Alternative School

Connor Mitchell (right) works on a computer at a cafe in San Francisco on April 13, 2017. With college costs rising steadily and with more courses available online for free, some observers are beginning to question the need for a traditional college education that may include lectures on Greek philosophy but burden students with massive debt.

Is online or traditional school the one for you? As seniors are approaching the end of their high school career, many of them are wondering what they should do with their future. There isn’t a wrong answer for what to do after high school, but you should look at all opportunities that are available to you.

Online school has many advantages that make it seem better than traditional college. Online school allows you to chose your schedule and you may be able to go at your own pace. You won’t have to travel, because it will all be right there on your computer. You also won’t have to sit in a lecture hall with 50-plus people. It may be convenient for your work schedule and if you have children, you will be able to be with them and do your classes when they are sleeping.

However, there are a few disadvantages to online college. You have to be self-motivated and set a schedule for yourself and stick to it so that you don’t get behind. You also have to make sure that you have access to the technology that is required. Online school doesn’t offer all majors, so you may only be able to get an associate degree. You won’t have a lot of communication with classmates and professors, so you will mostly have to teach yourself.

Traditional college is a good route for some people, too. A good thing about this type of schooling is that there is a structured schedule. Some people need this because they won’t get anything done without set times. You will have face-to-face interaction with your classmates and professors, so you can get the help you need. The feedback is usually faster. You will have reminders for assignments and tests, it won’t be thrown at you at last minute. One major advantage is you have access to libraries, fitness centers, computer labs, health centers and other help centers.

Traditional school does have a few disadvantages too. The schedule is not very flexible, so you have to do everything before or after class. It may be difficult to travel if you live off campus or if you don’t have a car. You would also have the problem of finding parking and worrying about traffic. Traditional college has added fees like books and personal expenses.

One main thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter what you choose, you will know what is right and works for you. There is no right answer; everyone functions and learns differently. No matter what you choose, you are working for your future and that’s all that matters.