Pros & Cons of Online College Classes

By Alicia Bodine

  • Overview

    Pros & Cons of Online College Classes
    Deciding that you want to go to college and earn a degree is only the first step in your decision-making process. You must then decide what type of degree you are seeking. After that you need to choose whether or not to attend a college in person or learn from your computer at home. Both choices have advantages and disadvantages.
  • Geography

    Are you the type of person who likes to travel and experience new things? The answer to this question will help you decide if you want to go away to college or live at home and use your computer. One advantage to an online college is that you don't have to leave your hometown, family or friends. You can work right at your desk. The disadvantage is that you won't get to experience another part of your state or country. You won't get to travel or meet people from around the world. Even if you attend a college in your state, the college will be filled with interesting people from all over who have stories to share about their cultures. You miss out on that when you attend college online.
  • Financial

    Online colleges do cost money, but a lot less than you would pay attending a traditional college. You don't need to worry about paying room and board, and you don't pay as much in tuition. You also get the opportunity to continue working a full- or part-time job in your hometown, because you can work your online college classes around your work schedule. However, a drawback is that you won't qualify for as many grants, and you can't take the option of a work-study program. The work-study program allows you to work off some of your tuition so you don't have to pay it in full.


  • Time Frame

    Online courses do not have a time frame for completion. You are not told you must sit in class every Tuesday and Thursday until the end of the semester and then take your final exam. Instead, you complete the assignments and chapters at your own pace and take the exam when you are ready. If you are a good worker, then you can do the work and take the exam in half the time. This can lead you to get your degree in 2 or 3 years verses the traditional 4 years. On the flip side, if you are slow at doing your work and do not set up a schedule for yourself, you can find it takes 5 or 6 years to complete a degree. If you need accountability, then online classes are probably not for you.
  • Class Size

    Online colleges work well if you are somewhat shy and suffer from test anxiety. If you feel pressured by others or an instructor when in a normal classroom setting, then you will do well taking online college courses. This gives you the freedom to answer questions at your own pace without anyone staring at you waiting for an answer. However, if you do well working with others, you will miss out by studying at home on the computer by yourself. Only classes on a college campus will require you to complete projects in a group.
  • Social Life

    Consider the opportunity for socialization outside of classes. With online colleges, you can't join any sororities, fraternities, student governments or sports teams. You will miss out on these types of social opportunities with your peers. However, you will have time to volunteer in your hometown to help with 4-H clubs, special needs groups or animal rescue facilities. You will get some socialization, but the individuals may not be of the same age group as you are.
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