If you are a part-time student, there’s a good chance you have wondered what the online college phenomenon is all about. After all, both the number of colleges offering online degree programs and the number of students taking advantage of these opportunities have increased in recent years. If you have the motivation and discipline to work independently, online college might be the best choice for getting a degree without compromising your hectic life.

Going to School Part-Time

Students often choose to attend college on a part-time basis because their time is limited. They may already have full-time or part-time jobs that restrict not only their ability to complete a full course load, but also the flexibility of their schedule to meet for course times. Some have family responsibilities that make it hard to commit to a full-time school schedule. For various reasons, the number of part-time college students had already been increasing as early as 2007, according to U.S. News & World Report.

How Online Courses Fit In

An online education works well for part-time students. After all, the convenience and flexibility of online courses are some of the biggest pros of getting an online college degree. Not only can students make progress toward earning their degree without giving up their job or family obligations, but they can even choose to complete their coursework at whatever time works best for them. Just as more students are taking classes on a part-time basis, more students are also taking online classes, USA Today reported. For students who are working to pay for college or provide for a family or for whom caring for a family is already a full-time job, studying part-time and taking online courses make what might otherwise be an unmanageable task – earning a degree – doable.

Things to Consider When Choosing to Study Online

Though an online course or degree program might be an excellent choice for you, do your research before you sign up. Make sure that the school and program you are considering are accredited by the relevant organizations. Many brick-and-mortar schools now have online courses and degree programs in addition to their traditional offerings, so you may be able to continue studying at your current organization without the hassle of scheduled class meetings, an aggravating commute or paying for a parking permit. In addition to ensuring that the school and program are legitimate, realize that the online college experience is different from that of traditional courses. Because you don’t have in-person interactions with an instructor, you may feel isolated. It is easier to fall behind, so you will have to stay organized and disciplined.

Online college degree programs can help part-time students achieve their goals with minimal inconvenience. You don’t have to rearrange your life to make it to class on time or even deal with the extra stress of getting to campus. You can focus more on the most important part of the college experience: learning.