Choosing the right college format requires weighing the pros and cons. Every student and situation is different, especially when time and money represent determining factors in making educational decisions. The following steps will outline how to choose a college format.
Step 1. How much can you afford to spend on college? Do you have enough money to attend a state college or a university? Should you attend a community college, and then transfer to a 4-year college? These are questions you must ask yourself in order to make a good financial decision.
Step 2. Do you value your time? Or you don't mind attending classes at different times of the day? Online colleges give students the flexibility to log into the system any time they prefer. Traditional colleges require students to attend courses at a physical location. Time and money are determining factors when trying to make the right decision to choose a college format.
Step 3. Do you have time management weaknesses? Online colleges tend to create problems for those that are not accustomed to the online college format. Students must be responsible enough to complete work on time without having a physical voice warn them of point deductions. Traditional colleges place students in an environment that readies them for any deadline challenges. There may be time management challenges in traditional universities and schools, but none that compare to online colleges.
Step 4. Are you a working professional? Working professionals that are on a time sensitive schedule may see value in online colleges. Such students can interact with classmates throughout the week, and not have to be a part of a classroom discussion or lecture. Traditional colleges demand that students attend class on time and throughout the week. Most exams will cover lecture material, so attending class is important. Working professionals already have experience with communicating with people, which make attending an online college a good decision to accommodate any time constraints.
Step 5. The college experience is important to many that are looking to reflect back on memories. You only attend college once in your life. That means that when you first attend school, you can only experience the first time jitters, parties, and meeting new friends once. Traditional colleges are fun, educational, and are good social networking forums to meet others that may have some impact on your future. Online colleges isolate students, putting them in an online world filled with words and no faces. You have to be the judge to what matters most to you when choosing a college format.
Step 6. How much discipline do you have? Online colleges require discipline. The quarter can fly by too fast. If you fall behind, you will struggle to complete the work, or even to find the right help. Traditional schools also require discipline, but there are classmates and the instructors present to motivate students to remain on target. Many universities such as the University of California, Santa Barbara, hold discussions, meetings and screenings to help students to retain the course material. Time dedicated to attending several classes can improve learning. Online colleges expect students to have enough discipline to complete their assignments, as well as to learn the material to advance in the program.
Step 7. Traditional colleges have better financial aid systems than online colleges. College students that use financial aid such as student loans and federal grants can speak to a physical person regarding any problems they may have with their student file. However, online colleges deal entirely with phone calls and emails to resolve issues. It can become a frustrating process, especially when money is the primary factor in making college decisions.
Step 8. Make a list of the pros and cons confronting the college formats. Write down everything you like and dislike about college. Know how much money you will have or plan to make versus how much you may need to borrow or request from your parents (if they're helping you). Choosing the right college format is a major decision that will stay with you forever. Know what you want before you take the dive.
Good luck on choosing the right college format!
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