The popularity of online degree programs continues to grow, but some people still hesitate to enroll. Don't let one of these myths about online education stop you from getting a degree.
1. Online Courses are Easier
Online courses may give you more flexibility than traditional classes, but they require just as much work. Like brick-and-mortar institutions, the quality of classes varies between online degree programs. Since much of the work with online courses is completed independently, students need to be disciplined.
2. There's No Personal Attention and Communication with Other Students
Many online institutions go to great lengths to make their programs more personal. Some programs use discussion forums, weekly conference calls, and academic and career counselors to let their students know that they are not isolated at their computer screen. Students usually get personalized feedback from their professors. Like any educational environment, students must make an effort to work closely with their professors.
3. Online Schools Aren't As Good
Like all schools, the quality of online education varies from institution to institution. You can earn a degree online from a well-regarded school like Harvard University or enroll in a lesser-known program that may not be as challenging -- or it could be more challenging and not as well-known (or expensive). To judge the quality of an online program, check its accreditation, see what support services are available, ask if you can take a sample class, and talk to other students and professors.
4. The Credits You Earn Online Won't Transfer to Traditional Colleges
If you earn your degree at a regionally-accredited online institution, your credits are the equivalent to credits earned at a brick-and-mortar school and will be accepted by most schools. Transferring credit becomes more complicated if you earned them at a program accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Some schools accept credits from DETC-accredited programs and some do not. Credits from programs that are not accredited will not be accepted for transfer.
5. Employers Don't Take Online Degrees Seriously
As the number of people earning online degrees grows, more employers are recognizing their value. Surveys have shown that 85 percent of employers find online degrees to be more acceptable than they were six or seven years ago. Earning an online degree can also show employers that you are motivated and disciplined to work.
6. You Must be a Computer Whiz to Take Online Courses
Most online institutions realize that students may not initially have a lot of technical know-how and offer support to make taking courses online less intimidating. From tech support hotlines to introductory computer courses, check out what technical support services an online institution offers.
7. You'll Never Set Foot on a College Campus
Many online learners complete their degrees without ever setting foot on a brick-and-mortar college campus, but others choose to combine campus and online courses.
Online courses can help busy students at traditional colleges add more flexibility to their schedules. Students who attend online courses at traditional colleges usually have the same access to campus resources as students on campus.