I’ve often pondered a great piece of wisdom I was given years ago: “Work smarter, not harder”. This reminds me of all the reasons why someone should go for their degree via an online school instead of a traditional campus-style school. One should opt to get their masters or even bachelors, or any other courses needed for certifications, all online. Obviously it is not possible to get certain, highly advanced certifications all online, like an MD, but this article is not for highly advanced/specific situations. I write here today for everyone who wants to jump start their career, while working, who already have connections from work, and just need that extra educational notch on their belt to crash through that salary ceiling… in person degrees are for suckers, get your degree online! There are a number of reasons why.
LOGISTICS: One of the biggest reasons to get your degree online is logistics. With an online degree, you make class come to you, whenever and wherever you want. You don’t have to have a car or money for public transportation. You don’t have to worry about gas, car insurance, rides, or weather. You definitely don’t have to worry about traffic, let alone road safety or conditions. None of these thing are relevant, when you don’t have to physically get to class. Once you get to campus, you have to first find parking, and then walk to class. At that point, depending on how crowded your campus is, you might have to worry about getting towed, and even then, getting home from class becomes a problem. Unless this type of education is going to quadruple your salary upon graduation guaranteed (and in writing), this is not worth the hassle.
Now, after all that, you’ve got to find a seat in class, and finally, you have to do this all before class starts, to be on time. Thus, in terms of time, this could all be an extra 1-1.5 hours of transit time from doorstep-to-seat in class, when class could only even be 1-2 hours. Should we even discuss whether or not you live near a school that offers the degree you want? Or if you already work certain hours? This is too much unnecessary work, and it’s hard, not smart. If you’re getting a business degree, such as an MBA, congrats! You’re already making bad business decisions by not utilizing your time productively, and probably wouldn’t even do well with an MBA in your hand anyway. Disband all of this inconvenience, and you can choose where class is when you get your degree online. It can be at the beach, by the pool, on the train to work, or at 2:00AM Saturday because while you may be awake/rested, you just had zero time for studying all week.
COST: And all that hassle we talked about now just to physically make an appearance in class, ties well with cost. We aren’t going to even discuss what you do from the time you sit down in class to the time you get up and leave, as that is specific to each person and a whole separate conversation. A study posted on Campustechnology.com shares with us that “$43,477 is the average cost for an online bachelor's degree in the US according to data released by Hanover Research. An online master's degree cost about half as much.” (David Nagel 02/26/14). Thus, if you go down the cheaper end of the parabola, your BA or MA could be anywhere from $10-30K. Your entire higher education, BA & MA combined could be under $50K. My boring, cookie-cutter, private university’s tuition for one year cost $28K, and that was in fall 2004. Mistakeeee! Make a good business decision, cut the fat, cut the cost, and cut the rest of your precious resources, and get your degree online.
PARTICULARS: I’ll just list them here in a crude format because we could honestly write a book on this at this point: No dorm room drama! Don’t have to live with another adult in the same room for years, whether you get along with them or not. No frat / sorority culture! “But you only understand it if you’re a part of it!” Yes, I was in a frat also, and it was a pretty fun one, but if you want a real brotherhood or sisterhood, go get a job, or join the military, camaraderie is abundant in the real world, much more outside of Greek Life, go seek it off campus. What else? They don’t actually put “online” on your degree. ‘Online’ is the way you commute to school. Whether you commute from a traditional dorm room, your parents basement, your own apartment, or via the internet, your degree doesn’t have that written on there, nor would any employer really care how exactly you transported your body to class.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Hate test taking? It’s nerve wracking right? Of course it is, don’t kid yourself. There is no ability to give you a traditional examination with an online degree as no one could proctor you, as you take that test at 2AM, in your parents basement, in your leopard print fleece bathrobe, with Marvel’s The Avengers movie playing in the background. Weird image right? Well, that person is still further along in their degree than you were! You’re on your own home turf, and thus, all tests are at minimum open book! The professors grading you on the other end know this, and will maybe give you open book exams, but will most likely have you write papers. We love papers. There is no time limit, and questions are typically open ended, serving a real purpose in education, which is to get you to think independently and critically.
So, go Hulk out in your basement over those cheap tuition’d fluffy 3.95 GPA grades, that you got at any time of day, as you march on your glorious path to graduating Summa Cum Laud… because at the end of the day the physical Ivy league MBA degree and the online state schooled MBA will still have the same three letters after their names on their business cards. But, who will have accomplished more *outside* of the classroom *during* the degree? You make call.