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Online College VS On-Campus: Pros & Cons

Considering applying for online college but not sure is it worth it? This article offers the pros and cons of online remote learning vs. on-campus education.


The pursuit of higher education has changed considerably over the last twenty years. It used to be that going to university or college meant getting into a car, traveling to a campus, finding living arrangements, and actually attending a physical school! There were night courses available way back when, but even those still involved going to a physical classroom.

Now that has changed with the Internet providing access to just about everything one needs to be a student online. This, however, hasn’t resulted in everyone forgoing a regular education for an online one. So, why do people still go to physical universities and what are the advantages and disadvantages of both? Let the debate between online college vs on-campus commence!

Online Learning: Pros

  • Online means never having to leave the comfort of home. Yes, this means that a student can go from having to get up, take a shower, get ready, and then head out the door to just getting out of bed! Getting lectures at home means one can do it in one’s pajamas.
  • There are no traveling expenses. Whether it’s gas or bus tickets, commuting costs money and being able to take classes at home means saving money before you even get started in the morning!
  • It’s also more environmental. A physical building uses power, cars and buses need fuel. Online classes only require the power to light up a room and a computer. That’s it.
  • Tuition is usually less expensive. Because of the reasons mentioned above, an online course doesn’t require the same resources to run, making the course, itself, cheaper. They can pass the savings onto the student, and that means lower tuition fees.
  • No student fees. Some universities still might charge these, but most student fees are levied by the student-government. Those fees are usually charged to pay for the resources that a student usually has on-campus, but they aren’t available online. So, fees may not disappear, altogether, but they should be lower.
  • There’s easy access to online help. This covers everything from an essay writing service to online “how-to” videos, and all of it is available right at one’s home!

Online College: Cons

  • There is no in-person support. This is really true. When taking an online course, a student is usually hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from the campus where the course is being offered. Being that far away means that they can’t just drop in on their professor at his or her office. That also means that they can’t do the same for assistants or department heads.
  • There is no physical access to campus resources. The good news here is that many campuses have online resources now, but there are still resources available at a university that simply aren’t on the Internet. For instance, a campus has several libraries on-site, and all of those books aren’t necessarily available online.
  • No access to a SUB. Ah yes, what just every university has in some form or another! The Student Union Building is an important resource for a student and is not readily available to an online student, although there might be some resources available.

On-Campus: Pros

  • Full access to all resources. This is one of the most stand-out advantages to being an on-campus student. A university campus has a lot to offer a student, and it’s all available right there. This can include access to a doctor, mental health resources, and other forms of aid for students.
  • In-person support. The advantage of being on-campus is that all of those professors have office hours, during which students can drop in and ask questions, look for guidance, or get input. This isn’t just limited to professors, either. There is a full staff employed that are all oriented towards every facet of every student’s education.
  • Support from other students. Many people who have graduated from college have said it was those group efforts that allowed them to get through many of their courses, and if there’s one thing that a university has plenty of, it’s students.
  • Make friends for life! This is the other part of having that support. People who attend university end up conversing with others who have common interests. It’s that relationship that pours the foundation for friendships that will last a lifetime!
  • Dorm life is good! The dorm. Where would students be without it? This is a place that helps to simplify a person’s life, and it takes away so many worries! Food is taken care of, and there are no bills to worry about. What could be better?
  • Full access to resources. An on-campus student has access to gym facilities, libraries, and even the college’s radio station! This is a great perk of going to a university in person, as every campus has a lot to offer everyone.

On-Campus: Cons

  • Get ready to start paying… a lot! It’s no secret that attending university comes with a high price tag. Going in person means that one is likely going to be living on-campus, as well. Dorms can be a huge plus and a huge relief for young adults making taking their first steps into the real world, but dorms cost money, and not just a little.
  • Student fees are everywhere. They do have good uses, though. They pay for clubs, extracurricular activities, the Student Union Building, and much more, but they can be rather high, depending on where a person is going to college.
  • Be ready to get used to the word “debt”. A student usually has to borrow a lot of money to attend university, or they have to depend on scholarships. Few have wealthy families to support them, so they have to shoulder massive amounts of debt that can leave a student wondering if it’s all worth it.

The good news, though, is that debt can be paid off, but it can lead to a lot of stress, and for several years.

The pro of both choices is that both are likely to result in higher-paying jobs with considerably more job security. In the end, the choice between online college vs on-campus comes down to what a person needs in their life; the comfort of their home, or the resources of a whole campus?

About Jennifer Broflowski

Apart from being a journalist, Jennifer spends her time helping others to Craft Resumes online and in the pursuit of the perfect chocolate.


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