Who Takes Online Courses? Is Distance Learning Right for You?

For many people living and working in today's busy world, the idea of traveling back and forth to a college campus and sitting in a classroom is an almost impossible feat. Most of us simply do not have time to experience or even deal with the college life, yet we do want to complete our higher education and receive a degree to advance in the workforce and provide for ourselves and/or family.

By the time we've reached our 20s, we soon realize the importance of having a good job that pays the bills. Because of that fact, our jobs require us to be somewhere for a large part of every day, limiting our access to the campus and classroom. Because most working students have very limited time, they are more likely to take online courses. These courses allow people to take the classes they need at their own pace and on their own time. Recent studies have shown that most people who take online courses are also full-time workers.

Online College Demographics

But online classes are not just for those who are in the middle of a career. A large portion of those taking distance learning classes are non-traditional, older students. Because of their age, access to college campuses may be limited. In addition, older people may feel much more comfortable taking these classes in the privacy of their own homes. Limited mobility is another motivational factor. Another reason many people are leaning towards online courses is their dedication and need to be with family. A lot of young mothers are opting to take classes online. This gives them a great opportunity to stay at home with their children, while still being able to achieve their educational goals. Some people who are married choose this option for the same reason. If they study at home, they can still be closer to their spouse, and won't miss out on family related activities such as eating dinner together.

How To Succeed in Online College

It takes a certain kind of person to succeed in online education. Those who need guidance and hands-on learning may not do as well as those who can learn and think more independently. It does take a large amount of self-discipline to be able to remember to take your classes before the next test, and to read your assignments on your own without any real reminders from a professor who may normally see you face to face. In addition, you don't have fellow classmates sitting next to you to help remind you. For those who are organized and who enjoy working independently, online courses are much more suitable. If you find yourself constantly pressed for time, need to spend more time with your family, are limited in your mobility, or simply enjoy learning and doing things on your own, online courses may be the best option for you.

SOURCE: http://nces.ed.gov/das/epubs/2003154/distance1a.asp

Customize Your Education