The convenience and comfort level might be a good fit for your student. 

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the fall of 2016, about 15 percent of all college students took their classes exclusively online. It makes sense to assume that number will continue to grow as more traditional colleges offer online degrees and more students discover distance learning.

Online degrees present advantages for certain types of students who can excel in this environment. Here’s why your student might thrive in an online program.

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Convenience What’s more appealing than the opportunity to take a class wherever and whenever you want? Sitting and concentrating in a classroom at 8:30 in the morning doesn’t suit every student. Night owls can log in when everyone else has gone to sleep. They don’t even have to roll out of bed to watch a lecture. Students can even control when they take quizzes and exams.

Online classes also allow students to work around their personal schedules, whether that’s a job (to help pay for college), family responsibilities or other commitments. With no commute, there’s no risk of getting caught in traffic, missing a train, subway or bus, or being impacted by bad weather.

Learning style A student who’s shy, timid, anxious or otherwise uncomfortable in a classroom full of other students, where they may be put on the spot to give an answer or participate in a discussion, will function better in an online program. Not all students flourish in a traditional classroom setting. Watching, reading and learning at your own pace is a big benefit of online courses. As one online degree graduate reminded me, “We all absorb information differently.”

Same degree requirements A degree available both on-campus and online is comprised of the same courses, all covering the same material. Many of the professors teaching online classes offered through traditional colleges also teach them in-person. The content, textbooks, coursework requirements, exams, etc. are usually the same, as is the amount of work required to complete the course.


Cost savings Tuition at a traditional college for an online versus an on-campus program is usually the same. But earning your degree online saves on commuting costs, as well as room and board fees. Online students have access to the same financial aid opportunities as their peers pursuing a degree the traditional way.

Improved tech skills Online students will, by necessity, learn about hardware and software as they make sure their computer or tablet can run their college’s online platform and that they can navigate it. That platform is what they’ll use to log in to their classes, watch lectures, participate in online class discussions, take exams and quizzes, interact with professors and submit homework. Adapting to new software is an important skill that’ll benefit a student after graduation as well.

Doesn’t feel like typical school That fact alone can help a student succeed in this non-traditional environment. The thought of showing up in a classroom on a specific day at a specific time deters some teens from continuing their education after high school. Feeling more in control of how you learn, in the way that best suits you, can be the key to a college student’s success.

Employers won’t know and don’t care A student who earned both of his undergraduate and graduate degrees online shared that no employer ever asked how he earned his degree. An employer is primarily concerned that the job applicant has actually completed their degree, at an accredited college, whether online or traditional. There is also nothing on a resume or diploma that will state the degree is earned online or on-campus because it is the same degree.

If signing up for an online degree program sounds like a good option for your student, read my next post where I cover how to find the right program and what to expect.

Share your comments and thoughts on online degrees in the comments section below.