Universities have been around for a long time. Harvard University was founded in 1636 and claims to be the “oldest institution of higher education in the United States.” Ever since that time, the ways students utilize universities and colleges have changed drastically.
The traditional way of going to college involves moving on campus, going to class every day and getting the weekend as a nice break. Some students get involved in sports, others in clubs and theater. Many adults claim that the years they spent at college were some of the best days of their lives. There is almost no experience that compares to going to college. But with the nonstop evolution of technology and the unstable economy, the way students are getting their higher education is expanding from the traditional route. These days there are also online degrees.
Getting a degree online may not seem very legitimate, but it is. Many universities are creating more programs that are available completely online. This is making school more accessible.
Julie Buhler is one woman who is taking advantage of this up-and-coming way of schooling. She works part time, is a wife and a mother of seven. Through the University of Maine at Augusta online, she is making her dreams a reality. “I have always wanted to be a librarian because I love books. But we are in an age where you need a degree for everything. UMA has an online Library Sciences program. It is too far for me to travel to classes every day so the online route has helped me to be able to get the degree I need. I have already built a life, so going back to school was scary for me. But because of the online option, I have been able to take classes in and around my other responsibilities.”
Julie is not alone in her need for online schooling. Many people, however, do not even realize that they can get their degree completely online.
“Many people ask me where I go to school, and when I tell them I do it all online, they are shocked,” college sophomore Jess Bates said. “People are stuck in a time where going to college meant living in a dorm. Online is so much easier and cheaper! I just hope that others discover the potential that is has.”
Despite the apparent success of online school for some, others have not been as big fans. Lucas Smith, a high school senior, has no interest in ever taking online classes again. “I took a couple online classes as part of an early college program. I really didn’t like them. I like being able to get to know my classmates and my teachers and you just don’t get that with online schooling. Don’t get me wrong, I think online is a great option for some. But I would much rather go to class and see real people than stare at a computer screen for six hours or more a day.”
Online schooling is becoming more popular despite the stigma of “not being legitimate.” As Lucas pointed out, it isn’t for everyone. But online school is a good option for those with a tight schedule and a need for higher education. As the technology generations get to the age where they start applying to schools, there will probably be an increase in online college students. The times are certainly changing, but it seems this change makes higher education options better for some.