Here’s Why You Should Go to Grad School Online
These days, a master’s degree is the new bachelors. But going to grad school is a huge commitment of time and money, and who has the time? You might – if you go to school online.
Whether you’re a current college student thinking about going to grad school after you finish your bachelor’s degree, or a working adult who’s been planning to earn a master’s but just haven’t gotten around to it, you should give serious thought to earning your degree online. Online degree programs are just as academically rigorous as traditional programs, and just as respected by employers, but they give you the option to complete your coursework in your own time, so you can get a real job and start earning money, start a family, travel, or pursue other dreams. You might even be able to get your employer to pay for your tuition.
You’ll Get the Same Brand-Name Education You’d Get on Campus
These days, some of the best schools in the country have online master’s degree programs. If you choose an online program, you’ll be held to the same high academic standards as students in brick-and-mortar classes. You’ll take courses from the same professors as those who teach face-to-face classes. You may even get more interaction with professor than you would in a face-to-face class. It’s true that you won’t see the professor in person every day (or, possibly, at all), but you’ll still get the chance to interact with him or her in chat sessions, via email, and through synchronous online class meetings. You’ll have plenty of chances to ask questions and participate in class discussions via chat groups or online discussion forums.
You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to network with classmates and form friendships. Just because you’ll be taking classes online doesn’t mean you won’t be assigned group projects, especially for fields that are heavily-dependent on collaboration and negotiation, such as business. Because online graduate programs cater to busy, working adults, you’ll be more likely to meet other students with whom you have common life situations and goals. Many online programs also offer regular residency periods where students come together for a week or two to take classes in person and meet the classmates and professors they’ve been getting to know for the past several weeks and months.
Employers Won’t Turn Their Noses Up at an Online Degree
Many prospective students hesitate to enroll in an online grad degree because they worry that employers won’t respect an online degree the way they would a degree earned the old-fashioned way. That’s a product of the stigma that still lingers around online education – but that stigma is fast fading away. Most employers are happy to hire a candidate with an online master’s degree; besides, since there’s no difference between a degree earned online and one earned in person, a prospective employer might not even know how you earned your degree, unless it comes up in the interview process. If anything, earning your degree online while juggling the responsibilities of a full-time job, a family, or other pursuits shows employers that you’re a hard-working, self-motivated candidate with drive and initiative.
You Can Complete Your Degree on Your Own Schedule
Online degree programs have made higher education more accessible to many, because they let you complete your courses on your own schedule and in your own time. You won’t need to quit your job and clear your schedule in order to earn your online master’s in engineering, nursing, business administration, education, or any other field you might choose. Instead, you’ll be able to review course material and complete assignments at the time of day that works for you, so you can get a job and start earning money, keeping paying the bills and taking care of your family, or pack a rucksack and go backpacking across Asia while you earn your master’s degree.
You’ll Save Money
Earning your master’s degree online is usually cheaper than earning it the old-fashioned way, simply because you save the costs of moving to a new city, renting an apartment near campus, commuting to and from classes, and quitting work for two years to focus on your studies. You’ll still have to pay tuition, but you can get financial aid if you need it; if you have a full-time job, your employer may even pay for your tuition, since it makes you a more valuable employee. With some planning and a little luck, you might even get your master’s degree free of charge.
If you’re thinking of grad school, an online program might be your best option. You’ll be able to hold down a job, earn a salary, and handle your responsibilities, while earning your degree at your own pace and on your own schedule. Your school will get a great student, your employer will get a better employee, and you’ll get a brighter future – it’s a win for all involved.