Is Online Education the Right Path For You?

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The benefits of an online education are easily understood. The cost factor is the one that immediately comes to mind, but there are many other advantages to pursuing an online degree. With the exception of perhaps a handful of online colleges that require a student to login at certain times, the majority of online courses offer a degree of flexibility that courses taught at traditional bricks and mortar campuses just can’t match. Not only can students choose when they study, studying online allows students to “attend” pretty much any college of their choosing without geographical limitations or concern for pre-existing work or childcare commitments. It all sounds wonderful, and for most students it is. That doesn’t mean it’s for everybody though. Just like a decision to attend college in person should be made carefully, so should the decision to study online. Here are some factors that students should consider before deciding to pursue an online education.

What do you want from your education?

Having a clear understanding of your goals can help you choose the education path that is right for you. While some students will indeed have their hand somewhat “forced” as a result of their personal circumstances, still others have a free choice between online and traditional education. You’ll need to determine whether the online courses you are considering fit your defined goals. Want to be a high flying lawyer? A non-accredited online course is unlikely to suffice. Want to be a famous blogger? Online courses will probably be right up your street.

How will you pay for your education?

There are plenty of online courses out there that will teach you everything from astrology to zoology without you having to put so much as a hand in your pocket. When you get into accredited courses, online or otherwise, more often than not that all changes. Tuition fees can be expensive even when you are studying online. Different institutions may charge their fees in different ways. Some may offer affordable monthly payments, while others may require annual fees paid upfront in a lump sum. Be sure you have a firm grasp of how tuition is charged for the institutions you are interested in and whether that fits in with how you are able to pay. Don’t assume that there is no financial help for online students; some organizations offer online education scholarships.

Be sure to test the waters before you enroll

It’s never been easier to enrol on an online course. Just head over to the likes of Coursera and Udacity and you could be enrolled and starting to learn a new subject within minutes. This gives you an excellent opportunity to discover whether online education is the right path for you as it will  help you to determine whether you have the right mentality to study online. Will you be able to stay organized? Can you cope with possible feelings of isolation? Are you geared up to study online? Do you have the necessary equipment and tools, not to mention reliable internet access? Testing the waters with a free online course can help you answer all these question and, should you decide to go ahead with your plans, better equip you for the road ahead.

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