Online higher education: 5 reasons to get a degree virtually
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Online higher education: 5 reasons to get a degree virtually

Online higher education: 5 reasons to get a degree virtually

Online higher education is having a moment right now.

As universities around the world move online due to COVID-19, the true potential of online learning has become apparent. Anyone with a laptop, internet access, a streak of discipline and a dash of willpower can earn a degree without ever stepping foot on campus.

So if your plan to start a degree has been thwarted by the current COVID-19 pandemic, know that hope is not lost.

Here are five reasons you should consider online learning instead.

You can complete an online degree programme anywhere

Think about it. You can view lectures anytime and finish assignments at your own pace. At the same time, you can tap into the virtual resources and networks of your university.

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Study on rooftops, in a coffee shop, whichever is most inspiring for you. Source: Michael Loccisano/AFP

For those concerned with costs, online learning allows you to get an accredited degree without the need to spend on travel and accommodation. On that note …

Online higher education can be affordable (or even free)

You won’t have to move on campus, which cancels out hefty (or exorbitant, if you’re in London or San Francisco) accommodation fees. You won’t have to travel there, which saves on transportation and time.

By opting to study an online degree programme, you may also lower additional costs to your programme such as resource fees.

As a prospective student, you’ll be pleased to hear that some distance learning providers offer scholarships. For example, Pennsylvania State University has a Penn State World Campus Scholarships for their World Campus (online campus) students.

You get to hone essential soft skills and discipline

To succeed in your course, you will need to have excellent time management skills – this means balancing your studies with your other commitments despite the self-paced nature of the course.

Plus, if you are studying from home, you will need to fend off distractions such as your pets and have the willpower to avoid procrastinating on your work in favour of more “fun” activities, such as catching up on your favourite TV series.

Time management, discipline and focus are essential to succeed not just in academia, but careers and life in general.

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Graduates with accredited online degree programmes can be hired for the same jobs as other university graduates. Source: Robyn Beck/AFP

You can pursue a career with an accredited degree

Online degree programmes from reputable institutions are recognised across the world – at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

When researching your university, ensure the institution and course are accredited in line with your plans for the future. If you are enroling in a US programme, you can verify using the US Department of Education (USDE) portal.

In any case, it’s worth asking if you can have a trial course to help you decide if the online programme is something you will enjoy.

Online degree programmes are versatile and flexible

Online learning supports the concept of lifelong learning. Parents can take care of their children while pursuing a degree. Working professionals can attain another qualification.

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You can be a parent and student at the same time with online degree programmes. Source: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

You can opt for courses that are 100 percent online, though there are many that require a yearly visit that can be weeks- or months-long.

Course structures are often flexible, providing opportunities to interact with your lecturers and coursemates through email and discussion boards, among others.

Hence, in times of crisis, online learning allows you to continue your educational journey without missing a beat.

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