Choosing a versatile online pathway for college isn’t just for working adults. This is a trend that online universities are seeing within their enrollment. While many online schools first began to offer more accessible courses for students who need flexibility, more and more first-time college students are also opting for an online pathway right after high school.
So, why do students choose to enroll in an online pathway to attend their favorite university and is it the right choice for you? Continue reading to learn why UF Online students have decided to take their college experience online.
“There were a number of reasons I chose an online program. One, you get the same degree graduating from UF Online that you get from UF. Two, I graduated early so I didn’t want to live on-campus with a bunch of people who were two years older. Also, it’s just nice being around my family more. I am able to live with my family and not have to drive multiple hours to see them.” – Kyle Berdy, Microbiology and Cell Science
Flexibility that Matters
One of the most popular reasons for choosing an online pathway is because of the flexibility it offers. After all, being able to go to class based on your own schedule sounds like the dream. While many students need this flexibility out of necessity, all students can benefit from the less rigid structure of an online program.
Some of the common things students use this flexibility for include:
- Working a full- or part-time job
- Participating in internships to gain experience
- Volunteering and being active within their community
- Taking care of children or other family members
- Opting to engage in educational content when they’re most alert (e.g., avoiding that 8 a.m. class)
- Accelerating their college studies with large course loads as a deliberate plan with their academic advisor
Study from Anywhere
For some students, the thought of staying in one place for four years is unbearable. For others, moving away from their home to go to a university is impossible. Thankfully, online programs at top universities make studying from anywhere a real possibility. This can be a huge benefit to students who are otherwise unable to relocate to a university, plus the flexibility provides all students, regardless of their location, with a whole range of new options, such as:
- Choosing a city that offers more internships or job opportunities than a college town
- Saving money by living with family
- Living with children or elderly parents who require caretaking or other support while also pursuing a degree
- Pursuing a top degree while remaining in the best school zone for their children or the best city for the employment opportunities for their spouse
- Enjoying travel, and having the freedom to explore a foreign country and immersing oneself in a new culture
- Joining a spouse on deployment while pursuing their own college degree
- Staying in a community they love without potentially sacrificing the quality of their education
While students completing colleges in residence are place-bound during a traditional semester, online students are able to move throughout the year.
“I was living in California for a month with my aunt. I was able to watch lectures on the beach in California. Having the flexibility to remotely do your coursework gives you the advantage of creating your own environment.” – Jasmyn Nguyen, Business Administration
Paying for What You Need
While there are many resources to help reduce the cost of higher education, the fact remains that money matters. That is why one of the biggest benefits of an online pathway is that they can be more affordable than their on-campus counterparts.
- Taking classes online means you’re not tied to live in one particular location, so you can save money by living in more affordable locations.
- Online programs have more flexible schedules but also do not require students to get to campus for class, avoiding costs associated with parking, public transportation and other travel costs normally required to get to, from campus.
- Some universities offer online programs where students can opt in or out of extra expenses associated with on-campus facilities.
- Some universities offer lower tuition rates and/or fees than their campus counterpart programs and, as a result, reduce the cost of attendance for students who prefer online pathways.
“Being able to start my degree without being in Gainesville really was the perfect situation for me. I knew eventually I wanted to move to Gainesville, be near campus, join clubs, but financially it was not an opportunity I could have at that moment.” – Jasmyn Nguyen
Ultimately, this comes down to paying for what you need. With optional fee packages, being able to live in affordable cities, and the same financial resources as on-campus options, online degree programs make higher education an affordable option for most people.
Not Sacrificing Quality
UF Online offers an online program unlike any other. With a combination of affordable tuition, lower fees, and access to a top-notch campus and faculty, UF Online affords students the option to earn in a more versatile environment without sacrificing quality. At UF Online, some of the best instructors in the country work with professional course designers to create courses specifically designed for online students. UF Online students benefit from the same faculty as on-campus students but with the flexibility and personalized attention that online courses allow. Whether it is a step towards your career, graduate school, or a lifelong passion, UF Online is ready to support you.
Learn more about the programs UF Online offers and start your application today!
Setting Your Own Pace
One of the often-overlooked benefits of online classes is the ability to set the pace of your lectures. Most students can benefit from being able to control the speed of their instruction. Whether this is because a subject is particularly difficult for them or because they are already familiar with a topic, being able to adjust your studies can save you valuable time and hassle. Some of the ways that online colleges enable self-pacing include:
- Pre-recorded lectures that can be rewatched as needed to reinforce topics
- Playback control that allow students to pause, speed-up, and slow-down video
- Flexible course offerings so you can take more or fewer classes during different semesters
“The pre-recorded lectures have been one of my favorite things about the online program because when I am taking notes, I can pause the lecture to catch up. I am able to take screenshots of diagrams or take the time to draw it out and I am able to re-watch lectures multiple times while studying.” – Kyle Berdy
Another often-overlooked benefit of online classes is the classroom size and personalized attention. All students benefit from smaller classes and more personal attention from professors. In addition, online academic advisors can learn a lot more about individual students and how they can best help those students. This leads to better student performance and support, not to mention, that having a close relationship with professors and advisors makes getting letters of recommendation that much easier.
“The smaller classroom is awesome because the teacher can’t ignore you. My class size is usually close to around 15 students. So, I know my professor isn’t going to mix me up with another student. They know me and my personal issues. They know my work versus someone else’s.” – Shevauna Dumay, Public Relations
Aside from smaller class sizes and quality interactions with professors, UF Online students work one-on-one with their dedicated academic advisor, who provides personalized attention throughout a student’s journey to the finish line. UF Online advisors help guide students towards their goals, both academic and professional.
Should you attend college via an online pathway?
Ultimately, the decision on where and how to attend college is a personal one, and not all universities and online programs are created equal. UF Online prioritizes providing a high-quality education with plenty of one-on-one attention at an affordable price. Plus, UF Online even offers optional packages for on-campus facilities. In the end, when you’re planning your higher education, think about what is important to you. An online pathway can offer a lot of unexpected benefits without compromising on quality.
“I feel like this is great for students like me . . . You can just open your laptop, tablet, or whatever you use to learn on. You can be anywhere and still be a UF student. You don’t need to be ashamed because you are in a different state or country or feel lesser of a Gator . . . You are a Gator regardless.” – Shevauna Dumay
The University of Florida, ranked No. 7 in the list of top 10 best public universities by U.S. News & World Report, launched UF Online in January 2014. UF Online was ranked No. 4 in the 2020 rankings for the best online programs in the country by U.S. News. Students can select from over 25 majors across a variety of disciplines and work with a dedicated academic advisor to design their own academic pathway. Degree programs are continually being added.
Learn more about the programs UF Online offers and start your application today!