Pros And Cons Of Having An Online Degree Instead Of An Offline One
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Having An Online Degree Instead Of An Offline One: Pros And Cons

Having an online degree is the future. As technology continues to improve and it becomes every easier to mesh online with offline, how can we imagine any other path? New innovations will make the drawbacks of studying online –such as needing access to technology, not being able to socialize with your peers and having to self-motivate– less serious even while the advantages will remain and possibly even be enhanced.

The thing is, the future isn’t here yet. And though we can hope for it to arrive soon, we’ve still got to deal with the world we’re living in.  So unless you’re planning to wait around for a while it is important that you look at the reality on the ground.

And that reality is that at the present time online degrees have several pros and cons that need to be carefully considered before you decide which the right match for you is. Because as the 15-year-old Alex Angelo, who studies online while managing his dancing and DJing career, recently said in an article here, “I don’t think online is the best option for everyone”, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the best option for you.

So let’s take a look, shall we?

3 Advantages Of Having An Online Degree

  • Your career is still on track. 
    Only for the young and lucky ones with serious parental support, or who are willing to build up serious debt, is it possible to study full time and not work as well. For those who already have children and a career to think of, that’s just not possible. With an online degree, you don’t even have to make that choice. You work on it when you have time and go at your own pace. That means that you don’t have to take a several year time-out and your career is still chugging along nicely when you’re done. And that means you’re still on track for promotions and raises and that the financial burden of the degree isn’t as severe as it could have been. Now that has to count for something.
  • You’ve learned to self-motivate.
    One of the big disadvantages listed on many sites about why an online course is more difficult is that you don’t have schedules, professors, and the university culture pushing you to complete the work. That means it’s far easier to fall behind and procrastinate. Every cloud has a silver lining, however. And here that is that if you do manage to stay on track, then you can be certain you have a great deal of discipline to keep motivated and keep going. That is both an invaluable skill as well as very useful thing to know you’re capable of. It means you can consider freelance work or start on your own if you want to. Even in an office it has its advantages as you can suggest working from home and can demonstrate to those in charge that you’ve got experience in self-motivation and can continue to be productive without anybody breathing down your neck.
  • You got to directly apply what you were learning. 
    At the same time, most students learn theory first and then have to wait several years before they get to apply it. That need not be the case for somebody learning online. They’ve got the opportunity to directly apply what they’ve been learning. This has an immense benefit in that our retention of information is much higher. What’s more, you haven’t been forced to accept such things based on faith and instead seen if they work or not as you applied them. That gives you an applied understanding that most brick-and-mortar students will need years to gather after they’re done.

3 Disadvantages Of Having An Online Degree

  1. Online degrees still have a respect deficit. 
    Now, to be clear, this problem isn’t as bad as it used to be and there are ways to mitigate this association, by –for example– getting a degree from a well-recognized online university or from one that has a campus that is well respected. Still, there remains a common perception that a degree earned at a campus is more valuable than one earned away from one. There is a bright side to this, however. And that is that as you progress this stigma will continue to fade, meaning that as time goes on your degree will actually become more respected. So if you’re considering an online degree as an investment in your future, this one might not be half as bad.
  2. Your network isn’t as big. 
    On the other hand, it often isn’t what you know but who you know, and with an online degree, you’re going to know fewer people. That’s a serious drawback, especially if you’re planning to make a career change based on your new degree. To limit the damage thereof, try to build up a good relationship with those people you do get to work with, be it over Skype or through email. Yes, they might be miles and even borders away, but, fortunately, that doesn’t mean that much these days.
  3. You did not get to experience the rest of university life.
    There is a lot more to university than just the classes. There is the social life, the extra-curricular activities, the politics, the romance. All of that falls away when you do your course online. You’ve just got your reading and your course work and that would seem to leave the online a poorer experience, without the ability to learn new interests, meet new people or connect with new ideas.

Conclusion

So should we just dump traditional education and all go online? The ball is still in the air for the moment, but as the ground underneath is changing at an incredible rate, when it does come down I can’t see how it won’t come down on the "yes" side.

Online education doesn’t have the same need for physical space and accessibility, which means the barrier to entry is much reduced and that – as any economy student knows – means there will be more competition on price and quality. That can only be good for students. What’s more, with the steady beat of innovation slowly irradiating the drawbacks and enhancing the advantages it seems an open and shut case some years from now.

It’s in that "some years from now" where the problem lies, however. When will that be? Next year? Five years? Ten? Can you wait that long? Are you willing to do it now, whatever may come? Those are all questions to which the answers will differ on a case-by-case basis and it is there that you ultimately need to make your decision. I hope that the pros and cons written out here will help in that regard.

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