7 Greatest Challenges in Getting Your Masters Online

by Chad Agrawal

Earning an advanced degree through an online program is sometimes the best choice for people who need the degree and don't have access to a traditional campus or time for traditional classes. While the benefits of earning your master's degree are easy to see, there are also some challenges you need to be aware of before you enroll.

1. Lack of Outside Motivation

In an online master's program, you are the only one pushing yourself to get things done. You can completely ignore the computer for weeks at a time and no one will be around to remind you how important the degree is. Self-motivation is a key ingredient for a successful online program.

2. No Fixed Schedule

The lack of a structured schedule can be a relief, but it can also be a challenge. In a traditional campus program, you are forced to spend at least a few hours every week focusing on the classes you are taking. An online program requires that you carve that time out of your own busy schedule.

3. Procrastination

If you put off your class work until the day before the deadline, it may be impossible to get it all done in time. Online classes have due dates just like traditional classes, but no one will be at the front of the room reminding you of those due dates once or twice every week.

4. Less Interaction with Students and Instructors

Online courses rely on e-mail communication rather than face-to-face discussions. If you are uncomfortable with written communication, you may have trouble expressing yourself in an online master's program. In a traditional classroom, discussions might be more spontaneous and engaging than in an online forum. Online discussions tend to be more deliberate and stilted, which can hamper a student's understanding of the topic being discussed.

5. Potential for Interruptions

When all of your classes are conducted away from the classroom, you have many more chances of being interrupted. In a traditional class, there is specific time set aside to concentrate on the class in a room that is protected from interruption. Online classes do not share that protection.

6. Requires Tremendous Organization

An online student must be organized in order to be successful. It is up to you to know about deadlines and keep up with study materials. You have the freedom to schedule your school time any hour of the day or night, but you have the responsibility to make sure you are up to date with class information and due dates.

7. Potential Bias in the Workplace

Online master's degrees are becoming more and more available through traditional universities and accredited schools across the nation. Even though research shows that an online education is as valid as a traditional education, not all employers believe that to be so. In some industries, like business, an online degree may not be respected as much as a traditional degree, especially if the online program was taken through a for-profit online college that does not have any ties to a traditional college or university. Any advanced degree is better than nothing, but sometimes a traditional degree carries more weight on a resume than an online degree.

If after reading this, you're still interested in pursuing your degree online, whether it be for your Masters or 2 year degrees in management, stop by JustColleges.com to find the degree program that fits your needs. 

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

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