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Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking Classes Online

By Amy Brantley

It's no surprise that online classes are becoming more and more popular. As with most things in life, people want convenience. Many colleges are taking note and offering online degrees. Now, students have the option of not only obtaining their education through one of the many online based colleges, but they can also choose from many local colleges as well. One has to wonder about the advantages and disadvantages of an online degree, though. Before you sign up for online classes, think about the following.

Advantage: Online Classes Offer Flexibility

If you have a job, it may be hard to get the time you need to take traditional college classes. Thankfully, many online classes offer complete flexibility. This means you can do the assignments when it's convenient for you. Even if you need to log in to the campus Web site at 3 a.m., you'll still be able to complete your work.

Disadvantage: Interaction with Professors Is Limited

If you have a problem with a course, you will more than likely have to contact your professor through email. Some professors are nice enough to provide their home phone number, but don't count on it. This can be a disadvantage if you're having trouble in the course. With traditional seat-based classes, you have more access to professors and can even meet with them face-to-face after class.

Advantage: Online Classes Can Be Less Expensive to Attend

Another advantage to online classes is that you don't have to pay for transportation. This can be a huge savings when compared with traditional college classes. As long as you already have a computer and Internet access, you're good to go. Some colleges even offer free Internet access to students.

Disadvantage: You Must Be a Self-Starter

Online classes require self-discipline. You must be able to sit down and do the work without being instructed to do so. If you find it hard to concentrate outside the classroom, online classes may not be the best choice for you. Worst of all, students with procrastination problems will have an even harder time obtaining an online degree.

Advantage: It's Possible to Take More Classes with an Online Degree

When you take seat-based courses, you are limited by the number of hours in the day. Most colleges only offer classes Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. As long as you can handle the course load, you can take as many online classes as you want. This allows you to finish your degree more quickly and even allows you to work on several degrees at once.

Disadvantage: Not All Online Classes Are Covered by Financial Aid

At some online colleges, financial aid will only cover a portion of your tuition and fees. There are also online colleges that don't offer any financial assistance. You must carefully look into this before signing up for classes. If you need financial aid, your best bet is to stick with local colleges.

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