Can I get a Good Education Online?

B. Miller
B. Miller
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Businessman giving a thumbs-up

It is entirely possible to get a good education online. Distance learning and online courses and degree programs continue to increase in popularity for various reasons. Many people pursue an online education because they find it to be more convenient, which it undoubtedly is. However, there are many issues to think about when considering taking classes online.

You should begin by considering your personality and level of motivation. Do you work well independently, and can you solve problems on your own, or do you prefer to be around other people and have face-to-face discussions? Are you capable of setting aside a certain amount of time per day or per week to do your work, or are you prone to becoming distracted and putting it off for later? No matter how convenient an online education may seem, if it is not a good match for your personality and style of learning, you should look elsewhere.

Keep in mind that getting a good education online requires quite a bit of work on your part. Obviously, there will be less instruction and more independent study and gathering information from textbooks. In all likelihood, you will never meet your professor or classmates face-to-face, so while you may get a good education online, you may not always develop the contacts that can be so valuable from a traditional university education. Though an online education used to be considered slightly sub-par to a traditional university degree, this is almost always no longer the case.

If you are returning to school part-time after being in the workforce for a number of years or after starting a family, an online education can be a great way to do it. You are free to work your own schedule on your own time, and usually online universities offer accelerated degree programs that might allow you to get a bachelor's degree or a master's degree in half the time it might take at a traditional university. Classes are generally shorter as well, and might only be five or six weeks long. Every online education program is different, however, so be sure to research it thoroughly.

Not all degree programs are available online, but this too is rapidly changing. Another issue to consider is cost. Online courses are generally no less expensive than a traditional university, and in some cases are even more expensive. Scholarships and grants remain available, however. The most important thing to remember is that while you can get a good education online, it is a very different method from traditional undergraduate or graduate study and you should continue to consider all of your options before choosing the best one for you.

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