Online versus Traditional Schools From a Student’s Perspective

One of the most heated debates in today’s higher education landscape is between the effectiveness between traditional and online college programs. It should come to no surprise to you that the most well-recognized programs in the nation remain traditional institutions such as the prestigious Ivy League schools and established public schools in the United States. Online programs, on the other hand, have become well-known given their relatively low-costs and the utility of Internet services as a means to provide a beneficial education. Regardless of banter, rankings are meaningless unless the universities discussed will give you a useful education. Read on to find out the benefits of both online and traditional programs to find a match for your needs.

Online Education

The number of schools such as the Jones International University (established in 1996, the first fully accredited online university) have skyrocketed with the proliferation of Internet services in the 20th and 21st centuries. In early 2010, more than one in four college students enrolled in at least one online education course. Furthermore, experts expect this number to continue increasing. Here are some reasons why online education has become so popular in recent years:

  • Effectiveness of online services – Internet-related services have become increasingly useful regardless of program type. College courses typically have webpages where students can come together to discuss homework problems and topics covered in classes. A popular application used for this purpose is Blackboard, which provides a plethora of services which guides the education process from the teacher sending out assignments to the student turning in their completed work. This trend streamlines the process and allows teachers to use classroom time for teaching.
  • Convenience – One of the most commonly-cited benefits of an online education is the convenience of taking classes online. Online programs remove the commute time and scheduling requirements that traditional programs inherently include, therefore slimming down a college degree to an efficient form.
  • Compatibility – Another major benefit of online programs lies in the fact that students can take however many online classes they prefer. For example, some students may complete an entire degree online, while others can take a specific class to meet a requirement. Due to the recession, many professionals have been returning to school to learn skills relevant in today’s economy, and online classes have been a popular option for these students.

Traditional Education

Despite the heavy gains that online colleges have made compared to their traditional counterparts, traditional programs remain as the most prestigious programs around the world. While online universities have made big changes to stay relevant today, traditional programs have also shifted their curriculums to reflect the demands of today’s job market. Here are some benefits that attending traditional programs bring:

  • Networking Possibilities – Traditional programs have the resources to fund career centers and hire counselors. Career centers and counselors can help prepare you for the awkward stage between college graduation and your career by helping you discover networking opportunities. In addition to hosting career fairs, universities will often partner with businesses to offer students the opportunities to gain real-world work experience.
  • Person-to-Person Interactions – University professors remain one of the biggest assets traditional programs have. Many prominent universities retain professors who are experts in their field and have won distinguished awards such as the Nobel Prize. In addition to being distinguished members of their field, professors can be excellent instructors who motivate and shape students to become better informed in their field of study. Regardless of the number of webcasted lectures, informative videos, or insightful studies online services can offer, the role of the professor will remain a benefit that traditional programs hold.

As you can see, both types of programs have respective benefits in terms of educational enrichment. As mentioned earlier, finding the best college program only matters if the program matches your educational aspirations and budget constraints. Having said that, having a cohesive outlook on what you are looking for with a college degree is more important than what prominent ranking sites have to offer.