The Biggest Differences Between Online & Traditional Colleges

So when this is going to be posted I’ll have just finished up my first two classes of the school year. Which is totally weird considering it’s only October but if I’m being honest I have actually come to prefer the accelerated speed of the classes that I’m taking. It’s a lot of work but it feels like every assignment is actually worthwhile instead of being busy work.

And actually… That’s a lie. I hate the accelerated speed of the classes and I have to spend every day trying to convince myself not to drop out again 🙂

I will say though that if I wasn’t required to work full time (and wasn’t already struggling with that whole crazy aspect of life) and could focus more on school I definitely wouldn’t be having the issues that I’m having currently. I’m pretty sure that if I had a different job with different hours and different responsibilities I wouldn’t hate school as much as I do right now. And who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy it more when I start taking different classes.

In my post today I’m going to talk about the some of the biggest differences that I’ve noticed between attending online school and traditional school since I originally went through two full years of school.

Right off the bat, scheduling is completely different. It is up to you to make sure you’re meeting all your deadlines. You don’t have set “classes” that you have to attend throughout the week so when assignments are due, it’s up to you to make sure you dedicate enough of your time to them to complete each one. For both of my classes I have assignments due every Tuesday and Thursday and one of them also has assignments due on Sunday. Do I frantically do my homework every single time it’s due? Yes. Should I probably get better at time management? Yes. But I also really only work well under intense amounts of pressure because I really don’t care about my schoolwork. I talked more about that in this post.

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One thing that I really like is that I go to a school in a different time zone so all my assignments are due at “midnight” which is actually two AM my time so if I ever needed to use the full deadline time, I feel like I have more time to do it. That’s another huge difference. You can go to school anywhere at any time. This is great for people who have a family to care for or have to work full time. Balancing school and work and life is definitely difficult and I wish that I could give you advice on that topic but I am failing miserably and always have so I would recommend looking elsewhere for that kind of advice 🙂

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For me personally, talking to professors and asking for help is harder. Like hard to the point where I still haven’t filled out a form for disability accommodations because it’s online classes, my mental health shouldn’t matter in terms of needing to be accommodated for… It’s not like I have to miss classes or anything. And in terms of talking to professors. You don’t get the warmth of being in someone’s physical presence. It feels so much more formal than traditional schooling and I hate that. Online school has definitely turned me off from school even further, which sucks but at this point I’m just trying to get my degree and be done with it.

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That formality also carries over to how I feel about my classmates. School feels more like “clock in, clock out” than ever before. When I lived on campus I was constantly immersed in the goings on of literally everyone I interacted with. While online classes can attempt to foster some form of community, unless you put in the effort to get to know your classmates it’s not going to be there the way that it is at traditional schools. For me, this isn’t that big of a deal. I hate getting to know people and one of my defining characteristics is that I’m not part of any sort of community. I get my assignments done and log off. (Which they tell you not to do, but I genuinely don’t care, whoops).

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At this point I think that’s everything that I’ve really noticed that’s different. Other than also that the school that I attend has accelerated classes which means that classes last about 8 weeks each instead of the traditional 16 of a semester. So while I take 4 classes each semester, I only have two going at a time. I do like this because it’s a lot less to keep track of and helps me from getting too bored with one class because it goes by so much faster than a traditional class. It’s definitely a lot of work but at the end of the day I would probably be doing that much work from 4 classes anyways.

I think the main draw to online school is flexibility and I appreciate that but I really am starting to miss traditional school and I’m very sad that I’m not allowed to pursue that anymore. So here’s to more classes and hopefully getting my degree over with sooner rather than later.