BY LAUREN SEPHTON
College is a big decision, but it doesn’t always mean you have to take the ordinary route. After interviewing both traditional college students and online college students, we have put together a few of the pros and cons of both.
PROS FOR ONLINE COLLEGE
To give a brief rundown, each semester is typically only eight weeks long, and professors will give assignments that are due by midnight every Monday, which gives students a full week to work as they wish. This leaves online students with the ability to create a flexible schedule that harmonizes with their work schedule, family responsibilities, extracurriculars, and special interests.
- Less Expensive
With online college, students skip the extra expenses such as books, housing fees, meal plans, and gas in commuting to campus. Of course, fees will vary depending on the university chosen.
- Freedom for Creativity
The world is up for grabs with online college, as students gain the ability to discover where their true passions stand. A flexible schedule allows students to try out different jobs, internships, hobbies, travel to new locations, etc. With a little planning, an online college student can create a lifestyle that incorporates experiences to allow them to pursue their dream job.
CONS FOR ONLINE COLLEGE
- Social Interaction
Online college can make it difficult to cultivate new friendships without the regular class schedules, dorm common areas, dining halls, and so on. According to an online college student, it is important for them to stay active and find a way to connect in their local community. Otherwise, a lack of social interaction can lead to social anxiety and depression.
- Responsibility to be Self-Focused
With the blessing of a flexible schedule, it is fundamental that online students are self-motivated to establish designated times to solely focus on their studies. Many students tend to struggle with being easily distracted or with procrastination, which can make it difficult to properly accomplish online work. It is recommended that online students plan exciting activities later in the week, so that they are motivated to accomplish their studies earlier.
- Group Projects
Typically, the further an online student gets into their education, the more likely they will be introduced to online group projects. The problem is that your assigned group members are likely taking advantage of that flexible schedule as well. With each member having his or her own schedule, it can be hard to accomplish the group project in a timely manner unless ground rules are set ahead of time.
PROS FOR TRADITIONAL COLLEGE
For students accustomed to routine and assigned schedules, traditional college is the ticket. Traditional college gives the advantage of discipline through weekly routines to keep students focused on their end goal.
- New Friendships
Traditional college makes available many opportunities for students to cultivate new friendships and make connections that can last a lifetime.
- Social and Athletic Clubs
Traditional colleges offer a variety of clubs that hosts events and/or meetings on a regular basis to help engage students in their major and college campus. Keeping students entertained and excited to come back each semester, these social clubs look great on resumes and allow students to grow as individuals.
CONS FOR TRADITIONAL COLLEGE
- Rules and Restrictions
Instead of solely focusing on accomplishing their studies to the best of their ability, traditional students may come up against the battle of timed schedules. Traditional college students may deal with the possibility of strict professors, required weekly service/club hours, limited dining hall and library hours, etc.
- Eating Habits
With a busy schedule that leads to many grab-and-go, traditional college students tend to lack nutritional meals to fuel their body throughout the day. With the added stress of constant exams and homework due on a daily basis, many traditional college students may snack out of nervous habit.
- Finals Stress
Traditional college students are faced each semester with a final exam and/or midterm exam that can play a major role in their final grade, and that requires oodles of studying that tends to cause stress.
With a college education at your fingertips like never before, the options are endless! Which would you prefer?