10 Popular Online Degree Myths

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


Despite the ever-multiplying numbers of online degree programs available and the fact that reputable and respected schools like MIT are now offering distance-learning opportunities, there are still a stigma attached to mobile learning and online education in general. Ill-informed naysayers have spread a number of defamatory statements that are either completely not true or exaggerated to a large degree. To make sure that misconceptions doesn’t keep you from pursuing an online degree program and taking your career to the next level, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular myths about online degrees that need to be debunked and will set the record straight now!

Myth: Online Degrees Are Not as “Good” as Campus Programs.

10 Popular Online Degree Myths The belief that online degrees are not worth as much as degrees earned from campus-based programs is long-standing, and probably the most popular myth about online education. While many believe that online programs aren’t as hard as traditional degree programs and don’t require as much work, this is simply not the case. Like DeVry University, some colleges actually offer both online and on-campus degrees for the same programs, many times using the exact same curriculum and admissions requirements for both. Some online degree programs are rated even higher than similar campus-based options. If anything, you could even say online programs will help you learn more, since you often have the opportunity to review video lectures and notes posted online. Really, how much your degree is worth comes down to how hard you are willing to work as a student, whether on-campus or online. Don’t forget it!

Myth: Online Colleges Are Not Accredited.

While there are definitely a lot of scams out there, most online colleges you will hear about or come across have received full accreditation from organizations officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Most of the time, if the school you come across has an official .edu address, you’re in good shape, but there’s obviously more points to consider. If you haven’t heard of a college before, research the website of prospective schools or give them a call to check their accreditation status. Be careful, though, as some “colleges” will pretend to be accredited by displaying a fake certificate. To make sure you’re dealing with a real online college, check them out online in student posted reviews or articles. If you can’t find enough evidence to suggest that you’re dealing with a real school, make sure to double check the website of the accrediting organization. If nothing else, consult the U.S. Department of Education’s database of officially accredited online colleges.

Myth: Online Programs are Less Expensive.

Many people believe that earning an online degree is less expensive than a typical college education, but this is unfortunately not always the case. While you will not have to pay for as many physical services as you would if you were attending courses on a college campus, all other expenses will still typically apply, including course materials, administration, and faculty fees. Be sure to apply for financial aid if you are thinking of pursuing an online degree program. Also, shop around and compare online college tuition rates. Sometimes you can find two colleges offering the same program, but one at a much lower price. While this might be difficult at a campus college you would want to be close to your home, this is one of the many advantages of earning a mobile degree!

Myth: Online Programs are Not Interactive.

Many believe that a major flaw of online programs is that they lack interactive opportunities for students and instructors. Again, this is simply not true! Nearly all online learning platforms provide various ways for students to communicate with instructors and even fellow classmates. Examples include email, chat, video conferencing, and threaded discussions.

Myth: Online Degree Programs are Too Easy.

The difficulty of any degree all depends on the school, program, and the student. But, online programs are not necessarily easier, as most require rigorous study and participation and an equal amount of effort as their campus-based counterparts. Furthermore, since studying online requires determination and self-discipline, some online programs are more difficult that those offered on campus.

Myth: Online Credits Won’t Transfer.

If you’ve ever transferred from any school to another, you’ll know that transferring course credit is a complicated and involved process anywhere you go, including at online institutions. Most credits earned in an online program will transfer to other schools, but if you’re planning on completing only a few courses online and then transferring to another school, make sure you tell your admissions advisor about this possibility upfront. If you ask directly, you’ll get a straight answer.

Myth: Online Schools are Not Evaluated.

Nearly all accredited colleges and universities undergo some type of evaluation process. While traditional universities are assessed based on the quality of education in the classroom and campus attributes, online colleges are evaluated on the quality of education, variety of courses offered, and accreditation. Remember: not all online colleges are created equal, so consider a top online college like Kaplan or DeVry if you’re looking for a challenging and difficult degree program.

Myth: Anyone Can Succeed in an Online Program.

Online learning is not for everyone! Even more so than on campus, it takes dedication and self-discipline to make sure you keep up with your coursework and don’t let weeks slip by without studying. Completing online courses can be very challenging for some individuals. Before enrolling in an online program, you must be able to work well unsupervised, avoid procrastination, and stick to a schedule.

Myth: Online Institutions Do Not Have the Same Student Services.

Student services are essential in all schools, and many online institutions deliver the same amount or more services as campus colleges. Typical resources offered by online colleges include admissions assistance, academic advising, bookstores, tutoring services, technical support, and career resources. Most online colleges also have helpful online libraries and research materials, too! Even though you don’t have a library to physically study in, a number of materials are available online 24/7.

Myth: Employers Do Not Accept Online Degrees.

We’ll be honest: there was a time when our last online degree myth was actually true, and mobile learning programs were not widely accepted by many employers. But nowadays, that is no longer the case. Every day, more and more employers are finding that online degrees are just as good as campus-based programs, with some even offering tuition reimbursement. If you are worried about what an employer may think about your online degree, be sure the program is fully accredited and provide documentation of things you learned.

Get help finding accredited online degree programs

Now that you know the facts, take the next step to find accredited online programs. Use the College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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