The Benefits of Earning an Advanced Degree Online
An education is one of the most valuable things a person can have. But the traditional educational model, which requires students to spend years attending expensive classes in person, has its flaws. Luckily, online education is poised to revolutionize the way higher education is delivered, in the United States and around the world.
Most reputable colleges and universities now offer online degree programs in at least some fields, and these programs open up access to advanced education to students who might find the requirements of a traditional program too prohibitive. Now, students can earn advanced degrees from the comfort of their own homes and according to the demands of their schedules. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of earning an advanced degree online.
Online Degrees Are Cheaper
Many adult professionals balk at the prospect of attending a traditional graduate school program – and for good reason. Enrolling in a traditional program means putting your life on hold for one to two years, to move to a new city, rent a new apartment and go into a lot of debt. Even if you can manage to land a graduate assistant position that comes with tuition waivers and a stipend, you’ll often find yourself reliant on student loans to get the bills paid.
Not only will you need to borrow money to pay tuition and living expenses while you’re in school, but a smart prospective student also considers the opportunity cost of leaving full-time employment for two years, funding a move, paying for gas to drive back and forth to campus, buying textbooks and covering other miscellaneous school fees. When you consider all of these expenses, the cost of earning a post-graduate degree can easily climb above $200,000, depending on the costs of your program.
Going to school online is so much cheaper. To start with, there won’t be any moving or commuting costs because you won’t be moving or commuting. You won’t have to leave your job, so you can continue earning your paychecks while you study. Many employers will work with employees who want to go back to school online, giving them extra days off or letting them leave early one day a week to focus on schoolwork. You may even be able to get your employer to pay your tuition. That’s because earning an advanced degree makes you a more valuable employee, and that benefits the company, too. The lower cost of going to school online makes this option much more feasible for the average working professional.
They Look Just as Good on Your Resume
Online education still carries some lingering stigma, although that is changing as more and more reputable schools offer online degree programs in all kinds of fields. Employers won’t care whether you took classes in person or online; they’re just going to look at the reputation of the school that granted your degree. In fact, in some fields, it’s expected that professionals will go out into the workforce for a few years, then go back to school online to earn an advanced credential. For example, the popularity of online MBA programs among business professionals has led to the proliferation of GMAT-waiver MBAs, executive MBAs and other online MBA programs tailored to the needs of working adults.
You Can Study on Your Own Time
As long as you meet your assignment deadlines, you can complete your online grad school classes where and when you prefer. This makes it easy to fit coursework in around a full-time job. You can study late at night, early in the morning, on your lunch break or whenever is most convenient for you. You’ll be able to access course materials from home, so you’ll save the time and stress of commuting, and you’ll be able to lounge on the sofa or in your most comfortable chair while you take classes. Plus, you won’t need to worry about missing out on the networking opportunities of a traditional degree; many online programs still emphasize group projects and provide in-person networking, study-abroad and residency opportunities.
Online learning takes a lot of the stress out of earning an advanced degree. No longer does going back to grad school mean tearing up stakes, moving to a new city and struggling to adjust to a competitive academic environment. Now, you can take your classes without leaving home and without sacrificing the career benefits that an online degree can bring.