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Should Your Teen Consider Online College?

Parents of high school seniors know it’s not only the holiday season right now, it’s college application season as well. Students across the country are looking at colleges to send their applications to and are rushing to take SATs and ACTs. Many parents and teens automatically look into brick and mortar schools, but there is a whole other style of college you and your teen might look into - online education.

In the past, online schooling got a bad reputation for being shady and low quality, but that is no longer the case. There are so many accredited and well known universities that have added online degree programs to their schools, and more options for online programs are becoming available every year. One of the leaders in integrating online degrees to their school’s programs is Arizona State University; to date, they have over 60 undergraduate degrees fully available online and a multitude of graduate degrees and certificates thanks to ASU President Michael Crow, who believes in innovations in education and accessibility to a greater degree of students.

While online education is relatively new in the world of academia, millions of students have found that they prefer online learning. In a world where younger generations are more in tune with technology than ever before, online learning feels more engaging to them. Students are able to learn at their own pace, giving them the ability to achieve their degree in a timeline that works best for them. The online classroom allows for discussion boards, where those who might feel dominated over by more boisterous students can finally have a say in the class conversations.

One of the biggest reasons for the pull to online learning is the convenience it adds to the lives of those who have additional goals and responsibilities. Many graduating seniors will likely be paying for school on their own and will need to work while going to school. It’s hard to find jobs willing to work with school schedules, so online degrees are perfect for those who need school to work around their schedule, not the other way around. It also allows students to live at home and still seek out degrees from out of state schools that aren’t offered in their home state. This will save them all the extra costs that accrue from having to move out of state, like out of state tuition, housing, and other living expenses.

Online university is great for students who are very self motivated and organized. While traditional school has a set schedule and deadlines, online schooling is a little more flexible and a student who tends to procrastinate will probably let the flexibility hinder their progress. Motivated and organized students will thrive taking their classes online, and may even get their classes done faster than they would have on a strict class time schedule.

If you think your teen would prefer and even thrive in an online university program, encourage them to look into them. There are some things you and your student need to know when seeking out online degree programs. Check the accreditation thoroughly when searching programs - there are so many accredited universities that offer online degree programs, but there are still some places that are not as legitimate. Also, be sure to check online degrees for required “hands on training.” Most online degree programs are fully online, but there are a few that will have some limited in-person requirements. In the case that your teen wants to look into a degree that is likely to require hands-on training, look to see if your local university offers that option.

It’s not for everyone, but there are many students who would do well in an online program. Do your research and help your teen make the right decision for them. 

More resources on college:


What colleges are looking for in high school students - Best-Selling Parenting Author, Harry H. Harrison Jr.


Considerations when choosing a college - Independent College Counselor, Danny Ruderman


How much will college cost? - CPA, David Roberts



Mila is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Linguistics. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and studying foreign languages.