There are many misconceptions out there about online colleges. Many feel that online colleges are not as prestigious or not as rigorous as traditional colleges. While we’ve already covered whether or not an online college degree holds the same cache as a conventional degree, we’ve decided to examine whether or not online colleges are easier.
Easier is a subjective concept. What one might find easy, another may find difficult. So before we can ask ourselves whether or not online colleges are more straightforward, we first must define what we mean by easy. In many ways, an online college degree can be easier than a traditional degree, but it also might be harder for some. Below we’ll break down some ways that an online college might be easier than a conventional degree, and some ways it might be more complicated.
We’ll be taking the following into account:
- Time to completion
- Personal responsibility
- How easy it is to integrate into your life
Online Colleges Offer More Freedom
Students enrolled in an online college have a much greater deal of freedom when it comes to their education than a traditional degree program. Traditional degrees require students to be at a specific physical location at a particular time. These times and places are usually not flexible, and students must work around these factors.
Many online degrees offer their courses asynchronously. Asynchronous courses are courses that do not need to be attended at a particular time. Students can view the course materials when it fits their schedule. And due to the very nature of online courses, students can also access the course materials from wherever they are located.
This amount of freedom can make your experience easier or harder, depending on your personality type. Some people thrive in environments when they can make their structure. Others really could use the format of a rigid schedule. Knowing how you work best is a first step to determining if the flexibility of an online degree would be positive or negative for you.
Online Colleges Are Faster
This is also subjective, but the argument can be made that something that can be completed faster can be perceived to be more accessible. Many online degree programs are offered to students in an accelerated format. These degrees are designed in such a way that students can complete the programs much more quickly, sometimes years quicker.
The faster completion time can be a huge benefit of online colleges. These accelerated online degrees offer a much more streamlined approach to a college education.
It’s essential to consider your learning style and personal habits to determine whether or not something being faster can be easier for you. Some people may view the opportunity to sink less time into something as it being more straightforward. Others may find that handling a more extensive course load in a shorter amount of time can be difficult.
Online College Courses are Different
Another essential aspect to keep in mind is that online courses are delivered to students differently than traditional degree programs. Online degree programs rely heavily on technology to provide their course materials.
Again, this can be a positive or a negative, depending on the type of person you are. If you’re comfortable with technology and know your way around a Zoom call, then an online degree may be much easier for you.
But if you’re not super comfortable using computers or technology, then an online degree may present a bit of a learning curve for you. That being said, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an online degree might be out of the question. Online colleges have gone to great lengths to ensure that their learning software is user-friendly and easy to use.
Online Colleges Are Just as Rigorous
There’s this notion that online college degrees are not held to the same academic standards as traditional academic programs, for some reason or another. Which in turn might mean that an online degree program might be easier than its traditional degree counterpart. That is just not true.
Like traditional colleges, the best online colleges (and the ones we recommend most) are accredited by nationally recognized accreditation boards. This includes organizations like the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the Higher Learning Commission, and Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These accreditation boards apply the same exact standards to traditional colleges and universities as online colleges and universities.
If you’re attending an accredited online college, you will be taking part in a program that is just as rigorous and held to the same academic standards as an accredited traditional college.
Online Colleges Are Easier for Working Professionals
One group of people that online colleges are assuredly more accessible for are working professionals. A traditional college degree program is often incompatible with the needs of a working professional. Traditional campus programs require students to be present on-campus at a particular time for many hours a day, many days a week. A lot of times, these classes are only offered during typical business hours.
This schedule presents many issues for working professionals. Online degrees alleviate a lot of those issues as they are explicitly designed with workers in mind. Online students can create course schedules that fit their scheduling needs and have additional flexibility when needed.
So, Are Online Colleges Easier?
It’s hard to answer this definitively. Online colleges can be more accessible. They can be completed faster. They have a more significant deal of flexibility when it comes to scheduling. And they’re great for those familiar with the technology. But they are just as rigorous as traditional degrees. The coursework at most online colleges mirrors the course work found at a similar traditional college. So if you’re wondering if your actual classes may be easier, then we’re sorry to inform you that you might be out of luck.
But if additional flexibility and speed of completion are something that eases your stress, then in that respect, online colleges are easier.