by Dr. Lynn Lease, Director of OCUOnline Plus
Long gone are the days of being limited to simply deciding which college to attend. Today’s incoming college freshmen have the choice of an on-campus program, an online program, or a combination of the two. But which option best fits you?
In order to choose what fits you best, there are important considerations for each option.
Location and Setting
When you consider going away to college, it is important to not only consider the qualities of the school but also the location and the setting. How far away from home is optimal? Do you want to be close enough for parents to visit you easily or further away to truly get a sense of being out and on your own? In addition, do you currently live in an urban or rural setting, and do you want to also experience that type of college setting or would you prefer to experience something different?
An online college program allows you the flexibility and independence to remain in your current location and setting. Will you have the space and quiet time you might need in order to set aside time for studying and completing assignments? Consider talking with those in your home about how this might be an adjustment of roles for both you and your parents and/or siblings.
Moving to a college campus appeals to many students. There are many opportunities to meet new people and make new friends in the dorms, in classes, and at campus activities. Does moving away and meeting new people sound exciting to you?
Even in online programs, many colleges build in community experiences or options. Would you prefer to interact with your peers in an online environment through chat sessions, virtual meeting rooms, and discussion forums? In addition, some online programs offer travel and study learning experiences such as internships and study abroad opportunities. If this appeals to you, be sure to ask college reps what the online learning community offers their online college students and what opportunities there might be for traveling and learning.
Time Management and Study Strategies
On-campus programs typically require attendance in on-campus classes. Do you prefer to attend face-to-face classes? Do you learn best when you participate in hands-on activities and listen to direct instruction and lectures? Would the accountability of required attendance at set times and in set locations help you best manage your time and achieve your learning goals?
Online programs typically offer content in weekly modules, with mid-week and end-of-week due dates to guide students through the course. Some online programs do offer a live, virtual meeting option or videos of lectures and direct instruction to help guide learning. Does having the flexibility to adjust your weekly schedule to meet due dates appeal to you? Do you have the skills to learn independent of in-person instruction?
Faculty and Learning Support
On-campus faculty are typically available in an on-campus office throughout the week, and most campus locations offer student support offices with services such as tutoring, study skill development, and services for students with specific learning needs. Would you take advantage of these in-person services?
Online faculty are typically available via email and phone, and sometimes for virtual office hours via a virtual platform. Most online programs also offer student services for their online students with specific learning needs and to support online learning overall. Does being able to access these services from home appeal to you?
Blended and Hybrid Options
Blended and hybrid options typically allow students to choose both on-campus learning and online learning based on course offerings and specific needs and situations. Benefits of a blended or hybrid college program are that you get the best of both worlds, having the flexibility to study from home some semesters and the benefits of studying on a campus community other semesters. Be sure to ask if this is an option when you are considering your college options!
Ohio Christian University Programs
Consider Ohio Christian University’s Residential Undergraduate program, an Associate or Bachelor degree program at our main campus in Circleville, Ohio. Students can either commute or live on campus, attend weekly chapel services, participate in small groups, and more! For more information visit ohiochristian.edu/undergrad.
Consider Ohio Christian University’s Online Plus program, an online Bachelor degree program allowing you to complete 100% of your program online plus choose from options to study abroad, complete internships, spend a semester on campus, and more! For more information visit ocuonlineplus.com.
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