Back when I was a lot younger and had a lot more hair, one of my favorite films was the Rodney Dangerfield classic (well…classic to me anyway) “Back to School.” I thought it was hilarious to see this older guy going back to college and getting reacquainted with the process of higher learning. I’m not laughing quite so hard now that the “older guy” is me and going back to school is one of many goals I’ve set for myself for the New Year.
Maybe you’ve heard the old saying “You’re never too old to go back to school.” And certainly that is true. But as we get older, work, family and just the daily grind of living day-to-day can make going back to school difficult. So what do you do?
Getting an online degree may be the answer.
Going to class online can be just what the principal ordered. Adults make an ever-increasing segment of potential candidates for higher learning and an online education makes it easier than ever. The great thing about an online education is that it doesn’t limit adults to specific geographic locations or work schedules. There are literally thousands of online colleges and institutions of higher learning to choose from.
But is an online degree program right for you? According to a study conducted by www.online–education.net, how do you know if you will learn better in a face-to-face environment or online? Consider the following questions as you juggle the pros and cons. How you answer can provide you with a measuring stick on whether or not an online education is right for you:
– Do you work well alone?
– Can you complete assignments regularly without reminders?
– Do you have at least 10 to 15 hours a week to devote to schoolwork?
– Can you learn by reading alone instead of listening to a lecture?
– Do you have regular access to a computer and the internet?
– Are you comfortable using word processing and spreadsheet software?
– Are you self-disciplined?
– Do you communicate well in writing?
– Do you tend to work ahead of schedule?
– Do you have extensive work and/or family commitments?
– Do you feel motivated without regular personal contact with an instructor?
O-k, if you answered mostly “no” to the questions — for example if you communicate better verbally than in written form and don’t feel you have mastered solid time-management skills, then you may do better in a structured, traditional “on-campus” school environment.
However if you answered mostly “yes” to the questions — for example you work well alone and your work schedule doesn’t allow you to attend classes at preset times each week then online learning may be just the ticket as “distance learning” students are generally very organized self-starters who work well independently and need few reminders in assignments and due dates.
Still a little intimidated by the concept of going it alone? Than perhaps the solution is to look for an institution that offers a blended or “hybrid” course structure.
These courses offer the best of both worlds as they incorporate aspects of both in-campus and online learning environments. Individual set-ups vary depending on the institution but generally students in a hybrid learning environment spend half their time in a classroom and the remainder at home online.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to have a good understanding on what works best for YOU. Be honest with the type of learning style that will allow you to maximize your efforts.
At the end of the day, your education is an investment. In every sense of the word you are committing time, energy and money to bettering yourself. An online education could be the most sensible and convenient choice you ever made. Especially if you are juggling other responsibilities at home and in the office.