If you started your college education at a traditional school only to discover that it wasn’t the right choice for you, then you might be wondering if you can finish your degree online. After all, your pursuit of an education cost you time and money that you can’t get back, but so far your work hasn’t paid off because you don’t yet have that degree. In fact, The Wall Street Journal wrote that “a bit of college can be worse than none at all,” noting unemployment rates and median earnings for candidates who have completed only some college are similar to those for candidates with only a high school education. If you want to finish your degree, switching to an online program could be the way to do it.

A Traditional College Education Doesn’t Work for Everyone

Not finishing your college degree at a traditional school is more common than you might think. Studies show that one-third of students who started college in 2012 didn’t return the following year, and nearly two-thirds of students who take time off from school don’t graduate even if they do return for a semester or more, The Wall Street Journal reported. There are a number of reasons why students don’t finish their studies at traditional schools. Work or family obligations get in the way of managing the workload or course schedule. Students relocate but never transfer to local schools to finish their degrees. Some college students question whether they are making the right academic and career decisions and stop their studies until they have considered their options more, while others decide to take time off so they can work more hours to pay for tuition.

Online College Could Be Right for You, Even If Traditional College Wasn’t

All of the possible reasons a college student might decide not to continue their studies at a traditional school typically boil down to one underlying concern: flexibility. With traditional college degree programs, students must be on campus at set times. They may have to take a certain number of classes, which could result in an overwhelming workload. Online college programs provide plenty of flexibility for busy students. They can complete course lessons and assignments on their own time, from any location. Many online students study part-time, taking only as many classes as they can handle. Because students can study at any online college in the nation (or the world), their options of programs to study is limitless, and they don’t have to settle for whatever majors the nearest college offers.

Despite its flexibility, online college degree programs pose challenges of their own. Students must be disciplined to get their work done without an instructor hovering over them, and they may feel isolated by the lack of in-person communication with professors and fellow students. However, for dedicated students, online college offers options and opportunities that may have been out of reach at a traditional college or university.