” to answer questions.
- Similar to that of “traditional” universities in terms of class size
The Differences between Asynchronous and Synchronous Online Degrees.
- Digital degrees give students access to more resources than traditional degrees.
- Visit a digital library or make an appointment for counseling or tutoring online.
- Annotate digital learning materials with questions, notes, or bookmarks.
- Take advantage of online productivity tools.
- Earn a degree that is on par with what you would receive from a traditional university.
- Learn like you would at a traditional college or university with the same financial aid.
- Get a degree without having to spend time commuting or moving.
The Advantages of Earning a Degree Online
As a “God-send” for students juggling work and family obligations, online degrees can be a lifeline for many. The advantages and disadvantages of online education are clear to see. Even though online and traditional education are becoming increasingly similar, there are still significant differences.
- There’s no need to relocate to get a degree.
- Adults and non-traditional students are the primary target audience for most programs.
- Acquire the same degree that brick and mortar schools offer.
- Graduation dates can often be sped up for students who are driven by their own goals.
- Tutoring, counseling, and other support services can be accessed via the internet.
- 24/7 study support (in many cases).
- Traditional degrees have fewer online resources than those offered by the Internet.
The drawbacks of pursuing a degree online
However, online education was initially plagued by lower graduation rates compared to traditional schooling. Online education has provided many with a path to a degree that would have otherwise been out of reach. The only way to make it work is through education, but only if you have the right mindset.
- Work will not be monitored by anyone to ensure it gets done.
- Self-discipline is more reliant on.
- Students and professors have less time to talk to one another.
- Events on campus aren’t open to everyone (if a school has on-campus events).
- Many students are unfamiliar with or have never had the opportunity to learn in this manner.
The Price of Earning a Degree Online
The cost of a college education can run into the millions of dollars. It’s no different when it comes to online higher education. As a result, online learning can be significantly less expensive than traditional classroom instruction.
Even if brick-and-mortar and online tuition rates are the same, online students save money by taking advantage of tuition discounts.
- Use of electronic textbooks
- Working while pursuing a degree becomes easier.
- There’s no need to relocate to the school’s current location.
- There are no commuting costs or delays.
It is common for schools to include the conditions above in their “total cost of attendance.” The cost of attending a university is not solely due to tuition. Online and brick-and-mortar programs charge roughly the same tuition.
The Cost of Attending a University by Degree Level
- $3,570 per year for a two-year public college
- The average yearly cost of attending a public four-year university within the state is $9,716.
- Cost of Attendance for Four Years at a State University Out of State: $21,629
- Price: $35,676 per year for a private four-year college
For online education, however, the total cost of attendance is much less expensive.
Fees from brick-and-mortar programs are used to fund a wide range of initiatives and programs. The following are some examples of campus fees that might be added to your tuition:
- Athletics Centers and Fields
- Legal Advice and Representation
- Athletes’ Health
- Renewable sources of energy
- Facilities for the Christian Faith
- Participation in extracurricular activities by college students
Scholarships for Online Degrees.
As a student, you may be eligible for a number of scholarships. Your school, social groups, non-profits, the federal government, state governments, businesses, and employers are some of the most common.
As with brick-and-mortar programs, most of these scholarship sources will award scholarships to online student just as they would.
At the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels, online and brick-and-mortar students alike are eligible for the same level of financial aid. There is one exception to this rule: financial aid. In brick and mortar schools, graduate students often save money by working as teaching assistants or instructors. With most online courses, this isn’t an option. To help with the cost of their education, many college students receive work study opportunities. Often, these opportunities are not available in online programs.
Keep in mind that scholarships are only a small part of your total financial aid package. The majority of students enrolled in reputable colleges and universities receive substantial financial assistance from these institutions.
Filling out the FAFSA application prior to enrolling in school is one way to learn exactly what financial aid is available. Using your results, including your “expected family contribution,” contact the university’s financial aid office. In order to make college more affordable, financial aid departments at most reputable schools are willing to work with you.
Finally, keep in mind that only a small percentage of undergraduates pay the “full sticker price” for their courses. It’s a good idea to look elsewhere if a university says you’ll be required to pay full tuition.
Degrees Earned Through the Internet
A degree through the internet Accreditation bodies for colleges and universities are the same as those for “traditional” colleges and universities.
The quality of academic programs is assured by two types of accrediting bodies. Both play an important role in determining whether a degree is of high quality.
- The gold standard for accrediting US colleges and universities is Regional Accreditation. This type of accreditation takes a holistic approach to institutions. Each of the seven regional accrediting organizations serves an area of the country.
- Programmatic accreditation, another name for national accreditation, examines a specific program type across the country. Consider whether the program you’re considering is accredited programmatically after determining whether a college or university is regionally accredited. Even so, not every worthwhile program is accredited on a national level.
First and foremost, you should look for regional accreditation when searching for an online degree.
Accreditation is available from the following organizations:
- The Higher Education Commission of the Middle States
- Association of Schools and Colleges in New England
- Commission on Postsecondary Education
- Colleges and universities in the Northwest
- Accreditation Commission for Independent Colleges and Schools
- Colleges and Universities of the Western United States
- The Commission on Colleges for Community and Junior Adult Education
Look around the school’s website or type in the name of the school you’re interested in along with “regional accreditation” to see if it’s regionally accredited.
In order to receive federal financial aid and transfer credits to other regionally accredited institutions, your degree must be regionally accredited. This is a crucial point!
In addition, national accreditation can serve as a symbol of high regard for specific programs. National or programmatic accreditation is available from a wide range of organizations. The following are some examples as a starting point:
- The American Dietetic Association
- The National Association of Bar Executives (Law)
- The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education Accreditation
- Social Work Education Advisory Board
- So on and so forth.
What online degrees are available?
For the most part, all of the degrees you can earn in person are available online.
For more than a quarter of a century, students have come to expect online degrees as a standard part of their educational options.
There are a number of fields where online degrees are more prevalent than others. Many disciplines have embraced and promoted online learning, including those in which students are more likely to return to school after having a child or starting a new job after a break. Since online education offers greater flexibility, it was a good fit for these fields.
Education, theology, business, and computer science-related fields are among the first to embrace online education and now have a wide range of options.
In terms of online education, there are some gaps. In order to earn an online degree, you’ll need a lot of hands-on experience or time in a lab environment. Physics, engineering, medicine, and law are among the fields covered by these degrees. However, there are a handful of colleges that offer online degrees in these fields.
Many of the nation’s top universities don’t offer online degrees other than in education and business, which is surprising given their high rankings.
Even if you want to pursue a degree that necessitates on-campus training, internships, or laboratory work, you should look into online options. All of your academic coursework can be completed online, but your practicum can be completed at an off-campus location near your home. These degrees aren’t entirely “online,” in this sense. But at least they are available online and with local hands-on training (even if the university offering the degree is in another state).
A “hybrid” or “blended” degree option is also common at many colleges and universities. With a hybrid or blended degree, you’ll do most of your coursework online and have some face-to-face meetings along the way. MBA programs that meet in person once a month over the weekend are a good example of this. Teacher training programs that meet online during the school year and in person during the summers are also possible
Check with your chosen university to see if they offer degree programs in a format that can be completed entirely online if that is something you are interested in. Many courses can be completed entirely online. Despite the fact that many students still require short-term trips back to school or to other learning environments.
Are Online Degrees Recognized by Employers?
Education is the foundation of many careers. If you have a bachelor or a master’s degree, you’re more likely to get your foot in the door. Many employers won’t even interview you if you don’t have the required degree.
As a result, many employers are more concerned with whether or not you are able to perform your job duties. Personal traits, past experience, and the interview process are all examples of this.
While degrees are important, many employers place more emphasis on how well you perform on the job than they do on your education.
According to recent surveys, the majority of employers don’t make a distinction between degrees earned online and those earned on-site. In some cases, employers find online degrees to be more impressive because of the level of self-motivation they demand from many students.
Employers often don’t know if a degree is earned online or not, so this is an important point to keep in mind when it comes to online degrees. Colleges and universities do not indicate on your diploma whether or not you earned your degree online. Students who attend online programs graduate from the same program as those who attend in-person, regardless of where they attend.
How Do Online Degrees Allow for a Wide Range of Options?
Online programs’ greater adaptability is a major selling point for prospective students. Online programming offers a wide range of options for flexible academic programming, but these are just a few:
- Credits for past education, employment, or service
- Prior college credits can be transferred in.
- Take a look at things you’ve already studied.
- Register for classes whenever it suits you.
- You can move at your own pace through the lessons.
- Accelerate time to degree with year-round academic programming
- Time spent driving to work is eliminated.
- E-learning tools can be accessed at any time.
- Tutoring and assistance are available round-the-clock.
- Get in touch with your peers from all over the world.
- You can get help from the comfort of your own home.