I had my first experience taking online classes while working on my two-year degree at my community college. I took mostly in-person classes, with a few online classes mixed in because that was the only way to get the all the classes I needed to fit into my schedule. I enjoyed taking classes this way, so I also took summer classes online so I could complete some credits over the summer without having to be on campus.
Since I liked the online classes from the community college, I decided to finish my bachelor’s degree entirely online through Southern New Hampshire University’s online degree program. I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and English from SNHU in 2017. Though I earned my degree from a college located in New Hampshire, I never had to leave my home in Ohio to attend my classes. This allowed me to continue to work at my regular graphic design job while finishing my degree.
Here are some reasons why online college courses may also be a good fit for you.
Arguably the biggest benefit to enrolling in online courses over in-person courses is the flexibility online courses give you. You don’t have to worry about scheduling all the classes you need each term around each other or around your other responsibilities, such as work or other personal obligations. You can log into your classes and complete your assignments on your own schedule, whether you wish to work on your homework late at night or in the middle of the day, or even on weekends. Online classes are an excellent option for busy adults who need to continue working at their regular job while working toward their degree.
While the per-credit tuition costs may be similar to those of in-person classes, the overall costs of online classes may be considerably less when you factor in the money you will save on commuting or housing costs. You will likely save a lot of money in the long run by choosing to take your classes online from the comfort of your own home. When you factor in the fact that you don’t have to quit your job or cut back on hours to fit online classes into your schedule, it makes much more financial sense for many students to attend classes online.
If you work full time, have kids, or are responsible for caring for a sick or elderly relative, you might feel like you don’t have time to finish your college degree. With online classes, you can fit your course work in around any other daily responsibilities you might have, making it much easier to achieve your dream of finishing your degree.
If you’ve taken in-person classes, you know that the learning environment on campus isn’t always the most comfortable, between uncomfortable seats in lecture halls, and noisy common areas when you need to study. With online classes, you never have to leave the comfort of your home. You can log into your classes on your couch from your laptop or stay in bed while finishing your homework.
When scheduling in-person classes, you are limited to only the courses offered by your college in the time slots that work for you for that semester. With online courses, there may be a bigger variety of classes offered, or you can take online classes offered by another institution in another city or state if your university doesn’t offer a class you want to take. Online college credits are generally easy to transfer if you take an online class from a different college.
It can be easier to focus on your course work in the comfort of your own home, as there are fewer distractions. Other students can sometimes make it difficult to focus on the lecture or on your work. This isn’t a problem with online classes if you log in from a comfortably secluded location. (Though your family may cause just as many distractions as other students if you can’t get a few hours to yourself to work on your coursework at home.)
Online classes give you the freedom to work on your coursework at your own pace. As long as you are mindful of deadlines, you can work on your assignments when it is convenient for you. If you need to take a break in the middle of watching a pre-recorded lecture or reading online lesson materials, you have the option to do that.
If you are a quiet or shy person, it can be difficult to speak up to participate in class discussions in traditional in-person classes. Shy students may find it to be much easier to participate in class discussion and to interact with classmate in the online discussion board format provided by online courses. By interacting with classmates and participating in class discussion in this way, shy or socially anxious students might be able to get more out of the class experience that they would from in-person classes.
When you take an online class, you are forced to develop self-discipline to meet the deadlines. You won’t have anyone pushing you to finish your project or log into your classes each week. You have to take the initiative to complete your work on your own. Some students may find this difficult, but learning self-discipline is a valuable skill that you will need in the work world.
Even if you are not planning on enrolling in an online degree program, there may be times where it makes more sense to take an online course through another college and transfer the credit back to your home college. For example, if a course you are planning on taking requires a prerequisite, but it isn’t offered that semester, is full, or doesn’t fit into your schedule, you may want to take it online at a different college and transfer the credit. Online class credits are usually easily transferable between institutions.
Even if you have limited computer skills, you will become more proficient with technology while interacting with online classes. These skills are important in the modern job market. Becoming more comfortable with online technology can make you more marketable when it comes time to look for a job in your field.
Whether you are interested in an entirely online degree program or are simply interested in taking one or more online classes in addition to your traditional in-person course load, there are many advantages to enrolling in online classes. Online classes are a convenient way to finish your degree around your busy schedule.