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It's a great time to be considering going to college. With so many choices in what to study and how to learn, savvy students can find the environment that’s right for them. For some students going to school at a physical campus makes sense, but what can students do if traditional college might not be the right fit? Fortunately, the options for online college continue to grow. But, what kind of person will do well in online courses? The short answer is anyone!
There was a time when the average online student was a 25- to 29-year-old married woman with at least one child. But, the face of online students is changing, proving that online college is a good fit for all kinds of people. A report called Online College Students, produced by Learning House and Aslanian Market Research regularly surveys the demographics, motivations and other characteristics of online students and provides some interesting information about who is enrolling in online college.
More and more students need to hold jobs while going back to school. A study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce says that nearly 14 million – that’s 8% of all people who work – have a job while they pursue some form of higher education or training. Among online students, 70% of undergraduates work full-time or part-time while in school, according to the Online College Students report. The pairing makes sense. After all, the flexibility of online college makes it easier to schedule schoolwork around a job instead of the other way around.
For most undergraduate online students, enrolling in an online program is not their first time in college. The Learning House and Aslanian Market Research survey found four out of five college students are looking to transfer some college credit. Among students who didn’t finish a previous program family and finances were the top reasons provided. Online college can make sense, especially when a student has to balance family responsibilities with educational goals or when finding an affordable program is essential.
Initially, most colleges and universities built online courses with working adults in mind. But, the average age of online students has been decreasing. Between the two most recent Online College Student reports the average age dropped from 31 to 29. Also, nearly half of all students (44%) now fall between the ages of 18 and 24. It seems higher numbers of younger people realize that online college provides the kind of speed to career they are seeking.
Earning a certificate as a way to gain professional skills and add qualifications to a resume is increasingly popular. Nearly one out of five students surveyed by Learning House and Aslanian Market Research said they were pursuing a certificate. Given that three-quarters of all online students are motivated to go back to school by career-related goals, it's logical that some of them would consider earning an online certificate.
So, who can enroll in online college? In the end, digital courses are right for all types of people. What matters most is that person's life, commitment and determination to reach their educational goals!