Going back to school to finish your degree can be a stressful decision as you try to figure out if you will have the time to attend class while working and raising a family and how to pay for your extended education. But, with more and more online universities that keep adding new degree programs to their online schooling options available, going back to school may not be as complicated as you think.

Online University Pros and Cons

Pros:

  1. Online Universities provide you with a much more flexible class schedule that you can adjust to fit around your schedule.
  2. Depending on the type of class, online classes often offer more one-on-one instruction than received in a class setting.
  3. Often online classes are cheaper than in the classroom courses, however, this difference is beginning to disappear as universities adjust their tuition schedules to accommodate for the loss of state and federal funding.
  4. Online class discussions offer a greater opportunity to be heard and have your questions answered more in depth since there is no one talking over you or interrupting you because you speak too softly.
  5. Improved written communication and technology skills are created through the basic structure of online classes since your communications are done through email and chat room sessions for the most part.
  6. Studies show that online classes improve knowledge retention because you are able to work at your own pace and absorb the material at a pace that works more effectively for your individual learning needs.

Cons:

  1. Online Universities require you to be a self-starter since there is no in the classroom instruction.
  2. Studying online is a solitary situation, so if you enjoy the peer interactions that you have in a classroom, you may find online schooling to isolated for your preference.
  3. To get the most from an online course you need to be an independent learner. Although you do have access to outside resources for assistance, online schooling is very much an independent study environment that does not fit all learning styles.

Brick and Mortar University Pros and Cons

Pros:

  1. In the classroom learning provides a more structured learning environment for those who are not as self-motivated as others.
  2. Learning in a classroom setting provides you with other immediate resources for questions than online learning, through having in-person contact with other students who may understand the material better than you and can explain it in a different manner than the instructor, for more diversified learning.
  3. Social interactions are a huge part of on-campus studies. On-campus learning provides you with the opportunity to meet new and interesting people who are interested in the same things that you are; expanding your friend base and network of contacts.

Cons:

  1. The set structure of in the classroom learning can be difficult to fit into your schedule between work, home life, and other responsibilities.
  2. In the classroom discussions tend to be less controlled and can sometimes be an interference to comprehension.
  3. In the classroom learning happens at the teacher’s pace, versus your ability to review the material individually at a pace that works best for you.