Disadvantages of Online Education

No site should be completely biased in one direction.  It is absolutely vital to see and understand topics from every possible angle, in order to make the most educated decision.  Therefore, here are the top disadvantages of online education.

  1. Lack of face-to-face interaction.  Vital for growth in the type of communication most commonly experienced in the workplace, the face-to-face interaction that is a daily–if not hourly–occurrence at a traditional post-secondary facility is seldom encountered in online learning environments.  Most communication is done through the barrier of your computer screen and as many as thousands of miles.  It is difficult to work on traditional communication without experiencing it on a regular basis.  This also has a negative effect on professional networking; less of a connection is made when that connection exists only over the internet.  Those people you get to know in your classes, who could possibly be future employers, coworkers, or references, are slightly distanced by never (or rarely) meeting them in person.
  2. Flexible scheduling.  While this exists on the page of top benefits, it also belongs here, because we are after all, human.  The freedom to work by your own schedule is not a power many people can handle responsibly.  As mentioned in the benefit titled “Self-discipline”, pushing yourself to get your work done on time can do great things for your personal focus and control.  However, it requires a certain level of self-discipline to get started down that path of growth.  If you are the type of person who simply does what they want, whenever they want, online college may not be the best fit for you.  Chances are, the end of the semester will come around and when you realize you have done none of your homework, a minor panic attack may ensue. [1]
  3. Never leave your comfort zone.  While some may see this as a good thing, it is very important to stretch yourself in order to grow.  The “No Fear” benefit from the Additional Benefits page has a few negative side-effects.  Never stretching yourself by publicly speaking and asking questions leaves you not in the same place, but further back into your shell that seems so safe and cozy.  Now, if you are an extravert who never struggles with this, you can skip to number 4, but more than likely there is at least some fear of public speaking inside of you.  The tough part is overcoming that fear through exposure, much of which does not naturally occur in an online university. [1]
  4. Miss out on the “real college experience”.  A simple, but important disadvantage, if you don’t spend your undergrad years in a dormitory with your collegiate peers, you miss out on what could possibly be some of the best years of your life.  Much of the time, people leave after high school and never see most of their friends again.  However, after college is a different story.  The friends you spend four of your prime years with away from home often become some of your best friends.

While some of these disadvantages of online education aren’t much in the way of measurable statistics, they aren’t something to be glossed over.  Consider every angle in your search for the ideal undergraduate education, as it will set you in a direction for the rest of your life, regardless of whether or not you end up in a field relevant to your degree.


[1]Montgomery College

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