Advantages of Online Colleges and Degree Programs

The number of students choosing to pursue their college degrees online has exploded in recent year. A 2010 study by the Sloan Consortium shows that the number of online students grew by over a million between 2008 and 2009, the largest single year increase ever. In 2009 there were over 5.6 million students taking online courses, or nearly thirty percent of all college and university students. Interestingly, the growth in online student enrollments outpaced enrollment in traditional on-campus programs by nearly ten to one!

So why are so many students choosing to go online for their college degrees? Here’s just a few of the advantages online and distance education degree programs have over traditional on-campus programs:

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1. Cost. Online degree programs don’t require buildings, classrooms, or faculty offices, among other things. Because of the lower overhead, colleges and universities are often able to offer online degrees at a significantly lower cost to students than traditional degree programs.

2. Convenience. Because online and distance degree programs are administered online, students can take classes, engage in conversation, and submit coursework from anywhere with an internet connection. What’s more, with most online degree programs offered in an asynchronous format, students don’t even have to be online at any particular time.

3. Quality. Many students and faculty report that the quality and depth of engagement and learning is actually better online. Students are given more time to process their thoughts and are often required to respond to each others ideas and questions in chat rooms or on message boards.

4. Speed. Although the work required for online degree programs is typically just as challenging and difficult as traditional degree programs, the flexibility and self-pacing opportunities of online degrees allow many schools to offer accelerated degree programs online that allow students to finish their degree faster than they could in a traditional degree program.