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Online programs and distance learning

By Staff | Mar 24, 2020

With our new reality now, including the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, most colleges and universities have shut down their brick and mortar classrooms and opted for students to complete their terms in an online format.

What will this mean for the future of higher education once the pandemic is over and we get back to a new normal? I don’t claim to have a crystal ball, but I do think it is going to show that online programs can be successful, which would open lots of doors for students from Hawaii who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to attend college on the Mainland.

First, it is important to note that there are many schools that have been providing an excellent education in an online format for years.

One of the pioneers in distance learning is University of Phoenix. But over the past few years, more and more big name schools have been adding to their programs by offering online coursework and degrees.

U.S. News and World Report states that the top five online degree programs are offered by the following schools: The Ohio State University, Embry Riddle University, University of Illinois, University of Florida, and Oregon State University.

If you are looking for an advanced degree, some of the nation’s top schools have begun to offer online Master’s Degrees.

Options for an online MBA, for example, are now available at schools like University of Southern California, Pepperdine University, or Johns Hopkins University.

You can also find schools that offer advanced degrees in such diverse majors as Counseling, Teaching, or Computer Engineering. One of the great things about getting an online Master’s Degree is that in most cases, you can keep working at your current job, while pursuing the degree.

So, what are the big differences between doing your coursework online versus going to college on campus?

Well, the obvious difference is that you are not going to be able to participate in the whole “college experience” thing. No frat parties, no football games, no late-night study sessions in the halls of the dorm

This may be a deal breaker for some, especially students straight out of high school. But for a student who cannot afford to live and travel to the Mainland for school, this may be a really good tradeoff.

Older students, and students returning to school after a time away, may appreciate being able to focus on school work without the distractions of social life on campus.

Another difference is that students who opt for online programs need to exercise a great deal of self-discipline. Some online classes are offered at specific times and require check in, but others are going to be done on the student’s own schedule. This allows for the best or worst of all situations.

If you are a procrastinator, it can spell disaster to wait, rather than stay on top of work from the start of the term. It can be hard for some students to stay focused when working from home. “College in Jammies” may sound great, but the reality of studying from home can mean a home full of distractions: family members, chores, binge-watching your favorite TV show you need to make sure you are a person who can work and thrive alone.

Getting a college education has never been more available to students as it is today. If you want or need help charting your educational path, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Maryanne Hogan is an Independent College Admissions Consultant working with students on Maui. Visit her website, thecollegeauntie.com, for more information or to make an appointment.