Q&A: What Are Some Reasons for Becoming an Online Student?

Answer: There are many different reasons for enrolling in online studies; here are a few.

1. Flexibility: Are you currently employed? Do you have a spouse and/or children? Do you have other time commitments (i.e., volunteering, religion, family, etc.)? Do you live in a remote area or too far from the nearest college or university? Do you have personal, medical or emotional barriers that limit your time? The list of questions could go on and on.

One of the potential benefits of online schooling is that you can continue your everyday tasks and responsibilities, while studying and participating in class, wherever you please. You can log into your class from home, work or from any computer with Internet access. You may also be able to log in from your cellular phone. Whether you're a young college student who's just beginning post-secondary education or an experienced adult returning to college, online schooling allows you to use your time for classes and assignments, instead of driving to class each week.

2. Academic support: In my experience, online schools usually offer more academic support than "traditional" schools. In most colleges and universities, students meet with their academic advisor when they register for classes. After that, it's rare for advisors to contact students, unless there is an issue. With online schools, academic advisors may reach out to students regularly. If you have a question or need assistance, the advisor is only an email or call away. The same goes for online instructors. If it appears students need assistance in the course or have low grades, online instructors may email and/or call them to check in. Although the course is online, the academic support can be personal and individualized.

3. Less intimidating atmosphere: Driving to a college or university, sitting with an academic advisor and registering for college courses can be intimidating. Some individuals truly desire to attend college, but can't make it through the crowded lines for registration or financial aid. Taking online classes can help to reduce this stress. You still need to choose courses, but most online schools offer this by phone and/or online. You can avoid nerve-wrecking long lines and confusion trying to find the right classroom.

Dr. Beverley BrowningDr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev) has been a higher education adjunct faculty member for over 25 years. She has taught in the classroom and online for multiple colleges and universities including the Spring Arbor College, Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, and Rio Salado College. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Spring Arbor College and Mott Community College. She is currently an online instructor for ed2go.com (Cengage Learning). In addition to founding and directing the Grant Writing Training Foundation, Dr. Bev is also Vice President of Grants Professional Services for eCivis, Inc. She is the author over over 37 grant-related publications and a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter for national and regional conferences. Dr. Bev is a product of lifelong learning and an advocate for online teaching and learning!