I’m thinking about going to graduate school sometime after I graduate here. I’m not yet sure whether I want to go straight from undergrad to grad school, or if I’d rather wait a few years; I’m still working that out. However, there’s a bigger question for me now, and that’s this: should I go to grad school online?
I’ve been thinking for a while that it might be more convenient and affordable for me to go to grad school online. However, the idea has not been very popular with others, especially my parents. They think I’ll end up with a worthless degree. What’s the truth here?
It wasn’t so long ago that attending college or graduate school was unheard of. There were certainly some questions of legitimacy in the early years of online education; questions that still plague some institutions to this day. However, the reality is that a modern online education can be every bit as reputable as one from a on-site institution. Indeed, many of the best online degree programs available today are provided by institutions that also offer in-person educational experiences, blurring the line between online and traditional universities.
We’ve seen an explosion in online learning over the past couple of decades. eLearning has grown by 900% in the past 16 years, and that has impacted all levels of education. Some people now estimate that more than half of all traditional universities offer at least one degree program online. Online graduate school is now a perfectly normal idea.
Are online degrees respected? Will choosing to attend school online affect your employability?
The short answer, some say, is that your online degree is likely to meet with plenty of respect. Employers tend to accept online degrees, which are increasingly seen as the equal of those earned at brick-and-mortar institutions. An online degree simply tells an employer that you valued your flexibility, especially if you were working and attending school at the same time, for instance.
A longer answer to your question would take into account what you plan to study, say those who offer online master’s in social work degrees. Some areas of study and career paths are more accepting of online and distance learning programs than others, so it pays to do the research and speak to people who already have the type of job that you want. You should be able to get a sense from them as to whether or not employers are likely to value your online degree properly.
Ultimately, of course, it’s your decision! We urge you to do the research it takes to get a really accurate sense of the value of an online degree in your field of choice. Value this insight and your own instincts regarding what educational environment you think is best for you. Try not to let outdated views on online education color your decision, even when they’re being parroted by people you trust.
“The wisest mind has something yet to learn.” – George Santanya