If you are thinking about attending college online and skipping out on that dorm life, you are definitely not alone. I’m doing it right now, despite being in the full swing of life! Attending college online lets you keep going without the pause a traditional campus setting often requires, along with so much more. Here are some of the many perks attending college online offers, and ones I love!
1. If you want to “go to class” at 3am, do it!
In online classes, you are usually given several deadlines a week. You get to decide what you do and when you do it, as long as you meet those due dates. For example, in my program, I have two discussion questions due throughout each week, an assignment due every Sunday, and three days of two responses to classmates due each week. That may sound like a lot, but it is really not bad at all. If I’m feeling it, I can wipe out all but two days of participation in one day, no problem. Then I only need to check in two more days that week to chat with my peers, leaving me with a lot of time for the rest of life’s demands!
2. You can focus on one class at a time.
This may not be true of all colleges with online programs, but it is something I sought, discovered, and love. Some colleges offer condensed courses, typically eight weeks long, that you can take one at a time and still be considered a full-time student. (You want that full-time status because your financial aid can depend on it.) I like this set-up because I don’t get bogged down with several classes each demanding life space, which is filled with enough excitement, thank you. If you want to take more than one class at a time, you definitely can. And if you can, that will help you get your degree sooner!
3. Live here physically, go there digitally.
If you have a dream college but you don’t want to move to attend, check out their online program! So many colleges are jumping into the online college scene, which means you can attend a college in Arizona and never leave your house in West Virginia! Most universities offer online programs, letting you get that big-name degree without leaving town. However, if you want a science degree, many do require labs. In that case, you need to be close enough to your college so you can attend labs, as there is usually no other option.
4. Get off work and go to that party!
One of the best benefits of online college is that you can still live your life. You are usually not required to check-in at certain times of the day, compared to the traditional college setting where you are running to different buildings to get to class, having a two-hour break that’s not enough to really do anything with, then going to another class, after which you realize it’s dark outside. It’s exhausting, and your day is dedicated to school. With an online college, you get to fit in your classwork when you can. I do recommend planning it out for each week, though, because otherwise, you’re rushing to meet each deadline and turning in half-ass work, which does not help your dream.
5. Go! Fight! Win!
Fill out that FAFSA! Apply for those scholarships! Just because you are not going to a physical college, it doesn’t mean you can’t get these financial angels. Scholarships, grants, and loans will still have your back. There are tons of scholarships to apply for, too, so even if the other two are not in your favor, start whipping out those scholarship entries. Do not let funds stop you from improving yourself.
6. It is largely independent work.
This one can be good or bad; it depends on you. Personally, I like the independence of online college because it helps me feel more prepared for the afterworld, meaning the new reality of a college graduate about to kick butt and take names. I did attend a physical campus years ago and squeaked by, my lack of self-discipline nearly ruining me. This time around, I crave a degree, having lived a little and realizing what I actually want to do with myself. My self-discipline is present now because I see how important a degree really is for my future. So do some soul searching if you need the extra motivation. If I can do it, you definitely can.
7. You have a personal cheer squad.
Colleges know it can be really hard getting started in online classes. So, they have people regularly call and email you just to make sure you are okay! You get to build relationships with people who really want to help you and who enjoy your successes with you. If you are having a rough time at work, they will listen to you and give you advice. If they see you slacking in your schoolwork, they will help you get back on track. Basically, they’re the best kind of bestie. They stay positive and help you do the same in all aspects of your life.
8. All you need is Wi-Fi.
You want to go to Florida for the week? Go! Hit up that McDonald’s Wi-Fi and work on that class work when you have some downtime. You do not have to worry about missing anything in class because your class can be accessed almost anywhere. Of course, if there is some wacky Wi-Fi absent circumstance that would require you to miss due dates, message your instructor about it. Usually, as long as you talk to your instructor beforehand, they will extend due dates for you if you anticipate missing a significant amount of class. Do not do this because you just don’t want to do your work, though, because you will become overwhelmed by classwork back-up and your teacher will begin suspecting things.
9. Did I hear “Winter Break”?
Even though you are going to college online, you still get breaks! The breaks are not as long as traditional college breaks, but you do still get some time to unwind and relax. Also, many instructors will announce that they will not check in to the online class on a holiday, like Labor Day, and they explain that students are not required to check in on that day either. So you get to enjoy the holidays!
10. You have resources at your fingertips.
Upon enrolling in college online, most also give you access to the college’s digital library, an online tutor center, and a schedule of both live and recorded webinars you can virtually attend. This is nice because you do not have to go anywhere other than your online classroom for help! They give you just about everything you need! If you are struggling with anything, you can find something in these resources that will help you out. And if nothing else, ask your instructor! I have found that most online instructors are very willing to help you out. They want to see you succeed just as much as you do!