Students face pros and cons when taking online classes.

Taking online classes allows international students the option to earn US college degrees without leaving home.

Online classes also allow you to study at the time and place of your own choosing.

But before you sign up to earn an online degree or take online classes, you should know the pros and cons of this type of education.

Taking Online Classes: Pro

  • Flexible. You can complete the courses whenever you want— early in the morning, late at night or on the weekends. This can be better than traditional classes if you have children or a full-time job.
  • Inexpensive. You can save gas money, and annual tuition costs can be less expensive.
  • Convenient. Complete the courses wherever you have a computer. This gives you more options without uprooting you or your family.

Taking Online Classes: Con

  • Impersonal. You will have little or no time for in-person discussions with professors and classmates. Email, chat rooms and online forums are no substitute.
  • Technical. You must have good computer skills, be a talented typist and be ready to deal with fatigue after so many hours staring at a computer screen.
  • Frustrating. It is difficult to ignore distractions such as other websites, the television or friends who urge you to have fun tonight and do your coursework tomorrow.
  • Isolating. Libraries, laboratories and other academic resources will be further away, and so will college counselors who can help you find a job after graduation.
  • Asocial. You will learn few of the socialization skills that student acquire on a traditional campus.

Earning a US Degree from Abroad

If you want to earn a US degree without leaving your country, you absolutely must research the reputation of the online university in which you want to enroll. You should attend an accredited college and determine if the degree it offers will suit your job prospects. Be sure to avoid diploma mills.

Remember: An online school won’t allow you to experience American culture and customs, or have in-depth, in-person discussions with your professors and classmates.

Is Taking Online Classes Right for You?

Taking online classes isn’t for everyone. If you learn best with lectures, if you hate new technology or if you prefer face-to-face interaction, then taking online classes probably isn’t a good idea.

Taking online classes can be just as rewarding as traditional classes if you are self-motivated and aren’t easily distracted.

Don’t forget: There’s no harm in trying something new! Many universities offer single classes online.