Nearly 6 million students chose online degrees in fall 2014. That amounts to 1 in 7 college students and represents a 263% increase in online student enrollments since 2002. So if you’re new to online education, know that you are most definitely not alone.
The online learning experience is more engaging
The spike in popularity goes beyond basic appeals like convenience and affordability. It’s about an emerging preference for online learning platforms. In fact, the majority of students report that they are more engaged by course materials, faculty members, and other students in online programs. For many, it’s just a better learning experience.
The proven value of a degree.
We realize that college students seek much more than a degree; they seek new careers, promotions, and salary increases. The attraction of the online platform is that students can pursue their future goals without disrupting their current responsibilities. For many students, earning a degree is also about personal satisfaction. Learn tips for succeeding online from actual online students.
The delivery is different. Not the curriculum.
At reputable institutions, the coursework mirrors the challenging material found on campus, ensuring online students are held to the same high standards. In 2015, 71.4% of academic leaders rated online education outcomes as the same or superior to face-to-face instruction. Students agree in even greater numbers:
90% of students said online education has the same or better results than traditional classroom learning. #Context
The opportunity to make your voice heard.
While the classroom can benefit from face-to-face interactions, its shortcoming is that certain students can dominate, while others either can’t get a word in or elect not to participate. Online discussion forums require students to join every discussion, and 50% of online students say they are more engaged by other students online than in the classroom. It’s your chance to customize your conversations and increase your industry contacts.
The potential to achieve more, faster.
Technology allows for an improved education delivery system – so much so that even campus programs leverage online education tools. It’s often a faster, better way to achieve more sooner, especially for 78% of students who work part-time or full-time while earning their degrees.
The convenience factor.
The online degree program’s chief convenience lies in setting your schedule, whether you’re a part-time or full-time student. Most online students say they devote 6-10 hours or less per week per course, but a small minority (6% for undergraduate students; 7% for graduate students) report they dedicate more than 20 hours to the same coursework. Striking that balance requires good time management skills, and in the best institutions, support to see you through.
More student support.
To ensure student success, many universities feature comprehensive support systems. From technical support to career guidance, financial aid, and research questions, these dedicated channels support your online learning experience. Due to the competitive nature of recruiting students, online programs tend to go even further to meet student needs. This affects everything from school policies to the robustness of online learning platforms.
How to find success – from online degree search to selection
With so many options to consider, there’s little reason to rush your degree selection. Research has found that 92% of students take less than 6 months from starting their degree search to applying to a program. That includes a fast-acting majority of 66% who take 8 weeks or less to decide.
When it comes to gauging an online degree program’s quality, 63% of students said accreditation was the key factor in their selection. A near equal number in the same report said that they researched exclusively by program, rather than by university, with one-third of students reporting a “good match” for the degree they sought as the top factor in making their decisions.
A great online program means different things to different students, so it’s essential to figure out what it means to you to maximize the potential of your degree. Context is here to help.