The world of online college classes has transformed before our eyes since the global pandemic hit in 2020. In 2021 alone, approximately 92 million students enrolled and attended courses online to work toward a degree. An online bachelor’s degree is available from many schools, each with its perks and drawbacks. Choosing an online bachelor’s degree program has never been easier, thanks to the flexibility of when, where, and how one may pursue an education.
The Difference Between Online College and Attending Class on Campus
The main difference between online college classes and attending classes on campus is the location. While traditional campus classes require a student to be physically on campus for lectures and labs, online courses can be completed anywhere in the world with a strong internet connection.
Online degrees may be the best option for many students, but it is important to know that some majors and degrees may have in-person requirements. For example, completing certain science labs and internships through a computer can be challenging. Some majors that require classes like that, such as education and nursing, allow students to take the majority of their classes online and only the required lab or fieldwork courses in person. If a 100% online bachelor’s degree is the goal, students need to ensure that it is not a hybrid degree.
The Benefits of an Online Bachelor’s Program
Remote learning has exploded in popularity since the 2020 pandemic. Alongside the big push for employees to continue working from home, many students are sticking to online classes and loving the benefits that come with them. Below are some of the most significant benefits of online bachelor’s programs.
Flexibility with scheduling
Online classes allow working and busy individuals to be in control of when and where they are completing their education. Some students will choose synchronous classes at the best times of the day to fit in live remote lectures around their work or personal schedules. Others will take asynchronous courses that allow them to complete the assigned work and readings whenever convenient.
No commuting or boarding costs
Students attending college online don’t need to worry about paying for things like gas for their car to get to campus, parking fees, or the room and board cost to live on campus. Eliminating these costs can make college much more affordable.
Cheaper cost of attendance
Many colleges will lower the price of attendance for students taking classes online compared to in-person. For one, the school does not need to pay for classrooms and physical space. Plus, some colleges will eliminate more expensive tuition costs for out-of-state students taking online classes, allowing them to find the college with the best program and academic support without worrying about out-of-state expenses.
For many students, taking online classes gives them the freedom to complete their degree that an in-person class schedule may not. Students with physical or learning disabilities can learn at their own pace, in a safe and comfortable environment, and still receive support from campus offices and tutoring centers to ensure they complete their degree.
The Drawbacks of an Online Bachelor’s Program
While there are many benefits to completing a degree online, there are drawbacks that could be a dealbreaker for many students. After reviewing these drawbacks, you may better understand whether enrolling in an online bachelor’s degree is right for you.
Technology, in general, has allowed for so many advances in education, but the equipment needed to complete assignments and stream lectures can be costly. In 2022, Microsoft reported that students completing online classes would require a laundry list of technology devices to successfully enroll, including a reliable computer, a webcam, video chat software, a microphone, headphones, and more.
If you’re not technologically savvy, navigating the ins and outs of new computer software and websites might be tricky. While many colleges have a virtual ‘help desk,’ the average wait time for inquiry responses is 27.7 hours. With that long response rate, professional procrastinators trying to submit last-minute assignments might be in major trouble if they run into technological roadblocks.
Students learning from home can have many distractions depending on their living situations. Things like young children needing their attention during lectures, social media tempting them to check, background television, and family needs are just a few.
What to Consider Before Starting an Online Bachelor’s Program
Before committing to an online college degree, it is important for every student to do their research to ensure that school has everything they need to succeed. Remember, not all colleges have the same support services and resources, and not every college is right for every student.
Students with physical or learning disabilities may need different accommodations and services provided by their college in order for them to successfully finish their program. A quick google search of any online college should come up with the accommodations they offer their students and how they can acquire them before beginning school.
Cost is always an important factor when college shopping and online programs are no different in this department. To help with costs, some colleges will offer tuition discounts to veterans, and some may even provide free laptops and technology to complete classes.
Tutoring and writing center support
In a traditional, on-campus setting, most colleges have tutoring and writing centers available to all enrolled students for extra help. For students who may find certain courses challenging, having a tutor or someone to help with a paper could make or break a grade.
When it comes to accreditation, colleges will be affiliated with different accreditation agencies that can determine what kind of education you will receive in your field. Understanding what accreditation agency is most known or prestigious in the students’ field is important in deciding which online college is right for them.
The Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
The variety of options available for online bachelor’s degree programs can make it challenging to select the most appropriate program. Students searching for the right opportunity will find the most helpful information and data on Intelligent.com.
- Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees of 2023
- Best Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees
- Best Colleges with Lowest Out-Of-State Tuition
- Best Online Colleges for Working Adults
Interested in a degree instead?
Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.