Earning a Paralegal Degree Online vs Campus

The pros and cons of earning a paralegal certificate or degree online vs. on a campus has always been and continues to be an interesting topic of conversation. Some think that the online option is the most advantageous, while others think that taking courses in a physical classroom is the best way to learn. There is a definite debate on the subject, and both sides have valid points. Therefore, it is difficult to say with certainty which mode of learning is the “best.”

Quality

Pros and Cons:
Most schools that have been offering both online and on-campus programs for many years have been successful at adjusting both programs so that they are equal in quality. In fact, many times a school’s on-campus teachers, instructors and professors are the same ones who instruct online courses. Students who enroll in a paralegal degree program offered locally can usually try out both the online and on-campus options and then decide which one they like better. However, those who enroll in a program from a distance are only able to take courses online, and cannot choose to switch to taking courses on a campus.

Schools that offer both online and on-campus options:
Brookline College
Anthem College

Flexibility

Pros and Cons:
Online paralegal degree programs are generally more flexible than traditional on-campus programs. Most online courses can be taken on an accommodating schedule, which is not always the case with on-campus programs. Along with flexibility comes a need to be determined and dedicated to completing coursework and studying for exams. Flexibility is not always a positive feature for an educational program, especially for individuals who need a rigid structure in order to get their work done on time.

The Social Aspect

Pros and Cons:
One of the most important aspects of being a student, aside from obtaining an education, is being able to socialize and work together with fellow students. While online education has come a long way in the past decade in terms of providing venues and networks for students to collaborate, nothing can replace face-to-face interactions with classmates and teachers. Also, campuses usually offer various convenient locations for in-person socializing, such as student centers and on-campus coffee shops.

Cost

Pros and Cons:
The cost of earning a paralegal certificate or degree online vs. on a campus can vary by program and school. Sometimes, the cost difference for online versus on-campus programs at the same exact school is negligible, but other times the cost for the same program taken via one method versus the other is significant. Also, some financial aid programs and/or scholarships require that students enroll in a specific type of program – so be sure to check the details before applying and enrolling.

Reputation

Pros and Cons:
Traditionally, on-campus educational programs have had better reputations than online programs. However, this may be due to the fact that online programs are relatively new, and many people do not realize that the requirements for completing online programs is just as stringent as they are for programs offered on a campus. As technology continues to progress and the need for flexible schedules increases, the reputation of online programs will undoubtedly continue to rise.

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