College can be a serious struggle, which is why many people turn to online courses for convenience, affordability and comfort. You don’t have to wind through thick traffic just to get to class every single day. Plus, what can be better than attending class in your pajamas with a hot cup of coffee by your side – in your own living room? However, even online courses can come with their fair share of struggles. For one thing, you are all alone and the camaraderie of being around other students just isn’t there. There are a lot of other challenges as well – challenges that can be worked around, but worth noting for the sake of evaluating whether online classes are right for you. Here are some common struggles for online students.
A lack of camaraderie and ability to socialize with classmates is one of the biggest challenges to taking online courses. Indeed, college is all about camaraderie. If you want the “full college experience,” you may want to take in-class courses, because you will be around peers. However, if you simply want to get through a course and acquire your degree, taking online courses is probably a good fit for you.
Another big challenge of enrolling in online courses is the struggle with scheduling the lectures and workload around your life. Many people lead busy lives and one of the reasons why they take an online course is so that their schoolwork can fit into their existing schedule. However, actually having to be in charge of your schedule can be difficult. You can expect to set aside a few hours a day for your online courses. If you don’t have enough time during the week, you may have to set aside the entire weekend. If you aren’t ready for this, you may not want to take online courses.
Of course, another challenge is dealing with computer crashes and slow internet speeds. Moreover, you may have to deal with not having the most updated software that lacks compatible with the portal to your online class. There are ways to work around this, but they will inevitably arise for almost any online student. If that is the case, you may have to invest in new or different technology, which could be expensive depending on what your IT needs are.
Many people think that online colleges aren’t real colleges. This myth mostly comes from the plethora of unaccredited colleges that offer “print out” degrees. However, there are some very real programs, like USC’s library science degree online, that offer a real degree, which can be applied to a career in many different fields. If you don’t want to bother with battling the stigma of an online course, then you can simply not share that information with anyone you think wouldn’t understand the value in your education. Alternatively, you can shout from the rooftops that you are enrolled in an online class as to dispel this myth.
Group projects can be difficult
Lastly, when you take college courses online, it is just you and the computer – and other students in your class could be half across the world. This could make working on group projects difficult. In the end, you can always find a way to share each other’s screens, but it is a challenge worth noting.