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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

7 Challenges an Online College Education Can Solve For You

September 15, 2021

In recent years, online course enrollment has been on the rise with 43% of undergraduate students taking at least one of their classes online during the 2015-2016 school year, the most recent data available.*

If you are considering college, you are most likely reviewing which avenue is best for you. Will attending classes in person fit your schedule? Will online courses be more flexible? There are many questions to consider.

Before you make your choice, keep reading. Below are just a few of the challenges online education may be able to solve for you.

 

Challenge 1: Extra Costs

When you attend traditional college, where you go in-person to a campus, there are costs that pop up that are not seen when you attend college online.

While the tuition costs may not be that different between the two, there are other expenses. Some of these include transportation costs like fuel, wear and tear on a vehicle, bus passes, or the need to seek childcare if you have young children. Studying online eliminates this challenge altogether. You are able to attend college classes from your home, or from a place convenient for you.

Other expenses can include the cost of books and reference materials. Many times, these materials are offered online for a much cheaper cost. Furthermore, time is money. Online courses can save you both.

 

Challenge 2: Set Class Times

When you go to a college campus for education, you enroll based on the time and day that is convenient for the professor and for the school. Many colleges offer day, evening and even weekend courses, but these still may not fit your schedule.

You may be working a third shift job and caring for family on the weekends. With online education, you choose the courses you want to take and fit them into your schedule, not the other way around. You are able to have flexibility that is not always offered with traditional courses.

 

Challenge 3: You Must Continue to Work While Going to College

Because online courses are flexible, and allow you to set your own schedule, you can continue to work and earn a living. This is an important factor for many students. Unless you want to build large debt, which most people do not, you will need to be able to maintain employment while going to college.

If attending college at a campus, you may find your work hours conflict with class times. This creates a problem for some who must choose work over class. With online courses, it’s much easier to do both.

Your employer will be happy you don’t need to leave work, and you will be happy you still get to complete the classes you need to graduate.

 

Challenge 4: Finding Online Courses and Programs Right for You

You may be thinking online courses are limited in what can be offered. You may fear that you will be stuck graduating with a general, liberal arts degree, if you enroll in online college. Just the opposite is true.

Some colleges offer a greater variety of online courses and degree programs than traditional schools, who may have limited faculty or student interest in particular subjects.

Online you can find programs to match your needs, including certificates, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and even doctoral degrees.

 

Challenge 5: You Fear Classroom Interactions

You are not alone. Many students fear meeting new peers, and worst, speaking in front of a room full of strangers. You may dread the group projects or working in pairs with a student you just met.

This is a fear that has been around for ages and professors are not reducing the number of classroom activities anytime soon. There is hope for those who are shyer than others, however.

Online education is taking away some of this fear while still giving you the opportunity to connect daily with classmates and instructors. In fact, online education may increase your participation in activities because they are not face-to-face encounters.

You are still able to socialize, receive and offer feedback, and join in on group conversations but without the initial fear you may have when attending courses in-person. Many feel they are able to better express their opinions in an online format, and when you can do that, you will gain more from the course.

 

Challenge 6: You Worry About Being Self-Disciplined Enough to Complete Courses

It is quite normal to have this worry when considering college education, either traditional or online. When you enter a college course, you are treated like an adult, even if you are still in your teens. You are expected to show up, learn, and complete assignments.

 

Challenge 7: You Don’t Know How to Start College Online

The best first step you can take if you decide to choose online college is to reach out to a local college. Most likely, they have online courses that can get you started and that will transfer to higher programs. Do an online search for colleges in your area and use the contact form on their website to reach out for information, specifically the admissions department.

With their help, you can resolve any other challenges or concerns you may have, and you can do it all on your terms.

 

If you’re considering a career change and think online education would be a good fit, check out SJVC’s online program offerings here.

 

* https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d19/tables/dt19_311.22.asp

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