Master’s Degree: Online vs. Campus Programs
If you want to earn your master’s degree, you have two options: go to school online or go to school at a more traditional campus college. There are pros and cons to both options; let’s take a look at the differences so you can choose the option that is best for you.
For most students, the number one advantage to attending college online is the flexibility of distance learning. When you go to school online, rarely do you have to work on a specific schedule – you can “attend classes” whenever you have time, whether that be in the evenings after you’re done working or in the afternoons when the kids are napping. You also have the flexibility to go to school part time if you want, even taking just one class at a time. Of course, there’s also the flexibility of location – as long as you have laptop to connect with your classes, you can work from anywhere there is Internet.
When going to school online, you have more educational freedom from your professors. For some students, this is a welcome change because they enjoy taking the initiative to work independently. For other students, this is a bad thing, because they need one-on-one attention from educators and enjoy working closely with other students. Whether or not you enjoy this aspect of online master’s degree programs depends on your learning style.
Range of Majors
Online colleges are beginning to offer more and more programs of study, but you still have more options at traditional brick-and-mortar schools, especially at the master’s degree level. There are just some master’s degree programs that do not lend themselves well to online education. You can also find programs that have some classes online, but also require offline work in your local area – a good example of this is nursing. You can’t substitute simulations online for hands-on education with real patients.
Lastly, since the cost of classes is important to most students, let’s talk about how online and campus programs differ. The average online class will cost less than the average campus-based class because you aren’t paying for extras such as student activities, building and grounds maintenance, and research facilities. If you want those things, however, you have to go to a traditional school. Keep in mind that many traditional schools also offer more fellowships and grants to students, so for some, the additional costs are offset.