Online vs. Brick and Mortar School

Just a little over a year ago I graduated from Sam Houston State University, when I first began my college career I was under the impression that the only way to get a real education was by sitting in a classroom. Sam Houston even then and especially now had an outstanding online program, and today more and more students are choosing to take the path of the online degree. So what is the difference? How do you choose whether to go to the real asphalt under your feet University or the bedroom carpet lined University? With technology growing at such a quick speed you may not necessarily have to choose. If like me you are lucky enough to go to a school that offers both you may be able to take a combination of both online and in-person courses.

For those who prefer to go one way or the other though it may prove to be a difficult task deciding. It used to be that online programs were not as acceptable in the job market as brick and mortar degree’s. However, with online programs growing in popularity and prestige hiring managers are developing an increased appreciation for those with online degrees.

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Pro’s of an online degree:

  • Flexible Schedule
  • Increase your skillset
  • Build your resume

As a result of the flexible schedule, you have more time to work a job, by working you can build your resume, and upon graduation go into the workforce not only with a degree, but with real life work experience.

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Pro’s of attending a Brick and Mortar School:

  • Easier access to professors
  • Larger network
  • Accountability
  • Increased resources

When you attend school on campus, you can easily make face to face appointments with your professors to discuss any questions you have about the course, or even your future career. In addition, you get to meet people through clubs and organizations who may be able to help you get a job in the future, or who will perhaps become your life long friend. Some professors will include attendance in your grade others won’t, either way walking into class late is always a big no no. In addition, your required to turn things in on certain days. As a result of having to be somewhere at a specific time you are automatically more accountable for your education. It also helps that you have a room full of people to side eye you should you not do what your supposed to. By being on campus you have access of the library and on campus computers, plus a ton of other free resources such as the academic center, which have tutors that can often help you build your study and writing skills.

Con’s of attending School Online:

  • Not everyone will see the degree as having the same level of expertise (think state vs. ivy league)
  • Can be more expensive (out of state tuition costs)
  • You have to be diligent with your time and pay attention and check into your email frequently
  • You have to teach yourself

Con’s of attending a Brick and Mortar School:

  • You may have to move
  • Increased costs for transport
  • Time consuming

For the most part choosing between an online university and a brick and mortar university is a personal decision. You have to look at where you are in life and what your lifestyle can accommodate. In addition, keep in mind your personal learning style as well as your ability to work on your own. If you are the type of person who needs someone watching over them to make sure they do what they need to do, then an online school may not be for you. I choose to go the brick and mortar route mostly because I thought I didn’t have much choice. Looking back however, I am really glad I did. My learning style was well suited for it, in fact I believe it took college to teach me accountability.

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