Online Degree vs. On Campus: A Comparison

You can do almost everything online these days. You can apply for a credit card, buy a car, make new friends, or even earn a degree. Today, earning a degree online has become easier and much more accepted. Employers are now considering college degrees obtained online as credible as those acquired from brick and mortar schools. More and more traditional schools are adding online programs to the point where it is now possible to get a major part of a degree from a traditional college through online classes.

While both on-campus and online programs are a good way to acquire an education, most people find themselves wondering which of the two platforms is best. There are several options when it comes to on-campus or online degrees, therefore, choose what best suits you. This comparison between online and on-campus degrees will help you choose what best suits your needs.


One of the major components to consider when weighing options is the amount of time you have daily to work on your degree. Are you able and willing to attend full-time classes or do you require more flexibility for your busy schedule?

Online education offers great flexibility to the learner, making it a great option if you already have a time commitment with work or family. Online classes will match with your schedule – log into your course at a time that best suits you as opposed to having to attend lectures at specific times. On-campus education has limited flexibility. But if you are hoping for a bit of flexibility, on-campus courses usually offer evening and day classes so you can synchronize with your everyday commitments.

Social Interaction

Are you looking for an opportunity to move away from home and participate in campus life? Do you need to interact with your instructors and peers to succeed? Or are you perhaps someone who can thrive in an independent study environment?Michigan_Union_2009

Online education has less social interactions compared to on-campus learning. However, interactions with peers and instructors still happen, through online video. This can be helpful for students who prefer peace and solitude over the sometimes overwhelming social zoo of campus.

If you are the kind of student who requires face-to-face communication with your instructors and peers, then on-campus education is a better option. Besides, you get to experience the extras of campus life, such as clubs, activities and socializing that are hard to substitute in an online environment.



Something else worth considering while weighing your college options is how disciplined you are. Discipline is essential for on-campus as well as online degrees.

Online programs are good for students with the ability to self-motivate. To succeed in online education, you require a plan or some kind of organization. You will require prioritizing your school schedule and setting deadlines.

If you are the kind of person that requires discipline to get work done, then a traditional on-campus setting is perhaps the best for you. This method gives you the support and motivation to complete tasks and assignments on a daily basis.


There is a common myth among learners that online degree programs are cheaper. While this can be true at times, it is not always the case. Sometimes, online education costs the same as traditional on-campus education. And there are a smaller number of scholarships and financial help programs available for online degrees.

When comparing on-campus and online degrees, all fees should be well thought-out. Some online programs charge extra fees for lessons and resources, whether the learner uses the resource or not. These fees can add together to a point that an online class that appeared like a bargain, tuition-wise, is pricier than on-campus education when all the fees are added. For that reason, it is advisable for students to always ask for a complete “cost of attending” summary.


With so many factors in play, there is no one-size-fits-all answer in this case. The important thing is to carefully consider your situation and choose what best suits you. Conduct extensive research on both programs before making your choice. If you are looking for more flexibility, then worry not. Online degree programs are greatly accepted today and provided you are diligent in checking out the program, your online degree can be just as precious as one obtained from a traditional school.

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