You will need to know the pros and cons of traditional Master's programs before you decide which type of program that you want to enroll in. A Master's degree program is designed to help you expand your technical knowledge in a specific area of study that you have majored in as an undergraduate student. Because many Master's degree students are also gainfully employed, balancing professional life and student life can become extremely difficult. At this point, students must weigh the pros and cons of standard and more modern distance programs to make a decision before applying to school. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of traditional on-campus programs:
The Many Advantages of Attending a Traditional Master's Program
Traditional programs may be ideal for your learning style if you need classroom structure. If face-to-face learning helps you stay focused and on-task, taking a traditional program where you will work directly with your professor may be the best choice. Some students find that studying in the classroom or attending lectures on-campus is a much less distracting option because they are not surrounded by their friends, family or other competing priorities at home.
Another pro associated with getting a Master's degree online is that you are able to build closer relationships. You can network with other students and with you professor, who may be able to connect you with potential employers. You can build relationships with professors and the student body online, but it is much more organic in person. It is also much easier to find an accredited program where the credits are transferable.
The Disadvantages of Attending Master's Courses on Campus
Where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. In today's busy society, where you are expected to work, attend school and still meet your familial obligations, it can be very hard to earn your Master's and still earn an income in the process. Traditional programs have strict schedules, and because competition is so fierce to attend M.S. and M.A. programs, missing even a few classes can lead to withdrawal. This means that you must commute to school each day, be on time, and take your lectures as they are given.
With an online class, you can watch your lectures and do work when you find fit. You also can skip the commute and save money on gas or other transportation costs. Students who are organized, independent learners find that studying from home during their free time allows them to feel comfortable as they learn. This is not a benefit of attending a traditional class.
Prospective students who live in rural or suburban areas might have difficulty finding a traditional Master's program that is accessible. With distance education, a Master's education is always accessible because your living room will become the classroom and your computer the blackboard.
Now that you know the pros and the cons of going to a traditional school for your graduate degree, it is time to find a program that interests you. Some schools have very strict admissions requirements, and educating yourself on these will help you make the process easier. Only after you consider the pros and cons of traditional Master's, can you decide if you want to attend school on campus or online.