Success with Online Colleges?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2013
Success with Online Colleges?
Mon, 04-15-2013 - 12:40pm

I have been doing research on colleges and degrees, which now have me thinking that online colleges are the way to go for my kids.

Online degrees are cheaper, faster and more flexible. And, my kids can live at home which will save tons of money and help keep them away from temptations at campus colleges. They can also 'go to class' whenever they want so that they can still enjoy certainactivities or get a part-time day job that could help them excel in their career after graduating and have some savings.

My only concern was that online degree would be frowned upon by employers but I know understand that isn't the case because they are more and more acceptable and having higher accreditation requirements.

Although I am confident this is the right option, I wanted to know what people's thoughts are, especially from people who have earned an online degree or who have kids that are going to online college.

We found great health and medicine degrees at and deadlines are coming up so any feedback would be appreciated!!!

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 04-16-2013 - 11:33am

Most online degrees are most useful for people who have work experience and need to get a degree in order to move ahead in the career they're already in.  The ones I saw featured on the site you linked to are online degrees for people already in their fields.  Companies like 2U (fka 2tor) have developed online degrees with top universities but they are advanced degrees. 

There are online courses of study that produce certificates rather than college degrees in health services.  And there are MOCCs (massively open college courses) that may give credit but are not part of an entirely online program.

"Online degrees are cheaper, faster and more flexible" - well, maybe.  They're not at all the *same* thing as going to college in person.  Just as community college is not the *same* thing as a 4-year program at a university.  I'm not saying that everyone has to go to a 4-year program at a university, and there could be good reasons for going to community college - a need to work, to live at home, to save money, etc. - and I'm sure there are good reasons for doing an online degree too.  Additionally, not everyone is suited for a college education and online training programs that result in a certificate can be a great thing for many people.

However, they are not all the same thing, not all equivalent to each other, and not all viewed the same way by employers, and you should be aware of that.  Before you look at *any* college option as "the" solution, you should know what you are getting for it and what its value will be at the end of it, especially if value is a top priority for you, as it seems to be.

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Tue, 04-16-2013 - 11:44am

Hmm, the only people we know who have gotten online degrees are adults already in the workforce and wanting to improve their position in a company that has already hired them. When they change companies, their degree is acceptable largely because it comes with a bulk of work experience to back it up. I'm not sure a 21-year-old with an online degree and a part-time clerk job would fare as well.... especially in competition with kids with traditional degrees and career oriented internships and references (and many internships only take kids associated with a traditional college.)

Of course, all this depends on what a kid wants to do. There are all sorts of health and medical tech jobs for which a traditional 4 year degree is not required. Some require special certificates, associate degrees or completion of a particular work related curriculum. In those cases, online degrees may be totally acceptable. If that is what your child is passionate about, certainly worth looking into. 

I'm not one that feels everyone should be signing up for a traditional college experience. It actually annoys be to great lengths how companies require degrees for jobs that frankly, require on-the-job training, not a college diploma. However, an online degree is not something I would encourage with my own kids. For starters, their particular interests are not suitable for online learning. I know my eldest is eyeing grad school and none that she likes would accept an online degree. In fact, the community college offers online courses but none of the universities we've looked at will even accept them for transfer units. 

If the option is online degree or nothing... go for it. If your child is 100 percent sure on her career goals and your research shows online degrees are as widely accepted in their field as traditional ones, sure. For me? Well, I'd be more apt to encourage community college or an acredited trade school than an online degree.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Tue, 04-16-2013 - 12:19pm

Just want to add that a lot of the credits are not transferrable to regular brick and mortar universities, so if you think you might want to transfer, check on this. Personally, I'd choose a CC over an online university, though.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 11:42am

I suppose it depends on what your kids are interested in--I could see, for example, if someone wanted to learn medical coding & billing, you could probably do that just as well on line, but if you wanted to be a nurse, that would be impossible, since you would have to do clinical.  As someone who has been responsible for hiring people for my job, I would not consider an online degree to be the same as one from a well known school.  I think that if money is a big factor, I'd try community college over online school--in our state, if you do 2 yrs at community college, the credits are also automatically transferable to the state univ. to get the bachelors--I would bet that most colleges would not accept a lot of online courses.  I do know that some "regular" colleges, i.e., not only online have some course options where students can take some of their courses online.

I also think that someone would have to be very self-motivated to do all online learning and they would also be missing out on a lot--part of what you get when you go to an in person course is the interaction with other people--if the professor is good (and the class isn't a huge lecture) people ask questions & interact--and you could get the opportunity to continue those discussions after class.  When you are learning by yourself all the time, you don't get much exposure to other people's ideas, which is a huge benefit of going to college--to expose people to things they wouldn't think of by themselves.  Before you sign up for this, I'd investigate the college--how many of their students actually go on to earn a degree?  What is the success rate for people getting hired for jobs in their field?  I would also think that there are organizations that rate the different programs--maybe you could Google "complaints against XX college" or something like that.

I think if you want to keep your kids at home to "keep them away from temptations" that is not a good reason to stick them at online schools--first of all, if they are out working, there's still plenty of opportunities to get into bad stuff, if that is their propensity.  Eventually they are going to have to be set loose into the world.  you know your kids and some kids probably need to stay at home because they are the type that is not mature enough to go to college away from home--but I'd think a local college would be better.  You know your kid could have his part time job at some fast food place and some co-worker could be offering him a joint to smoke on their break.  I remember back in the olden days when I went to college, my friend's mother said to my mother "how can you let her go away to college?  Something might happen to her" and my mother said "well if I haven't raised her by age 18 to know right from wrong, it's a little late, don't you think?"  So I guess I am biased TOWARD letting your kids go away to college because I look at it like a halfway house between being at home & being totally on your own.  Yes, my DD probably did some things that I wouldn't have approved of (some of which I know about & some of which I don't) but she managed to graduate and became an RN and got a job at a very good hospital--all of her friends also graduated and got jobs too, and I think that going away to college also helped her grow up and become a responsible adult--I could tell the difference in her after only a year at college--just one example is that I would come home from work and find her cleaning the house, something that she certainly never did in high school w/o being asked.  So keeping your kids home and treating them like children could actually have the opposite of the desired affect of preventing them from growing into mature adults.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-03-2009
Tue, 05-20-2014 - 2:52pm

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Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 06-12-2014 - 7:38pm

I see this thread is old, but thought I would chime in anyways.

I think ultimately you just need to do some more homework on this subject and also check the motive behind it.  I don't see how it would be cheaper.  I am only at a CC right now and 90% of what I have done is on-line, and there is an extra $50 per course for on-line course.  

So guessing you must be talking about something different in nature.  Something that is touted as an "on-line degree" versus just taking some of your classes on-line to get a degree.  

Here, like Music said, you can get a two year transfer degree at CC that goes right into a State college.  No bias that I am aware of.  They help you fine tune for where you want to transfer to.  Even so, I will say that a 100% on-line MATH is a challenge and not recomended.  

And, you have to be very disciplined.  The two young adults I know that tried to (1) finish their degree and (2) get a degree after finishing at a trade school - did not fare well on-line.  

My knowledge is limited, but alot of kids here go to CC to get the first two years done because of cost, then move on to a state college.   

Good luck!