Some say that current global pandemic has changed higher education forever, as many schools are now being forced to move their classes online. And, in turn, many students are now obliged to stay home and complete their degrees online. However, for many colleges and universities, online learning has always been part of the plan. At Goodwin, we’ve been on course for online learning for years, with most of our degree programs offering some level of online coursework.
Online coursework may be the new norm now, but it has been a standard in millions of students’ education for years. To put this into perspective, let’s consider some statistics. In the Fall of 2018 (well before the COVID-19 quarantine), there were more than 3,250,000 students enrolled in fully online degree programs nationwide. This accounts for about 16 percent of all U.S. undergraduate and grad students. 35 percent of those enrolled in a higher education institution — almost 7 million students — were enrolled in at least some online courses. Graduate students were found most likely to take online college courses, with about 40 percent pursuing some form of distance learning.
Why are online college degrees such a favored choice among students today, specifically among adults pursuing a master’s degree or going back to school? For many, the answer is simple: Online studies make a college degree more attainable. Earning a degree online often means easy-to-access courses, more affordable tuition, and significant flexibility in terms of when and where you need to complete assignments.
Below, we outline five of the top benefits of pursuing a college degree online today.
Flexibility is perhaps the most obvious benefit of online degree programs. Flexibility means more adaptable class schedules, as well as more convenience when it comes to completing assignments. By choosing an online degree program, you can customize your class schedule and “study time” to meet your needs. Do you have a full-time career that you need to maintain? Do you have children who are in school only until 2pm? Online college degree programs make it easy to manage classes and balance life’s other obligations. In fact, according to the 2020 Online Education Trends Report, convenience and flexibility topped the list of reasons why students opt for an online program, for the fourth year in a row.
Accessibility goes hand in hand with flexibility, but they are distinct benefits. Accessibility is defined as the quality of being able to be reached, entered, or obtained. So, in terms of an online degree program, accessibility means easy attendance. Online students are able to open their lectures (right on their laptops) and begin class effortlessly — no matter where they are. If you have family obligations, you can access classes right from your own home. If you maintain a job, you can access classes and assignments anywhere post-shift, as long as there is internet. There is no commuting to campus, no traffic to sit in, and less stress trying to balance work and school schedules. At Goodwin University, most of our students are over age 25, working full- or part-time jobs while obtaining their degree. What does this mean for you?
You can keep your job while earning your college degree online. You can fit learning into your daily schedule, without having to commit to the traditional university agenda. At the same time, you can also fit other priorities into your day-to-day, since you’ll be saving time on commuting to and from class. Most of all, it does not matter where you are located. You can pack up, move, and still continue your online classes. Goodwin supports online/distance learners in any of the 49 SARA states.
Generally speaking, pursuing online coursework is more affordable than in-person classes. This is because you are not paying for the on-campus amenities like property and land, maintenance and management staff, or meals and housing options, if applicable. You are also saving on the costs associated with commuting to a college campus (gas, tolls, parking, etc.).
According to a survey by Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, for the fourth year in a row, “the most important factor for students choosing a school for their online program continues to be tuition and fees, specified by 34 percent of respondents.”
At Goodwin University, students benefit from low tuition costs, whether they pursue online or on-campus coursework. Goodwin is recognized as one of the lowest tuition costs for private, nonprofit colleges in the state. Most students begin classes with little to no out-of-pocket expense.
4. New Skills Development
One of the biggest benefits of pursuing a college degree online — and one that many people do not realize — is the number of skills developed through an online program. By taking classes online, you are opting to take full control of your studies. You must be your own manager, motivator, and discipliner. As a result, this requires you to develop certain skillsets, such as:
- Self-motivation, to complete classes and assignments
- Self-discipline, to hold yourself accountable for online learning
- Time management, to create a schedule that works for you
- Task management, to organize and prioritize projects
- Communication, written and verbal, to stay connected with peers and professors
- Technology know-how, to use online learning tools and virtual conference platforms
- Balance, to be able to juggle multiple tasks with school, work, and family
These are the skills that will enable you to be successful in your online degree program. All of these skills will also apply to, and benefit you in, the workplace upon completing your degree.
5. Career Advancement
Another unexpected benefit of online college degree programs is that they position you for career advancement. With the flexibility and accessibility, online coursework makes it easy for you to go back to school while working. If there is a position you had your eye on, or you’ve been considering switching career paths, the opportunity to take classes online makes your goal much more attainable. You can continue working your job while going to school, without much disruption in your daily schedule.
As one of our Master’s in Nursing students suggests, “The opportunity to study online helps with the many responsibilities I have as a mother and as a nurse.” This student was able to work her current job as a nurse, care for her children, and pursue the graduate degree she needed to reach her professional goals. This was all due to the flexibility of online coursework.
Many bachelor’s and master’s degree students choose to study online because of the easy ability to upskill and increase their earning potential. With a college education, you immediately gain more advantage in the workforce, in terms of job prospects and salary qualifications. And you can do this without sacrificing your current income.
If you are interested in learning more about the online college degree programs at Goodwin University, or about the benefits of online coursework, please do not hesitate to reach out. Goodwin offers a range of online course options, including fully online degrees and hybrid, online/on-campus programs. Some of our fully online college degree programs include:
- Management and Leadership (Bachelor’s degree)
- Organizational Leadership (Master’s degree)
- RN-to-BSN, Nursing (Bachelor’s in Nursing)
- MSN, Nursing (Master’s in Nursing)
- MPH, Public Health (Master’s degree)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (Master’s degree)
We also offer online courses in medical billing and coding, health science, environmental studies, medical assisting, dental hygiene, early childhood education, business administration, accounting, and more. Learn more by visiting us online, or calling 800-889-3282 today.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.