Should You Earn A Degree Online?

By Danielle Wirsansky on August 27, 2019

Getting a college degree can be an important and powerful choice that you make. It can open a lot of doors for you and help you achieve your dreams and career goals, whatever they may be. The college experience can be varied and no two students take the same path. One of the biggest choices a student needs to make after deciding to get a college degree is where they want their degree from and what kind of college experience will work best for them: traditional or not.

Where you get your degree from is an important choice. You want a school that fits your needs. From class sizes to the classes and programs they offer and even the prestige of its names all factor in.

You also need to decide then whether you want a traditional experience, like living in a dorm and going to classes in person, or if you would prefer something more non-traditional, like taking classes online.

Photo by Eugene Chystiakov from Pexels

Taking classes online is a great choice for some students and a less great choice for others. Earning a degree online really needs to fit your needs. On the one hand, doing your studies online offers you a lot of flexibility. You can do the classwork when you have the time to rather than having to go sit in a classroom at a prescribed time every week.

This can be a great option for students who have a lot of classwork to juggle. By taking your heavy course load online, you can do the assignments and classes when you need to and make sure everything is better balanced. This is important for both your mental and physical health.

It can also be a great option for students that are or have to work while in school. For some students, working in inevitable and unavoidable. If they do not work, then they cannot go to school. It is as simple as that. And sometimes students have to take the jobs they can get and they cannot afford to be picky about them. Other times, the best job for them is something that interferes with when classes are regularly scheduled, especially if a student has a job that causes them to have to work during the day (as a bulk of classes are scheduled during the workday hours as well). By taking online classes, they can schedule their course work around their jobs, allowing them to take classes when they otherwise might not have been able to participate.

Earning a degree online can also be a good option for students that get stressed out or overwhelmed by being on a campus (whether large or small), group work, or being in a new and/or stressful environment like that. The online coursework allows them to work in isolation, without the stressors or triggers that being in a traditional classroom might evoke.

However, online coursework is not for everyone. Some students do their best work when they are socially engaged in the class, meaning they can talk to the professor, go to office hours, participate in class discussions, or do their part in a group project. They are less fulfilled and less likely to stay engaged with the course when they are by themselves.

Others learn better by being more hands-on, and just reading materials or watching a recording of a lecture is not enough for them to truly understand and retain the information they need to in order to pass the course.

For other students, it can be a bit of a discipline problem. They might not have the discipline to get themselves to do the work when it needs to be done by when they are not being held accountable by attending a class every day or week. It can be easier to let assignments slip to the wayside without feeling the impact of it until it is too late and the student has failed the course.

Photo by Eugene Chystiakov from Pexels

There are many pros and cons to taking online courses or earning your degree online. Be sure to know yourself, what you want out of your experience and degree, and that you will be able to hold yourself to a certain standard before you can decide which is the best for you. You can always switch programs if what you chose is not the best fit for you.

If you try it out and do not like it, you can always go back to studying in a more traditional classroom setting. But if online courses hold a real draw for you, try it out. Maybe take a class or two online, and if you can manage them, handle your work, and get the experience and knowledge out of it that you were seeking, enroll to earn your degree solely online. It might just be the best thing you ever do!

Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), whatscheaper.com (associate editor), escapewizard.com (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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