At the college level, different students learn in different ways. If you are self-motivated, good at thinking critically and prefer to learn on your own rather than having an instructor constantly checking up on you, you might be an independent or solitary learner. With your inherent drive to succeed and your self-sufficient style of study, you should find online college degree programs a good fit for your learning style.

The Need to Work Independently

Students choose online college for a variety of reasons. The convenience and flexibility of online college is popular among many students with busy schedules. Students may also take courses online rather than on campus so that they can study at a faraway school without leaving home, earn a degree more quickly or save money. What some students don’t expect is that online classes are not easier than classes taken in the classroom. In fact, many students find them more difficult, in part because the format of the class is different from their past experiences. Without a strict weekly schedule, students may find it easier to procrastinate or forget about assignments. Because online classes often involve less interaction with students and instructors – and no face-to-face interaction – some students feel isolated when they begin taking courses online. This means that online college may not be for everyone – but for students who enjoy working independently, factors like limited interaction with the instructor and classmates might not be drawbacks at all.

The Solitary Learning Style

An independent learner enjoys what Edudemic identifies as a solitary or intrapersonal learning style. You might be a solitary learner if you prefer studying alone, but being a loner isn’t the only trait that links you to this learning style. Are you self-motivated? Do you develop a personal interest in your studies? You might learn best on your own because you use strategies like modeling and creative role-playing to immerse yourself in and better understand ideas and concepts. Because your personal thoughts, feelings and goals matter so much to your performance, working in a group or team is less fulfilling to you than working alone.

For solitary learners, online college can be ideal. You study on your own schedule, so you can spend as much or as little time on a topic as you feel you need. Your independent study won’t be interrupted by discussions in a real, physical classroom, and you can think through your responses to discussions in a virtual classroom. Not having a lot of in-depth, face-to-face interactions with your professor and fellow students probably won’t leave you feeling isolated, since you prefer to learn on your own, anyway. If you do need help, you can always ask for it.

Feeling isolated is “the trouble with online college” for students who require more instructor interaction, according to The New York Times. However, as a solitary learner, the freedom and flexibility may make online classes a great choice for you.