5 Things to Know Before Pursuing Your Degree Online

5 Things to Know Before Pursuing Your Degree Online

If you’re considering pursuing an online course of study, you’re in good company. Online enrollment has been increasing for 14 years. Studies indicate that 28 percent of all students enrolled in higher education are taking some or all of their course work online.1

Online learning is a great way for students to get the same education as in the classroom, but with greater flexibility. Although the content is the same, studies indicate that online students perform as well or better than their in-classroom peers.2

Know What It Takes to Succeed Online

However, just because the content and instruction are there same, that doesn’t mean there aren’t significant differences between a classroom setting and remote learning. Every student is different, so it is ultimately up to you decide whether an online degree completion program is the right next step for you.

Here are five qualities you can expect from an online degree program and some insights into how you can succeed in one.

  1. Online Classes Are Still Challenging
    Online classes are not less rigorous than in-person classes. The content of an online course is exactly the same as its in-person counterpart. You’ll be doing the same work, with the same level of instruction. The difference isn’t in the content, it’s all in the delivery. Because of this, you’ll be glad to know that opting for the online route doesn’t compromise your education. It just tailors your learning to fit your life.
  2. Courses Are Designed to Be Flexible
    Flexibility makes online classes a great fit for busy people. Even though the course work is comparable, online classes are easier to fit into a busy schedule than their classes on campus. Not only do you save time on commuting, but you have the freedom and flexibility to study when and where it’s convenient for you.
  3. You Remain Accountable for Your Work
    Because you can learn on your schedule, self-motivation is key. You will still be responsible for completing assignments on a deadline. Even though online course work offers you the convenience to study on your schedule, it will require a lot of commitment and follow-through. Time management is key for the successful online student.
  4. Technology Is a Must for Online Degree Success
    Make sure you’re equipped with the technology to be successful. You will be completing your course work on a personal computer or tablet. Make sure you know your hardware well, and that you feel confident using it and troubleshooting any issues that it may have. Your program will offer IT support, so be sure you fully understand your options in case you get stuck. Take advantage of tutorials and instruction for using your program’s online platform. Your university is here to support you, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
  5. Online Classmates Can Be Valuable Connections
    Even though you won’t be sharing a classroom with your fellow students, peer networking is still a vital component of your education. You’ll still be responsible for completing group assignments using co-working platforms like Google Docs. Take these opportunities to get to know your peers in the program. It may take a little more effort, but building relationships with your classmates and instructors is a great way to lay a foundation for your professional network.3

Statistically speaking, the outcomes of online learning differ very little from in-classroom instruction.2 But with advantages like losing the commute, and gaining the flexibility to study wherever and whenever you want, online study is a great way for busy people to complete their degrees on their own terms.


With a Bachelor of Computer Science (BCS) degree from Auburn University, you’ll be preparing to enter one of the highest paid industries in the country, with unparalleled flexibility and freedom.4 Learn more about our online BCS program and apply today.


  1. Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from onlinelearningconsortium.org/news_item/report-one-four-students-enrolled-online-courses/
  2. Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from sr.ithaka.org/publications/interactive-learning-online-at-public-universities-evidence-from-randomized-trials/
  3. Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from rasmussen.edu/student-life/blogs/college-life/what-i-wish-someone-told-me-before-taking-online-classes/
  4. Retrieved on March 5, 2018, from www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm