What’s Your Type? Making Online Education Work
What’s keeping you from going back to school online? Children? Time? Money? There are always ways to make it work. The Making Online Education Work Infographic provides a useful collection of data by type of online student. This may be a good orientation to those who are unfamiliar with the growing importance of online learning.
- 21,147,055: Number of students enrolled in distance learning courses in 2012
- About 2,642,158 were enrolled exclusively in online courses.
- 89%: Percentage of public, four-year institutions that offer online courses, compared to 91% of two-year institutions.
The Single Parent
The main issue: Any free time you do get is devoted to your kids. So how in the world could you fit in school?
Tips for success:
- Have a childcare safety net—a relative or friend who will be ready to watch your kids if schoolwork or tests become overwhelming.
- Manage your time. Plan out when family time will be and when you should devote hours to schoolwork.
- Drop any extraneous obligations you might have, like PTO meetings or any activity in which you don’t have to be involved.
- Make portable study tools, like flash cards, so that you can study on the go, even at your kid’s soccer game.
- 4.8 million: Number of college students raising children
- 43% are single mothers.
- 11% are single fathers.
- Students with children tend to have higher GPAs than those who don’t.
The Busy Full-Timer
The main issue: You work 9-5 and come home exhausted. You just can’t imagine attending class with a schedule so draining.
Tips for success:
- Expect some sleepless nights, but know they’ll be worth it.
- Have strict, achievable goals so that you don’t take courses you don’t need.
- Go for degrees that will help you make a vertical move in your career, not a lateral one. After all, you expect to get a raise in salary with a degree.
- Don’t go into online school thinking it will be easier than traditional school; in many ways, virtual learning can be more challenging.
62% Percentage of students who believe virtual learning allows adults to work full time while still attending school
27% Percentage of college students employed full time
The Struggling Student
The main issue: Unlike the Busy Full-Timer, your problem isn’t time: it’s money. Maybe you do work full time, but you certainly don’t make enough to continue or go back to school. Or do you?
Tips for success
- You’ll naturally save money not commuting to school, but look for other ways to cut on costs: like borrowing necessary software and renting used textbooks.
- Don’t quit your minimum-wage job just yet, if you have one. Wait until you graduate and can find something in your field of study. You’ll need the money and flexible hours for now.
- If you’re worried about using your own electricity or Wi-Fi, find a place that has it for free, like a coffee house or Internet café. You can do your homework on your laptop, tablet or smart phone.
Speaking of devices, only invest in one for schoolwork, probably either a laptop or a tablet with a keyboard. Don’t spend extra on technology you don’t need.
- $1,101 Median weekly earnings for bachelor’s degree holders, compared to $668 with only a high school degree
- 3.5% Unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders, compared to 6.0% for those with only a high school diploma.