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Online Learning

Traditional vs Online Education: Which One Is Right for You?

Online programs have many advantages over traditional programs, but not everyone is aware of how effective online school really is. We've broken down the differences between traditional and online education so you can decide which is right for you based on your personality and learning style.

Penn Foster blog author icon.

Penn Foster

Online school programs have been around for many years, helping students around the globe earn degrees and pursue rewarding careers. Online education programs have many advantages over traditional school programs, but many students and their families aren’t sure how effective online school can really be. Here’s an overview to help you decide whether online education is right for you.

When Should You Choose Online Education?
Online education programs are great if you have a busy schedule or simply don’t have the means to attend a traditional college or university. Online classes offer the flexibility to complete a course at your own pace and the convenience of being able to attend class or stream lectures from anywhere with an internet connection. If you’re a disciplined student, you’ll be able to earn your degree much faster than a traditional education program might allow. And, of course, there’s online education’s most attractive selling point: cost savings.

Beyond the program structure and cost, online programs offer a variety of other benefits. Most online programs focus strongly on marketable skills you’ll need to have on the job. Success in an online course also involves using a variety of software programs, communication boards, and other computer skills crucial to today’s job market. Also, online courses usually adapt to new trends more quickly than traditional degree programs. Combine these skills and experiences with proof that you can coordinate your own schedule and motivate yourself to succeed, and you’ll have a very attractive resume.

When Is Traditional Education a Better Option?
Every student has a unique personality, learning style, and set of personal circumstances. In spite of the benefits of online education, some students simply perform better in a traditional physical classroom. Below are a few reasons you may want to stick to a traditional school program:

  • You prefer face-to-face communication and talking directly with your teachers and peers.
  • You value traditional college experiences such as sporting events, clubs, group activities, etc.
  • You need access to specialized facilities, which can be especially valuable for high-level math and science courses.

Not sure which education model to pursue? You can also try a bit of both! Register for a few credit hours at your local college or university, and fill out the remainder of your schedule with online classes. After one semester, you’ll find out which path best fits your education needs and goals.

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