Guest Blogger #368, Entry #951, February 10, 2012
Students looking to attend college these days have a very tough road ahead. Not only has the recession made it more difficult to find jobs, but it has also had a decided impact on the education system. Universities are receiving less funding, which means tuition and fees are going up while scholarships are disappearing. And with more and more students deciding to attend college to better their chances of competing in the job market, gaining admission at all can be a very difficult undertaking. But thanks to the vast scope of the internet, there are now many schools that offer online degree programs. And if you’re interested in obtaining a degree in the field of interior design, this may be one avenue for you to explore. But you should consider the pros and cons of a virtual education before you make your choice.
Image via: Blue Eyed Bride
One of the best aspects of choosing an online degree program is that you will graduate with a lot less debt. You’ll just need to make sure that the institution you choose is accredited so that your courses are transferable should you decide to attend a brick-and-mortar institution at a later date.
The biggest draw of online education for many people is the flexibility it offers. You never have to worry about planning out your schedule and potentially missing out on classes because they overlap with other courses you must take. You’ll never have to crash another class since there is plenty of room in a virtual classroom. Although some institutions do set limits on class sizes, they will often add another section for courses that are in high demand. And you can do your coursework on your schedule since you don’t have a set class time (although you will surely have deadlines to work with).
Because it costs online colleges nothing extra to allow for many courses that only a few students are interested in taking, you may find a much wider variety of classes available through online institutions. In addition, they are likely to feature the most up-to-date information as it is easy to swap out or update lessons and tests digitally.
Image via: Home Goods
Unfortunately, any kind of lab or field work is going to be more difficult in an online setting. In terms of interior design, this could include lectures from industry experts (although they can be recorded for playback, Q&A is a problem), field trips to museums, design firms, and building sites, and of course, the implementation of real-world design projects.
Learning in the comfort of your own home comes with a decided lack of interaction, both with professors and with other students. This means you probably won’t have the opportunity to work with groups (which can be a valuable learning experience in and of itself) and you may not enjoy the personal interaction and insight that come from a professor in the classroom setting (or letters of reference that come from getting to know a professor).
You don’t need a conflict resolution degree to understand why some businesses spurn applicants with online degrees. Most people believe that they aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. But that school of thought is changing as more online universities become accredited. However, the onus is on you to avoid those that are subpar. So go to the U.S. Department of Education website to find accredited online schools and get started on your interior design degree.
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