Master’s degrees are becoming increasingly common, and it’s not hard to see why. In some fields, an advanced degree is necessary for even entry-level jobs, and for others, like STEM fields, it can mean an even higher salary, more and better prospects and more exciting work. But, it’s also not hard to see why many professionals are reluctant to take the plunge into traditional graduate school. Doing so means leaving the workforce, moving to a new city and going into tens of thousands of dollars of debt.
For many, online master’s programs solve these problems. They make it possible to earn the same degree on your own schedule, without leaving home. Here’s why so many people are choosing to go back to grad school online.
1. It’s Cheaper
When we say that earning your master’s online is cheaper, we don’t mean that these programs charge lower tuition fees. In most cases, tuition is just as expensive as for traditional programs. But, you save a lot of the incidental costs that go along with returning to school, such as those associated with moving to be close to campus, renting an apartment, and commuting to classes.
While you might not be able to get a graduate or teaching assistantship to offset the cost of tuition, there’s a solid chance your employer will be willing to reimburse you for the cost of your tuition if you go back to school online. This is especially common among companies hiring STEM professionals, where a master’s degree is becoming increasingly sought-after. You’ll be able to enjoy the higher salary that comes with having earned a Master’s in Biochemical Engineering However, you’ll earn that degree at a steep discount if you pursue it online.
2. It’s More Flexible
One of the major reasons we encourage students to consider an online GRE tutor vs. an in-person option is flexibility, and it’s a similar story when you are considering pursuing your graduate school studies. You can study where you want, when you want, as long as you meet your assignment deadlines. That means you’ll be able to keep working full-time, stay in your home and community and spend time with your family.
3. You’ll Form a More Diverse Network
Part of the benefit of attending graduate school is building a network. Conventional wisdom may be that you give this up when pursuing an online degree program. And it may be true it’s harder to build lasting relationships when you don’t meet your classmates in person. But in fact, you’ll build a different type of network.
In a traditional graduate school program, you tend to meet people who are at a place in their lives where they can still tear up stakes and move to a new city to attend a university program for a couple of years. These programs are mostly populated by young professionals with just a few years of work experience.
But online master’s programs appeal to an older, more experienced set. People from all walks of life, and at all points in their careers, enroll in online master’s programs. Plus, because you don’t need to get a student visa or move locations to attend these programs, they appeal to students from all over the world. You’ll meet classmates of all ages, from all walks of life and from a wide range of cultures and countries.
4. You’ll Build Virtual Collaboration Skills
As the work we do becomes increasingly connected and increasingly dependent on a range of virtual communications technologies, it’s important to become familiar with a variety of virtual collaboration tools. As an online master’s student, you’ll need to use video chat and video conferencing tools, shared cloud drive tools like DropBox and collaboration tools like Google Drive to communicate with classmates and professors virtually and complete assignments in a timely manner. You’ll come out the other end with a new sense of confidence and competence in virtual collaboration.
5. You’ll Build Self-discipline and Time Management Skills
While this can be said of just about any master’s program, an online master’s program can require students to be even more self-disciplined because they’re often juggling a range of other commitments. You’ll need to learn how to use your time wisely and how to prioritize. These skills are extremely sought after by employers, and in fact, having built them during an online degree program is something you can and should talk about during future interviews.
Going to grad school online can be a great solution for working adults who want a master’s degree without all the hassle of upending their lives and quitting their jobs. It’s becoming an increasingly accepted form of graduate study, and we encourage more individuals to consider online degree programs.