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Simply because taking courses online is more convenient than taking them in person, prospective students can be lulled into thinking that online graduate degrees are easier to obtain than traditional ones. This is not the case. Successful online graduate school students take their online programs as seriously as they would offline programs.
Most online graduate school courses are offered by universities that also offer traditional classroom learning, and students should expect to have to meet the same admissions and academic standards as other students. Furthermore, a reputable online-only university will be accredited, which means it must meet the same standards as brick and mortar institutions. Students should also realize that online graduate degrees may be offered on accelerated basis, meaning students will be expected to complete the same amount of work as traditional students in less time.
On the other hand, if you are willing to put in the time, have self-discipline and good computer skills and are willing to pay about as much for an online graduate degree as you would for a traditional one, you may find that the online course experience is more stimulating, interactive and personalized than classroom instruction. With more and more employers accepting the value of online graduate degrees, online graduate school is an option worth considering.
According to the Office of Policy and Program Studies Services, students who take online courses perform better than students who take the same courses in a face-to-face classes. Online masters degree students who are enrolled in courses that have both an online and face-to-face component are also likely to out-perform students who only sit in classes held in traditional brick and mortar institutions. Students who are in online masters degree programs with no face-to-face interaction with instructors may not perform as well as the students who have a combination of online and face-to-face interaction in the course.
Students who are enrolled on online masters programs must be well-organized and self motivated. Because many programs are self-paced, students often fall behind in coursework and are too embarrassed to reach out to professors for help. Sometimes students fall behind because they have trouble with procrastination. It's easy to avoid doing assignments until the last minute, but students are likely to perform at a subpar level when they don't have adequate time to prepare their work. Having some face-to-face interaction may motivate students. Therefore it is advisable that students who are enrolled in online masters programs have some face-to-face classroom meetings in their courses.