Five Myths Regarding Online Graduate Degree Programs
As easy as it is to research all the benefits of online master’s programs, it can be hard to avoid negative commentary from those who aren’t yet on board with this increasingly popular way of learning. But the truth is: many of those comments are now just simply myths. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to pursue your master’s online, take a look at a few of the most common concerns we hear from prospective graduate students and the truth behind each.
Myth #1: Online degree programs are not accredited.
While it’s true that some online graduate programs may not meet certain academic standards to qualify for accreditation, many of them do—and that’s actually a great way to determine if the schools you’re considering are worthy of your investment. Find out from admissions teams or check their websites to see if they are accredited, and by what accrediting body. You want to choose an accredited school, so that you know you’ll receive a quality education that employers will appreciate. (Adler University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1978. We’re also a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which establishes standards for postsecondary distance education courses.)
Myth #2: You will not be held accountable for your work.
If the school from which you choose to earn your online degree truly values your progress as a graduate student, you will absolutely be held accountable for assignments throughout the program. This goes hand in hand with the popular (and misleading) notion that online degrees are easy to obtain. Not only will a great faculty keep you accountable, they’ll make you work hard, as curricula for online programs are often no different from those designed for on-campus students. Rigorous academics and faculty who pay attention to your growth are two signs that you’re choosing the right place for you. After all, it’s crucial for your career to be challenged and thorough when it comes to honing your expertise in a certain topic.
Myth #3: You are on your own after graduation.
Worried that you won’t have the same kind of lifelong connection to your school than if you were to study in person? Again, at the right school, you don’t have to be. At Adler, for example, members of our Alumni Association benefit from mentoring and networking opportunities with each other and the Adler community long after they graduate. Our faculty, too, is comprised of compassionate instructors who want to see their students excel; they are happy to be a resource for students throughout the program and their ensuing careers. If you’re not sure about a school’s willingness to be there for you once you graduate, ask about it: find out if their alumni stay in touch and help each other out whenever they can. (And while you’re at it, inquire about their support services for current students. Adler online students are supported by the same administrative and academic staff who serve our on-campus students, as well as a Student Success team devoted specifically to distance learners.)
Myth #4: You have to log on at the same time as your peers.
Not true at all; if a school’s programs follow an asynchronous model, that means you can complete course requirements at any time within a specific date range. For working professionals who need to balance their degree program with personal and professional obligations, this is key. You want to be able to work at your own pace, around your own schedule. That’s why Adler’s six online programs are asynchronous, making it easier for our students to manage the coursework without making sacrifices at home.
Myth #5: You will not interact with your class.
In your cohort, your instructor and peers may be minutes or hundreds of miles away from you. Either way, you can still have an interactive experience that keeps you engaged, intrigued, and well, having fun—just make sure that’s the kind of experience the school you choose promotes. At Adler, we use a variety of web-based tools and features to make interaction easier, including video conferencing, discussion boards, interactive games, simulations and role-playing, and online chats. It’s almost impossible to not collaborate with and learn from other students in our online degree programs.
Have a concern about online learning that isn’t mentioned here? We encourage you to reach out to us anytime, so we can explain exactly how our online degrees produce successful graduates who go on to lead exciting careers. Let’s talk, whenever you’re ready.