Online College vs. Traditional College

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Online College vs. Traditional College

I have both taken classes online and on campus. They are completely different atmospheres, but they also have things in common and I feel that you can gain a quality education from either source. When I first graduated high school I attended Westfield State College for about a half a semester until I got real sick and could no longer attend. Shortly after that I attempted to go to a local community college in my city and I just didn’t have the motivation to go to school anymore. It could have had something to do with the strict Catholic High school I attended. I guess I just didn’t want to go to school anymore. Fast forward ten years and I have now been in the military for eight years and I am ready to work on my degree. I am more focused now and with the economy I feel that it is important to have a backup plan because even the military is cutting back.

Many more adults are going back to college these days now that college is available online. Online colleges are great for adults who need a little bit of flexibility in their schedules. For parents, military members, and people with busy work schedules, online classes are just the best option for them. The biggest factor in my deciding to attend classes online is the convenience of it all. I can work on my assignments anytime I want: weekends, in the middle of the night, or during the day if I have time. The best part of all is I could sit there on my couch in my pajamas and who would know? Attending college online allows me to not have to choose between going to school and working. Online college just makes life a little easier to work around when you don’t have the time to attend classes during the day or even in the evening if you have children.

An online learning study done by the Sloane Consortium in 2010 showed that enrollment rose by almost one million students from a year earlier. This is an increase of 21%, the largest single-year growth on record. The survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide found that approximately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in the fall of 2009 ( Some people feel that online colleges are the wave of the future. The late legendary business and management expert, Peter Decker, once said “Universities won’t survive. The future is outside the traditional campus, outside the traditional classroom. Distance learning is coming on fast” (Gubernick). While I don’t think that traditional colleges will ever go away completely, I do feel that online learning will someday soar past traditional learning. A lot more adults are attending college, but I think most out of high school students will still want to attend college on campus.

Financial reasons can also be a big factor in a person’s decision to either attend college online or on campus. Traditional campus learning can cost more money in the long run for a few reasons. First, if you live on campus then you have to worry about room and board costs (which I can assure you, usually aren’t that cheap). Second, if you choose not to live on campus, then you are most likely commuting to school which would include paying for gas. Third, you can usually keep working while you are taking online classes while it is hard to maintain a full-time job while you attend school on campus.

Military members are one of the largest growing populations for online college communities. They can earn a degree from practically anywhere, whether it they are stationed in the US or overseas in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s great to be able to earn a degree while at the same time serving your country. While there are sometimes actual classes offered on bases, you are not afforded the same amount of time to attend class on an actual college campus. These days it is also a good career choice within the military to have a degree, because...
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