There has been a proliferation of online engineering degree programs in the last decade or so. As the concept catches on, the question still lingers – whether an online program is better or an on-campus program is better. Both programs have their respective advantages and disadvantages.
If you considering going back to school, if will be a good idea to consider all factors before choosing an option to obtain a degree. This guide attempts to point out some advantages and disadvantages of both programs in an attempt to highlight what is best and worst in each of them.
One of the biggest considerations for students is accessibility. Online education does not require commutation or living in another city. The courses can be taken up from home or office and require no travel. While travel or living on the campus may be an issue if you take admission in a school away from home, on-campus programs offer more work opportunities and internships.
Lots of self-discipline is required to complete an online program. When you are on-campus, it is easier to follow the routine and fall into the groove. In an online program, you are encouraged to think independently and later this habit becomes an asset to you. The discipline required to schedule your time for study and other existing commitments could however become very demanding.
Online courses are more flexible compared to on-campus programs. This is beneficial if you are working and cannot manage to stick to one particular schedule. You can attend online programs from anywhere as long as you have access to the Internet. You can even repeat a tutorial if you have not understood the concept fully. Flexibility that the online program offers is not part of the on-campus programs. The timing is fixed and you have to abide by them.
Cost of the program is an important consideration for many. An online program costs lesser than an on-campus program. This is primarily because you are not enjoying any of the infrastructure benefits of the school. The tuition fees for online programs is also considerably lesser. The living expenses and all other ongoing expenses are either eliminated or drastically reduced in an online program. Online programs are undoubtedly more cost effective than on-campus programs.
The biggest advantage of on-campus programs is that it allows you to socialize and learn in a group. There will be interaction which is live and in person. Lot of networking happens on the campus. You make friends and contacts at a school that can last for a lifetime. Access to all campus facilities like library is another great advantage. Most campuses have other facilities like gym, stadium, swimming pool and theatres, which can be utilized by students.
The job opportunities may differ depending on what program you have chosen to obtain a degree in. Some companies give a preference to on-campus degrees. Most campuses also have industry collaboration wherein placement opportunities are better for students. Though the concept of online education is gaining momentum, it may still take a while for employers to view both online and on-campus degrees at par.
While there are advantages and disadvantages to both modes of education, what you choose is largely dependent on what you want. A campus program is better for someone who is not self motivated and lacks self-discipline. On the other hand, an online program is better for someone who wants to work as well as study.