Online vs. On-campus: Pros and Cons

Technology has revolutionized the education sector with the introduction of online learning. Many graduate schools now offer students the opportunity to earn their degrees either fully or partially online. If you’re deciding between attending school on-campus or online, you’re reading the right post. What are some of the pros and cons of the online experience, as compared to the traditional classroom experience?

Traditional campus pros

online-on-campus-pros-cons-1The traditional on-campus classroom experience allows you the opportunity to network with professors and classmates in person. It’s often easier to establish mentor/mentee relationships when you meet people in a classroom instead of online.

Face-to-face communication is also more effective in help sessions and tutorials, since students can more easily explain where they’re having difficulty and professors are more able to address questions on the spot. Lastly, students who meet with their professors during office hours can typically receive stronger letters of recommendation and references down the road.

Traditional campus cons

Students who attend school on campus will need to live near campus and factor in commute time to their daily schedules. It can also be difficult for students with work obligations to keep up with school in an on-campus environment, since the traditional classroom experience offers less scheduling leeway.

Virtual campus pros

online-on-campus-pros-cons-2Online degrees make education available to people who might otherwise be limited by restraints like geography and family or work commitments. Students from around the world can enroll in virtual classes, as long as they have computer access. Virtual classes also give students more flexibility in when they take classes and turn in assignments.

Virtual campus cons

Some students find that it’s more difficult to stay motivated and focused from behind a computer screen, and that the on-campus experience is what keeps their concentration and commitment levels high.

Another concern is accreditation. Although a number of accredited colleges and universities do offer some online courses for credit, degrees completed completely online are less common. Some employers (as well as other schools or universities) do not recognize online degrees from certain schools, so do your research carefully when choosing your program!

About the Author:

Catherine Blogger PhotoCatherine supports Magoosh’s future grad school students by unlocking tricks of the test prep and application trade. Catherine spends her free time checking out local farmer’s markets, reading food and lifestyle blogs, and watching Bravo. She is forever in search of the best Mexican and Italian food in any given city.

Photo attributions:
1 – Photo of student studying on campus courtesy of Flickr user Concordia University under the Creative Commons 2.0 License.
2 – Photo of group of students ourtesy of Flickr user St. Louis University Madrid Campus under the Creative Commons 2.0 License.
3 – Photo of student on laptop courtesy of Flickr user St. Louis University Madrid Campus under the Creative Commons 2.0 License.


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