Which on-campus student are you? Student A: The one who wants to complete college as quickly as possible to spearhead a career and save money. Student B: The student majoring in two, three or even four degree fields who is looking to add credits to his or her schooling. Student C: The student who would like to take more classes within his or her degree field to gain further specialization or skills to impress graduate schools.
No matter which type of on-campus student you are, supplementing your college classes with online courses is likely a great idea – even if that’s by adding an online course to an already full course load. In the long run, you’ll have more flexibility and the ability to accomplish your goals within a reasonable time frame with online courses.
Upon reflection, I should have done on-campus and online courses in tandem throughout my entire college career, not just because I needed to my senior year.
I was student B. My worst fear as a student was being told that I had to stay longer and complete more classes because I misunderstood the course load required. I was limited to finishing my degree within four years if my education was to be covered by my scholarship. Any longer meant I would have to scramble for financing.
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But once I got to senior year, I found I still needed six credits to complete my double major of politics and economics and would likely have to stay another semester. Nonetheless, there was a lot on the line: the cost of tuition and housing for another semester, and a lost opportunity to start my career.
Upon investigation, I found an online class that would meet my requirements and align with my interests: Introduction to Geology. At first, I was discouraged about adding this course to my already heavy course load, but over time, I realized there are many benefits to supplementing in-person learning with online education.
Based on my experience, here are three reasons to pursue both education pathways at once.
1. You can complete required general education courses on your own time. Taking online courses can allow you to manage a challenging course load a bit better because they are often self-paced and offer flexibility. You can focus on your heavy course load and complete general course requirements while delving deeper into your chosen field in person.
[Learn four time management tips for online students.]
2. You can stay on track to graduate with a double or triple major. While it’s true that graduating with multiple majors takes discipline and may require a few more classes, it also allows you to broaden your career prospects and explore more fields. In my case, the flexibility of an online course was the saving grace to finishing my double major on time so I didn’t have to spend another semester neglecting my career.
3. By completing your degree faster, you’ll save money. Think of all that goes into paying for college: tuition, fees, housing expenses and the opportunity cost of not launching a career. That’s thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars on the line. Sure, you’ll pay slightly more upfront for the additional online courses, but in the long run – when considering housing and career opportunity loss – the faster you complete your bachelor’s, the more money you save.