Why school leavers should consider online university as an option
If you’re leaving school this year and thinking about applying for university in 2022, have you considered enrolling in an online course?
With all the disruptions to your education and your life so far in 2021, it’s another option that’s definitely worth looking into.
If you’ve been stressed or anxious about the thought of applying or getting into university, or perhaps you’re feeling unsure about moving away from home – then this could be a perfect solution for you.
Doing a bit of research won’t commit you to anything, but it could open up a whole lot more benefits to consider.
Get a university degree on your own terms
These days most universities offer courses online, and there appear to be more and more options added each year.
As a result of the pandemic, you may even find your choices and the availability of online courses increases, with delivery becoming more sophisticated and streamlined.
If you’d like the chance to study at your own pace, wherever and whenever you want – then studying online could be a seriously great move to think about.
What you’ll need to study online
When you’re researching your options or you enrol on a course, you may find out you’ll need to be on-campus occasionally. For example, you might have to go in for exams or to complete certain modules, especially if there are units where specialist equipment or supervision is required.
Otherwise all you’ll need is:
- Internet connection, it needs to be reliable. If home doesn’t have internet you can find out about dongles, hot spotting from your phone, or find free WIFI local to you e.g. lib (secure accounts are the best though)
- A suitable device, usually a PC or laptop will fit the bill. You’ll have to make sure it’s modern enough to support the software that your provider uses without any issues. A webcam and microphone will probably be required too
- A workspace. Preferably somewhere comfortable and quiet where you can focus on your work
Course content is usually available online 24/7, tutorials may be held via video link, and you can connect with lecturers and other students on your course through email and chat sites.
Discover some of the benefits of studying university online
There are lots of positives about online learning; here’s a few to consider:
- You’ll have even more courses to choose from if you study online. When you’re looking at on-campus qualifications, where you want to study can be an influencing factor, so you could be limited to courses offered by a particular provider. Studying online removes those barriers.
- Live at home you could save money on accommodation, stay close to your family and friends, plus get all the home comforts you’re used to.
- Flexible study means you can fit your uni work schedule in around your lifestyle. That means you do a degree while keeping (or getting) a job, enjoy all your hobbies and still have free time to socialise.
- Choose the study environment that suits you best. Whether that’s your bedroom, the kitchen table, in your favourite café, or at the library. We’re all different, so you can make it work for you. You could even stream lectures while you’re working out at the gym or enjoying the fresh air at your local park..
- No commuting each day could save you money and time too, so you’ll get more time to do what you want and less debt at the end of your studies.
- Become more self-disciplined and motivated, improve your time management, as well as learning to be responsible for managing your workload and overall outcomes. These are all fantastic life skills that are highly desirable in the workplace and will look great on your resume.
- Gain new technical skills as you learn to navigate new systems, platforms and use new software. Lots of the skills you’ll gain or develop through online studies will be necessary in the workplace, making you an appealing candidate to potential employers.
- If you’re a bit shy, or you’re easily distracted in the classroom, then online study could be a great way for you to feel more comfortable and perform better. You could leave uni with a better GPA than you might through on-campus study.
- Online degrees are equally well respected by employers as traditional degrees. (Just make sure that the course you choose is accredited by the industry you’d like to go into before signing up).
Still not convinced? Compare the pros and cons of “On campus vs online”.
Start your search
Most universities and higher education providers will have a page dedicated to their online courses. If you can’t find one, simply search the courses you’re interested in and see if they offer an “online” option on their course overview page. It’s usually listed under the location or delivery mode section.
You can find out a lot through a simple internet search, but don’t forget you can get help from the providers themselves about the courses they offer online and different options that are available to you.
So, give them a call, send them an email, or fill out an online enquiry. You can even contact some education institutions directly through their Facebook or other social media pages.
Applying for online courses
Applying for an online course varies between institutions. Sometimes you can apply directly to the provider by filling out the necessary forms. Some organisations, such as James Cook University, require Year 12 school leavers to apply through a Tertiary Admissions Centre (TAC).
If you’re unsure about what you have to do at any point, contact the uni directly, and they’ll make sure you have all the right information and the key dates you’ll need.
Always ensure that you submit applications fully completed and on time, to be considered for the start of the next course. Otherwise you might have to wait until the next round begins.
You’ll get all the help you need
Just because you’ll be studying remotely, it doesn’t mean you won’t be getting any help; far from it.
Universities value their online students as much as any other. You’ll have assigned lecturers and study groups, online forums and chat pages, email contact and video face-to-face time.
There will be facilities in place so you can upload your assignments, ask for help, order library books, check your results or access other resources.
Before you sign up
A few things you could check before you commit are:
- Is the course accredited?
- Are there any prerequisites?
- How long has the provider been running online courses?
- Find out how materials are delivered
- What devices are needed (and recommended)?
- What are the duration and costs?
- Learn about exactly how flexible the course is
- How will you be able to connect with tutors and other staff, as well as other students?
- What academic help is on offer
- Who do you contact if you’re experience technical issues?
- Is there any financial help available for the course?
It could be well worth spending a little bit of time doing your own research, to see if the benefits of studying university online stack up in your favour.
If you decide it’s not for you, then there are plenty of resources available on the Study Work Grow website that could help you figure out all you need to know about applying for a traditional university course on-campus too.