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The Benefits of Earning an Online Degree Versus On-Campus

Online degrees have an unwarranted stigma against them. From my perspective, it’s a fear of the unknown combined with the romanticized idea of a college campus that makes people feel that online degrees are somehow “lesser than.” That, and because we are naturally inclined to believe that more expensive things are intrinsically better, even without proof (See The Psychology of Why We Prefer Expensive Things). I’ve experienced both campus life and online life, and I’m here to tell you why an online MBA course is working better for me than my traditional undergrad program.

Set your own schedule – To complete online courses, you don’t have to put your life on pause. Whatever that may be, a career, volunteer work, parenthood, or friendships, an online program works around your schedule. Classes can be taken one at a time or several at once, and there are no predetermined hours you must be in class. This means that morning people can do their classwork at the crack of dawn and night owls can take their midterms at 2 ‘o’clock in the morning if they so choose.

Go at your own pace – We’ve all at some point misunderstood something our professor or teacher was trying to tell us. At that moment, we either had to ask for it to be repeated or decided to ignore it. Imagine being able to rewind time and listen to what you missed again. With online courses, this is a reality. If you misunderstand something you can always rewind the video or scroll back through the example exercises until you understand. This keeps the class moving at your individualized pace.

Take breaks from terms for planned life events – Life usually doesn’t slow down when something “big” is happening. Say you’re going to get married, have a surgery, or switch professions, it’s difficult to work traditional college courses around your life events. With online studies, you can pre-plan and pause your degree to maximize the effort you’ll be able to put into it. Personally, when I last changed jobs, I took a short break from my MBA. This gave me the time I needed to focus on my new career and maintain a high-level GPA.

Accrue less debt – According to Best Value Schools, “There is really no correlation between the costs of a degree and quality of education.” In the future, as education costs continue to rise, and more and more talented young learners turn to online programs, we may see a shift in mentality. Right now, Americans are still stuck in the idea that “you must go to college to get a good job.” This is true to some extent, but if we substitute “higher education” in for “go to college” we might have a more accurate statement. The idea of “going” physically to college is a right of passage for many. But the cost is prohibitive. Many online degrees will not saddle students with nearly as many student loans as a traditional college.

Organization – Online courses are generally more organized and thought-out than traditional campus courses. At the start of term, the professor will distribute the syllabus and all rubric materials needed for the entire course. This helps to plan out the work-load and keep you on track to retain the maximum amount of knowledge and achieve the highest grade you’re capable of. With all of this pre-planning, it becomes easy to discuss expectations with your professor and clear up misunderstandings early.

For me, my choice to pursue an MBA while simultaneously pursuing my career was a no-brainer. I could afford it, I didn’t have to move, and I didn’t have to put my life and relationships on pause. Online education may not be the right choice for everyone, but I would encourage you to weigh the option before electing to pursue a degree from a traditional school.

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