It may seem hard to believe, but many experts predict that online college degrees will become the norm in the not-too-distant future.
In fact, some of these forecasters go even further, predicting that the traditional brick and mortar college will go the way of leaded gasoline, dial phones, and vinyl records, and pretty much disappear altogether. Yes, there's no denying that this is difficult to imagine, but they have good reasons for making these predictions.
One is the unbelievably rapid rise in the popularity of online degrees. Until quite recently, most people had never heard of the concept. When it first became an option, few took it seriously, regarding it as a fad that would quickly pass. Instead of fading away, though, online study quickly zoomed in popularity, because the advantages were simply too numerous. People who didn't live near a college or university finally had a way of achieving their dream of a degree without leaving home. People with families and jobs didn't have to put their lives on hold to go back to school. As word spread from satisfied students, the trend snowballed, and today online study is booming.
Another reason that experts believe traditional colleges will become obsolete is that they are both inefficient and costly. Mainly due to the need to maintain buildings and infrastructure, traditional colleges and universities spend billions of dollars annually on things that have little to do with actually educating students. The combined cost of tuition and room and board keeps rising every year in order to maintain this bloated structure. This can't continue forever. More and more students are balking at paying exorbitant prices for a traditional college degree when they can get one that's just as good over the Internet, and do it for a lot cheaper. Once you analyze it, it's hard to argue with these predictions because it's clear that online universities and colleges will soon become the norm.
Well, if you're one of the people worried about this, you can relax. The answer is a resounding yes. Employers, grad schools and other organizations regard a college degree earned online as being just as good as one gotten the old-fashioned way. There's only one caveat; the online university must be accredited. Accreditation is the process by which an outside authority inspects and approves a college or university, and makes sure that its standards will deliver a quality education. Accreditation is a rigorous and demanding process, and accrediting groups don't give out their seals of approval easily because their reputation is on the line.
If an online school is accredited, then its curriculum has the official stamp of approval and you can rest assured that a degree earned there will garner you the same respect and job prospects as a degree from a traditional school. Back when Internet education was still in its infancy, it was only logical to wonder how useful a degree earned by online study would be in the job market. But now that the field has matured, even traditional colleges and universities are offering degrees online, so there's no need for concern. As long as you attend an accredited online school, your degree will be worth just as much an old-fashioned one.
Not long ago, online degree programs were unknown to most Americans. When the Internet first took off in the 1990s, in the eyes of most people, it was seen as more of a fancy electronic gadget than anything else. It was good for playing games and chatting with new acquaintances on the other side of the country or half a world away. Sure, some people used it for other purposes, like reading newspapers and magazines or organizing their stock portfolios, but that was about it. Computers hooked up to the Internet were seen as a cross between expensive toys and personal digital assistants. Earning a degree online was the last thing on most people's minds.
But before long we started seeing banner ads for schools offering the opportunity to earn a college degree in the comfort of our own homes. At first, these ads were the subjects of jokes and ridicule, as most people still couldn't imagine earning a college degree over the Internet. However, a few brave pioneers took the plunge, and slowly but surely people got used to the idea of a degree program from an online university.
Then, like a snowball rolling down a steep hill, the concept began to attract more and more attention and respect. One of the biggest factors contributing to the astonishing success of schools that offered online college degrees was when businesses realized how easily and efficiently they could send their employees back to school to learn the most up-to-date skills and information. When employers saw all the benefits with very few drawbacks, online study really took off. More and more traditional colleges and universities are now offering their own online college degree programs. Needless to say, no one is laughing anymore!
Last Updated: 07/28/2014