Online Schools are just as difficult as traditional degree programs, but they offer more flexibility in how you complete the program. Getting a college education has perhaps never been easier for motivated students. This ease is not necessarily tied to the difficulty level of specific degree programs. Instead, there is more access to higher education today than at any other time in history. Some colleges and universities have open admissions policies.
If you can pay the bill, or at least take out a loan to defer the bill, you can get into a school that offers the degree you want. Of course, you’ll have to work hard to stay in school, as graduation from an undergraduate program will require a GPA of at least 2.0. You’ll also need to score well enough on a college entrance exam or take remedial classes to earn your degree.
Another factor that contributes to the accessibility of higher ed is the prevalence of online classes. Degrees like teaching, education, and business courses translate well to an online model. A recent study showed that more than 6 million students took at least one online class in 2017. This made up about a third of those who took college classes during the year. This percentage of students who take classes has grown extensively in recent years.
For both online and brick-and-mortar schools, prospective college students must meet the enrollment qualifications. Generally, a high school diploma or a GED is required for acceptance. Additionally, it’s necessary to have relatively high scores on an exam’s Math and English sections like the ACT to avoid paying for remediation in those subjects.
Many Traditional Schools Offer Online Classes
Going to an online school has historically had a reputation. These days, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean taking classes from a sketchy college in a storefront on the wrong side of the tracks. Many traditional schools offer online programs, which will generally have the same rigor as those offered on a physical campus.
For example, it’s possible to get a degree from Harvard Extension School, which is associated with the oldest university in the United States. Penn State is a respectable Big 10 school that offers these programs. Online does not necessarily mean easy, but it can mean a higher level of respectability depending upon the school you utilize for your online degree.
Online Schools Can Be Flexible
Schools that have online degree programs may not provide classes that you can complete with ease, but they still might be easier for some students. The reason for this is tied to the flexibility associated with online classes. Traditional programs at brick-and-mortar campuses require a fixed schedule. This schedule will usually require attendance during the day. Those who have to work every day will not have as much flexibility to take on-campus classes. This is especially the case for college students who fall outside the traditional age.
If you take classes online, you’ll likely have more flexibility. Most types operate on an asynchronous schedule. You can work on the course when it fits into your schedule. You’ll still have deadlines to meet, but you can work on meeting them at 11 a.m. or 11 p.m. Whenever you have free time and are most productive, you can work on completing your assignments. As long as you hit the deadline, there should be no problem. While it’s not necessarily easier, remote education can be more convenient for busy adults who have to work or have kids.
Standards Are The Same
While it might seem like the requirements for degrees from online programs would be easy, this is generally not the case. The conditions will be very similar if a university has on-campus and online offerings. Students must hit the same core outcomes and competencies regardless of the modality they use to take the class. If a face-to-face class requires a writing assignment that analyzes specific primary sources, you can bet that the online version will have a similar assignment. Online courses will take many hours to complete. You’ll still be responsible for all the information you’d typically get from a face-to-face lecture. Depending on how you learn best, the online modality could be more difficult.
Accreditation Is Rigorous
Some online schools have a bad reputation, but many offer a rigorous educational experience. Many have earned accreditation from agencies recognized by the US Department of Education. A program must meet the same benchmarks as traditional schools if it desires regional accreditation. Accreditation is a rigorous process showing prospective students that a school, online or face-to-face, provides the quality education it claims to provide. If your online school has met the requirements for accreditation, you can rest assured that the program has a high level of quality assessed by professionals in an on-site visit.
Your Degree From an Online School
Not all online programs are created equal. They will differ in the level of rigor that’s required to complete them. This is no different than more traditional schools. A degree from a community college will not be viewed in the same light as a degree from Harvard or Yale, yet both are likely to be accredited by the same bodies. Therefore, a degree from a school primarily operates online does not necessarily indicate that online school is more accessible.