Online classes, to some people, sound like they would be easier than taking traditional classes. While that may be the case for some, everyone has a different learning style. Online classes may work for some while they are much harder for others to take.
The important thing to understand is that one is not necessarily easier than the other, they are just different. To better understand which would work best for you, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both traditional and online classes.
- Traditional classes are structured and organized, everything follows a specific schedule and timeline. Week 1 you learn “x,” Week 2 you learn “y,” and so on. If you are someone who needs structure to learn, traditional classes would likely work for you.
- If punctuality is one of your strengths, then going to school in person is not going to be a challenge for you. In-person classes start and end at the same time and require students to attend in person for participation.
- Classrooms are interactive, during lectures Professors will often ask for student participation. Being in class will allow you and your fellow classmates the opportunity to engage in debates and conversation to discuss the material you are learning and how to apply it in the real-world. You’ll also have the chance to ask questions and get immediate answers from your Professor.
- Students who attend class in-person have a better opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities. On-campus students find there are organizations such as volunteer groups, work-study programs, Greek life, and groups that they can join. These programs help build out a network of not just friends but other opportunities later on.
- Traditional classes usually end up costing more, especially if you move out on your own. You’ll need to prepare to save or earn enough money to pay not only for tuition, but also general cost of living expenses such as rent, groceries, and so on.
- Your freshmen and sophomore years are when you are going to need to complete a majority of your general education requirements. You’ll find some of these classes will be held in lecture halls with class sizes of over 100. This means that you won’t have the time to interact in class or get to know your professor. You are going to be responsible for showing up, listening to the lecture, and then making time to study for your exams.
- Commuting can be a challenge if you don’t live on campus, so students will need to prepare for the added cost of a vehicle, insurance, gas, and parking permits. It can also make your day much longer, especially if you have a long commute or long breaks between your classes. You’ll need to make sure you prepare yourself and try to select your classes when enrollment begins to build a desirable schedule that doesn’t leave you on campus all day.
- If you are working and going to class, you might find certain classes have limited options when it comes to the times and days of the week that they are offered. This can conflict with your work schedule or lead to unfavorable schedules. It might be necessary for your employer to make accommodations to support your educational needs.
- The biggest advantage of online classes is convenience. Most schools allow you to work and study on your time with the only requirement being submitting assignments on time. This allows students to study and complete their tasks when it works best with their schedule.
- Students are able to set their own pace when it comes to learning online. Instructors will generally post the syllabus for the semester and you can see when everything is due. So if you have extra time or find that you are learning quickly, you have the chance to get ahead.
- Online school could be less expensive. You’ll be able to work more because you can study on your own time, you won’t spend as much on gas, parking or on-campus housing, so there’s a good chance you’ll end up spending less no matter what.
- Online classes allow you to continue to advance your career because students can work and go to school. Many employers will even cover tuition costs and depending on what degree you are getting, offer you a salary increase or promotion.
- To be successful with your online classes, you will need strong time management skills. You need to make time to study the material, understand the material, and then complete your assignments before specific deadlines. It might be a good idea to get in the habit of making calendar reminders and trying to block out time each night so you don’t find yourself waiting until the last minute.
- There is limited face-to-face interaction. In most cases, the only interaction you might have with others is through discussion boards or sending out emails for group assignments or to ask your professor a question.
- Sometimes your technology will fail you, and you might find yourself having to retype an assignment because your computer crashed, your internet went down, or you need to update a program to meet the requirements of a class. Make sure to ask questions about system requirements if you do not know the answers.
- While many schools are increasing their availability and options of online classes, there are some subjects that just aren’t offered online. Before enrolling, make sure you review the curriculum and they offer courses that help you complete your degree.
When it comes right down to it, it’s all about personal preference. If you are someone who wants to be in a classroom setting, then traditional school might be best for you. Even if you are working full time, you can always look into night classes.
There is no wrong answer when it comes to choosing what type of school is best for you. Remember, whether you take classes online or in-person, you’ll still have strict deadlines to adhere to.