We’re hearing about online college quite a bit nowadays. But as seasoned veterans of online higher education, we want to make sure we’re all on the same page. There are plenty of myths and misunderstandings that surround online college and we’d like to set a few of them right.
Here are four myths about doing college online, debunked.
Myth #1: Online school is easier.
You may be thinking that now that colleges are transitioning to online classes, that they are requiring less. In fact, the opposite is true in many cases.
Online college has never been naturally “easier” than regular college. There are special advantages and challenges to each but the courses are often very much the same. Online students must still write papers, take quizzes and tests, and demonstrate proficiency in what they are learning.
In fact, studying online requires discipline, time management, and intense focus. Developing these skills isn’t easy but it will set you up for success in future endeavors.
Myth #2: Online school is boring.
Does “online college” bring to mind a student studying in their bedroom, completely alienated from the world?
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While online students often don’t experience things like football games or dorm parties, their education is only as boring as they make it. That voice telling you that life will be dull and dreadful if you study online is your fatalism talking.
On the contrary, the flexibility of online school enables students to continue living lives of purpose and adventure while earning college credit.
And in the case that you are bored, that might not be such a bad thing after all.
Brick-and-mortar college institutions will make you pay for all the fun you’re going to have at their campus. But nothing is stopping you, an online college student, from attending sporting events and social gatherings.
The adventure of online college is what you make it!
Myth #3: Online school is less valuable than traditional college.
This is simply not true. Sure, it costs less but we aren’t convinced that’s a good indicator of value all the time.
We guarantee you that traditional college is waaayy overpriced. And you’re paying for a lot of the social activities that you could, in theory, be getting for free by just having friends and doing things with them.
When you factor in the opportunity cost of sitting on a campus for four years compared with the ability that online students have to get jobs and start their adult lives while doing college, we think there’s actually a lot more value in the “road less traveled”: online college.
After all, it’s the same degree at the end. But you’re getting it for a lower price tag and you have the freedom to go out and do…well, really just about anything in the meantime.
Myth #4: Online school won’t prepare you for life.
This myth actually reveals a great opportunity in online education.
Some are scared that they’ll get their degree through online classes and then…never move out of mom and dad’s basement. They won’t have the network and life experiences of their traditional college counterparts and will therefore be left behind, unprepared to step out into adult life.
It can be a real fear but a quick perspective adjustment reveals that online school can be better at preparing students for adult life.
After all, does traditional college really prepare students for real life? College students living and studying on campus get their meals cooked for them, their laundry done for them, and their utility bills taken care of for them. Not only that, but they often have their schedules set for them. Learning to cook, do laundry and pay bills is hard enough without adding the extra learning curve of time management and personal responsibility skills.
Online students may have a leg up on their traditional counterparts in this area. They often have the opportunity to build life skills and develop independence while they study, not just after. Not all online college students take that opportunity but it exists.
Online school isn’t as strange and scary as you’ve heard. It’s an affordable and flexible way to earn college credit and make the most of your freedom to build relationships and community, gain work experience, and explore the world!
Check out our Ascend program if you’re ready to learn about an adventurous alternative to traditional college that is designed to prepare you for life.
Jace Bower serves as a Content Development Specialist for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.