For adult learners with full-time jobs or a family, going to college is a hefty decision that often comes down to a critical choice: campus or online. Online education has grown in popularity, and more schools offer accredited programs that are built to work with a hectic life schedule. On the other side is campus education, which is a time-tested method that offers an established learning environment. Here are 3 things to consider when deciding which option is right for you.
If you are going to pay money for an education, the point is to succeed. All other questions are unimportant if you cannot learn in the environment you choose. Online learning requires more self-reliance and time-management skills than campus learning. You are responsible for when and for how long you complete work. On the other hand, campus learning requires a dedicated time frame. It’s trying for those with attention problems, with hyperactivity or who suffer physical pain from long periods of sitting. Furthermore, a group learner who thrives on social interaction would find online learning stifling.
Time and Focus
If you can handle both online and campus learning, there is still the issue of time and focus. Campus learning requires a dedicated time frame decided by the college of your choice. Furthermore, driving time must be taken into account. Class schedules can interfere with work or familial obligations. There will always be an element of unpredictability but consider what you know of your schedule. Online learning has the advantage of conforming to your own schedule and locations. However, it does not account for interruptions. Learning from home is often rife with interruptions from family, friends, chores or technology. Sometimes, simple time management methods can solve this problem. Other times, more drastic measures are necessary, such as a separate home office or studying from a library or coffee shop.
Education requires resources whether you are attending a campus or logging onto a computer. For online learners, the student provides essential resources: the computer, the Internet, electricity and study space. Some online classes require outside research and interviews. Campus learners have the teacher and setting provided but require a car, gas money and meals. There is also a difference between the degrees offered. IT and office work have a number of degree options online. Hard science courses usually require hands-on lab requirements only available on campus. Do your research. You’ll want to know the availability of your degree and the reliability of programs and institutions.
Remember that deciding on your course is an important first step to earning a degree. It has to expand your future options while fitting into your present life. Many praise online learning for flexibility while others swear by the structure and discipline instilled at the campus. Deciding between the two is a personal decision that takes in all the considerations above and narrows the choice down to your perfect life and learning fit.