Online School VS Physical Attendance
I hope the month of August is treating you well! Before the current events began, you probably attended school without a second thought. However, recent circumstances have spurred new thoughts and now you may be re-considering your options and what this means for you and your future. A school attendance dilemma has emerged.
So, I wanted to share the pros and cons of going to school online versus going to school in person as well as a few potential options for online schooling and some final thoughts.
During this time, health is a concern for some. So, maybe this is an option to feel safer, at least for the completion of one degree or the rest of your degree(s) depending on where you are in the process and what goals you plan to achieve for yourself.
This option is a time saver. You don’t have to use your time to drive to school, wait on traffic, find a parking space, and other time related factors. You could wake up, make a delicious and healthy morning meal, and get to work on your schooling in your pajamas if you prefer!
Traveling is an opportunity given by the online route. This can grant you the ability to check off some of your traveling goals as well as finishing a degree!
Time flexibility is also a pro to this option because you can more easily maneuver your school schedule and school work around your source of income or vice versa, which can make life a little less stressful depending on your personal circumstances.
In some cases, you can go at your own pace. However, sometimes there are due dates, so your pace will have to sync with this to turn in assignments on time. Master’s and Doctoral programs are more likely to let you turn in your work without a due date on each and every assignment. But, Bachelor’s programs may contain more due dates and be a little more structured.
Limited Instruction is a con when it comes to online schooling. It depends on how the class is set up online. For instance, math courses may offer videos of math tutorials. But, other courses such as a science course may not offer videos to watch. In this case, reading the material is important and can hinder the learning process for some people depending on strengths and weaknesses in various courses.
Inquiries on material can also be a challenge. If you are in class, you get the luxury of having a lecture and the ability to ask the professor a question at that moment (if allowed by the professor), and the professor can answer the question and use the board or projector if needed to answer your question.
However, if you have a question regarding the material while going to school online, you’ll have to email the professor which takes longer and is more difficult because tools are limited. If the professor must explain the answer through visual means or if auditory tools are needed, then phone calls, Zoom, or some other type of video conferencing tool will be used, and you would have to set up an appointment with the professor for an online video chat.
Social interaction is also a huge con to this option. By going to school online, you miss out on an opportunity to meet other people and on potential trips where you can meet even more people! In contrast, you are mostly sitting in front of a laptop or at a desk reading a textbook unless a project requires you to go outside. But, more interaction with people for a project makes the process of completing the project more fun.
In conjunction with the previous point, Campus environment is non-existent, which means extracurricular activities, clubs, sororities, and other opportunities are lacking with the online route. And, you don’t have a beautiful camps to roam.
Physical Attendance Pros
A big pro to this option is communication to include inter-personal and intra-personal skills. All of these cam be learned through attending a school because there is a mixture of students whereas going to school online limits interaction with others to a certain extent. This is not the only way to learn these skills, but it is a suitable option.
Making Friends coincides with the previous point, but it should be mentioned as a stand-alone point as well. This is a good pro to attending a school versus online schooling because online schooling limits students from directly communicating. In general, people seem more reserved to open up and get to know other people when taking classes online. So, meeting new friends is definitely easier in person.
Physical attendance offers the opportunity to get away from the computer screen and gain more interaction with students and the professor within a classroom setting. This allows for better note taking methods because lectures can help you better understand material depending on your note-taking preference.
You are also in a position to ask questions while in class, and it can also help you more in regards to exam preparation. For instance, the professor may hint with certain tonality signals that you will definitely want to know this information; whereas, in online learning, you have to guess what may be on the exam unless a study guide is provided by the professor.
You get to enjoy everything the school has to offer including activities, clubs, sororities, and more. Basically you can gain numerous experiences while being on campus that you would not experience otherwise.
A huge pro to physical attendance is overall student aid. And, what I mean by this is you can easily ask someone in-person if you have a question about the material you need. You can also go see someone in financial aid if you have a question rather than calling. You can more easily see an adviser or anyone in any department that can help you with your issue. Basically, help is more readily available.
If you are online and local, this is not a big issue. But, if you are online and located hundreds of miles away from the school you attend online, obtaining information to help you with the financial process or anything else can become tedious, stressful, and difficult if you are not local or (at least) near the campus.
Physical Attendance Cons
If you need a flexible option, physical attendance is not the way to go as this route does not foster a flexible schedule. Analyze your schedule to see if physical attendance is possible with class schedules. And, if you feel this is too much to juggle, look into taking online courses.
If you live in an area where universities do not offer what you want or offer no university at all, then your commute will be challenging and options will be limited. If you are considering attending a strong academic school (or if the closest school is 2 or 3 hours away), you may have to look into online options or move depending on your own personal factors.
In addition to the commuting challenge as well as limited options, culture could be problematic. By this, I mean physical attendance could limit your exploration options. It also means your professors may be more or less challenging depending on culture and other factors.
And, your professors may not be very diverse, especially if you go to a smaller school. For instance, most professors may be from that particular area. However, if you go to a bigger and/or well-known university, you may have professors from various states, even countries.
Online options are more prevalent among Master’s and Doctorate programs. However, there are still some opportunities to gain a Bachelor’s degree solely online.
Note: Be aware that some online schools that are strictly online are not accredited such as Full Sail University, Keiser University, University of Phoenix, and more. I list some (accredited) options below:
Oklahoma State University
OSU was listed as one of the Top Ten Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degrees of 2020. I don’t know much about this university, but this seems like a good option for Bachelor’s programs.
Kansas State University
KSU was another university listed as one of the Top Ten Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degrees of 2020. I don’t know much about this school as well, but it’s an option for those seeking to finish (or begin) a Bachelor’s online.
Arizona State University
If you are not interested in either options listed above, you could search for businesses that offer tuition reimbursement or tuition payments. Companies will set this up differently, so keep this in mind.
One example of this is Arizona State University. As you may or may not know, Starbucks, the huge coffee chain, offers tuition reimbursement for an online Bachelor’s degree through this university.
From what I understand, Starbucks will pay tuition and the application fee. There may be a few other reimbursements as well, but keep in mind Starbucks will not reimburse for money spent on things such as items for a project. This is on you or is expected to come from your loan provider or grant money if you qualify.
Do your research on this to see if it’s a good fit for you. You will have to work a minimum of 20 hours a week, and I think coverage is mostly given toward Juniors and Seniors in college.
Overall, it’s not a bad deal if you want to attend a university outside of your state without the hassle of out-of-state tuition and any other additional costs and fees that might accrue.
This is not the final option. There are others out there, but you may have to do some more research. If you are really just trying to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, and you’re not specific as to where you do this you could simply obtain a Bachelor’s degree from a State College. However, state colleges offer a limited amount of Bachelor’s degrees as they are not universities.
If you are unsure of what to do, think about your intended major and gather a general idea of your career timeline (click this link to refer back to one of my previous posts in regards to making a guideline for your future).
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where do you see yourself in a year or five years?
- What career path do you want to start first?
- What are your long term goals and plans?
- What is best for you at this moment?
- What obstacles should you consider?
- What would work best for you and what would cause you less stress?
- When can you start (which semester)?
Start with these questions. You may consider more information as you gain more answers and as more questions reveal themselves.
I hope you found this helpful! If you did, hit the like button and share it with others so the word can spread! I don’t want you to feel limited in your options. Make an informed decision and be happy! Which option do you prefer and why?
For Your Future Happiness,