Popularity of Online Colleges

Popularity of Online Colleges

Online colleges have quickly become a popular way to learn. In a recent study by the Sloan Consortium, a survey of over 2,500 higher education institutions found that “approximately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in Fall 2009”  and approximately one-third of all students are involved in online learning. Options for online courses and programs are growing not just at online institutions, but also at traditional universities and community colleges.


  • You can choose courses that can be scheduled around your work and family commitments.
  • Online programs may allow you to continue working.
  • Studying at your own pace is also an option with some online programs.
  • You can participate in an online course – interacting with the content, your classmates, and instructor – anywhere you can access an Internet connection.


  • Online programs can be more expensive than traditional programs. Investigate and compare online tuition rates and student fees with similar programs in your local area.
  • It can be especially difficult to transfer previously earned academic credit to an online program or from an online program to a traditional program. Ask questions if you are interested in transferring credit in or out, to another program or graduate program, in the future.

Is an Online Program Right for You?

Before enrolling in an online program you should first ask yourself questions to determine whether you are well suited to studying in an online learning environment.

  • Independent Learning – Do I enjoy and excel at learning on my own without close supervision? You will be on your own to keep up with assignments in an online class.
  • Time Management – Do I manage my time effectively? Can I set a schedule for myself and then stick to it? Take a time management self-assessment to find out more about your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Computer Skills – Do I have basic computer skills? Assess your technology skills to see if you are ready for an online program.
  • Feedback Expectations – Will I mind not getting immediate feedback from my instructors? Online discussions take place asynchronously – everyone posts their responses and replies separately. This can delay feedback on your work.
  • Commitment – Do I have enough time and financial resources to commit to online learning? Adding schoolwork to your schedule is a serious commitment. Make sure you are prepared.