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With online education continuing to gain popularity, prospective students are becoming well aware of the benefits of obtaining an online degree. According to the Sloan Consortium report Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006, 3.2 million students took online courses in the fall of 2005, an increase from the 1.6 million students reported in the fall of 2002. Need a little more convincing? Here are the top seven reasons to pursue an online degree.

1. Study Wherever

If you've got Internet access, the world is your classroom, and your educational goals don't depend on your location. Online education eliminates the common obstacles for potential students of not having a campus located nearby or not having a specific degree program available. No more relocating or commuting. Study from home, the office, or while traveling--it's up to you.

2. Study Whenever

Another bonus of online education lies in the flexibility students enjoy. With asynchronous learning, students can use their computers at their own convenience to access course materials such as videotaped lectures, course notes, research materials, electronic discussion boards, chat rooms, class assignments, and exams. Students can complete online associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees (and even PhDs) within a specific time frame or at their own pace, depending on the program.

3. Adapt Your College Degree to Your Needs

Your education is important, but every student must juggle other commitments as well. Traditional campus learning, with scheduled class meeting times, can be difficult for students who are working, caring for others, serving in the military, or traveling frequently. Online education also appeals to students who prefer to learn independently.

4. Get Someone Else to Pay for It

Many employers make online degrees even more attractive to students by offering to pay part or all of their tuition. In this win-win situation, companies are gaining employees with increased skills and knowledge, obtained on their own time. Employees are earning the degree they want without having to reduce their work hours or pay.

5. Possibly Earn Your Degree Faster

Typically, many online degrees can be obtained more quickly than their traditional campus counterparts. Online courses are usually accelerated, so more classes can be finished in less time. If you have transferable credits from another institution, your completion time for an online college degree is even less. The faster you earn your degree, the sooner you are on your way to getting the job or salary you want.

6. Build New Skill Sets

Completing an online degree takes a great deal of motivation, responsibility, and time management. Self-discipline and the ability to learn independently are assets that definitely transfer to the workplace. And with coursework submitted via computer, students participating in online courses will also polish their writing skills.

7. Apply What You're Learning

Online degrees are often very specialized, with coursework geared toward specific career training. Students learn material that is industry-current and relevant for their careers, studying under professional instructors with education and experience in the field. This makes it not only possible but highly beneficial for students to apply their new knowledge in real time (especially for employer-funded degrees). For students seeking a way up the career ladder in their current job, an online degree program can help them demonstrate immediate growth and improvement.

It's easier than ever to build the career you want. Join the millions of students who have already selected online education as the path to their career goals.

Sources

  • "Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006," by I. Elaine Allen Ph.D. and Jeff Seaman Ph.D., The Sloan Consortium, November 2006.
  • "Distance learning in postsecondary education: Learning whenever, wherever," by Matthew Mariani, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Summer 2001.