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Online University—Is it Right for Me?

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Options in online educationLearning is a lifelong endeavor directly related to career competence and personal fulfillment. Whether you’re considering an online or traditional university experience, selecting the best school and degree for you can be daunting. Compounding the issue are cost and time considerations. This is especially true in this day and age of hectic schedules, jobs, and family commitments. When it comes to selecting a university, be well-informed and ask–Is an online university right for me?

Modern students and working professionals seek a well-rounded education that also incorporates the powerful and flexible benefits of online technology. They want to learn while also working or raising a family, and they demand 24-hour access to an accredited institution and the best faculty. Today’s students need educational solutions that fit into their lives–not the other way around. Consider these benefits that online learning provides.

Anytime, Anywhere

Online learning can be accessed 24-7 from anywhere in the world, making it the ideal choice for students with varying schedules or time constraints. The convenience is unmatched compared to classroom learning. If you’re a working professional, a parent, or if you have an inconsistent schedule, online education is available when you’re available. Perhaps you’re someone who learns and retains information better in the morning or late at night? With online learning, you choose when and how long you want to go to class. For some, this flexibility can actually improve educational performance.

Set Your Own Pace

At an online university, you learn at your own pace. With self-paced learning, you have the freedom to balance your course load with other work-life obligations. Many online universities offer sessions that start monthly, which allows you to plan your own schedule, versus having to be tied to a traditional semester.


Online learning can often be an affordable option. In addition to competitive tuition rates, online students aren’t burdened with overhead costs like room and board, books and materials, meal plans, and travel, just to name a few. This can translate into significant savings.

[Read, “Get On the Couch and Earn Your Degree,” for more insight into the affordability of online learning.]

Community of Learners

Students in an online setting collaborate with a culturally and geographically diverse group of peers. Much like in a traditional university setting, you build relationships with your peers–only they’re online. Since many working professionals choose online learning, there tends to be increased opportunity to network with established experts who are working in the field. This unique advantage can actually enhance the quality of the course discussion and improve collaboration. It also helps students develop a global mindset by working with other online students around the world.

No Classroom Barriers

With online learning, everyone is given equal advantage to participate. In fact, many students report that they are more comfortable learning in the virtual classroom, because they know the focus is on the subject material–not based on physical appearance or how comfortable one is with speaking in public.

Train and Learn Simultaneously

Some online students may not realize it at first, but they are actually learning valuable communication and technology skills while working toward their diplomas. Online learning fosters confidence in using tools, navigating Internet resources efficiently, building a social network, and bolstering writing and communication skills. Technology and communications skills perfected in the online learning environment are highly valued in nearly every professional organization. And it takes no extra effort; it’s a natural part of the online learning experience. But, don’t worry; you’re not required to be a computer whiz. Most online universities provide resources and orientation classes that help students become comfortable with learning online.

Experienced Instructors

Online universities draw faculty from a highly talented pool of established professionals holding top academic credentials. As a result, online students have access to “on the ground” instructors. These instructors practice what they teach and provide unparalleled insight into how academics are being implemented in the field. As a bonus, online students aren’t limited to preset office hours. Students can send questions to instructors and access existing help material. Online students often say their instructors are “practitioners,” and that the relevant curriculum being taught gives them a competitive advantage.

By Online Learning Tips Staff

J. Thompson is the Vice President of the Content team at American Public University. He earned an M.F.A in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and performed his undergraduate studies in English literature, political science and business management between the University of New Mexico and East Carolina University. His career insights draw upon experience as a communications vice president supporting learning management, applicant tracking, and talent and leadership development for Bank of America and other Fortune 500 firms.

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