The traditional concept of attending college often invokes images and memories of attending classes in lecture halls, brick buildings shaded by trees, and living in a campus residence hall with hundreds of other students. For decades, this image of higher education was the only option available for those who wanted to pursue a college degree.
With the increased accessibility of the Internet and computers, higher education has become web-based with many online colleges, such as the University of Phoenix and Devry University, popping up and offering people of all ages access to higher education and a college degree without being forced to leave their house to attend classes.
There are several advantages to attending college online, especially for students who struggle with keeping up and learning with fellow students in a traditional classroom setting.
The Benefits of Attending College On the Internet
For students who are easily distracted or do not learn well in a traditional classroom setting, attending college online allows students to learn independently or one-on-one via virtual conferences with professors. The Top College Blog recommends online colleges for these students because students are now able to eliminate distractions, or otherwise create them, in order to help them focus better on coursework and less on what their peers around them are doing during class lectures and activities.
Students with busy lives may also benefit from attending an online college. With work, community involvement, and possibly a family, students who have multiple obligations aside from college coursework will enjoy the freedom from deadlines while enrolled in an online college degree program. Most programs allow students to work at their own pace and only require that courses are completed by the end of the term when materials and lessons are sometimes closed so that the next term’s materials can be visible to the student.
The Top College Blog also notes that online colleges remove many of the physical boundaries that are in place at physical colleges and universities when it comes to degree offerings. When attending a college or university with a physical location, students are limited to specific programs and concentrations that have been developed and approved by that institution. When attending an online college or university, however, students can enroll in degree programs with unique topical focuses or specializations via the Internet which, not only increases professional authority but eliminates the need for travel or relocation just to complete a degree or vocational certificate.
Reducing the Cost of Higher Education by Going to College Online
The cost of attending college has skyrocketed during the past two or three decades, with colleges and universities being forced to raise tuition rates and other fees due to a decrease in federal, state, and local funding and rising operating costs. Even with an increase in the availability of financial aid, going to college is still a serious financial investment that does not always guarantee immediate returns on the investment.
For students who are looking to earn a college degree but are trying to save money while doing so, online colleges may be the answer to a cost-effective college degree. Students who go to college online do not have to pay extra fees for room and board, campus activities fees, and recreation center memberships, and do not have to worry about other hidden costs such as paying for transportation to and from campus, says Top Online Colleges. Online college students do have to worry about paying for Internet services and connectivity fees, as well as a computer and supplies necessary for the student’s program.
Institutional and federal financial aid is also available to help offset the cost of attending college online, but many local and independent organizations, such as teachers’ unions, churches, and civic organizations, do not provide or allow scholarship funds to be used at colleges or universities that are not traditional, accredited, four-year institutions. If a student is looking for scholarships that can be used at online colleges and universities, he or she should contact a financial aid officer employed by their school for more information on where to find financial aid applicable to online schooling.
Attending college on the Internet allows students who may not succeed or be able to afford a traditional college or university to have access to a higher education environment in which they can succeed. As online degree programs become more and more acceptable by employers and professionals in many fields, students will find many strong degrees and certificate programs that can be completed on their own time from their home or favorite workspace.