Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Should teen apply to online courses or take real classes?

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014 8:38 am

Dear Straight Talk: I’m graduating from high school this June. My stepfather and I don’t communicate and sharing a room with two siblings makes concentrating impossible. I have to get out, but my parents cannot help with college costs. My thought is to get an second job (I already have one) and live on my own while taking classes online. But friends tell me I won’t like online classes, that it is hard to learn on the computer. What do you advise? Is it worth the loans to enroll in real classes? Or should I study online? — Troy in Toledo, Ohio

Brandon, 21, Mapleton, Maine: If your degree even hints at online education (University of Phoenix, DeVry, Kaplan), be prepared to have your resume tossed out. Some universities offer online classes, and those your employer won’t know about, but will you learn anything? Probably not. I’ve only had one online course that I retained actual knowledge from because we were forced to Skype every few days. (Some use online “discussion” forums, but most students only input the minimum.) The online system is a nightmare. I once assisted my university dean in finding teachers who were uploading stolen lessons and quizzes, many with auto answer banks so they didn’t even have to grade them. Don’t be left with an empty feeling and a potentially worthless degree.

Leif, 25, Ningbo, China: I did my bachelo’’s at a [U.S.] campus, but have taken some online courses. They can be fruitful, but you have to stay motivated when it’s easier to give up. With actual classes, you have support from professors and peers — a big deal when things get tough or you dislike the material. To help decide, try a free online course from coursera.org.

Brie, 22, San Francisco: The online classes I’ve taken (through my college) were pretty easy — if you kept up. However, in-person classes are a completely different experience. You make friends and have a real teacher. I’m on my own and work full-time while taking 12 (classroom) units. It’s hard, but possible.

Lara, 22, Vienna, Austria: It’s tough working your way through college. Having face-to-face support from teachers and peers will get you through much easier than trying it online. I put myself through [U.S.] college while working two to three jobs. I took some online courses, but the ability to learn was much better in a classroom (some online courses were helpful to collect credits and graduate quicker — and being enrolled, I knew which ones would transfer). I advise community college first. Living at home can be really helpful financially. Find a study place and only come home to eat and sleep.

Katelyn, 19, Huntington Beach: Online courses will impact your ability to get a degree within 4-6 years. Cheapest route: Start at community college. Apply for financial aid (www.fafsa.ed.gov), scholarships, explore crowd-funding sites like GoFundMe, and only accept SUBSIDIZED loans. Since community colleges don’t have dorms, post ads for roommates.

Brennan, 20, Colorado Springs, Co.: You may not realize that many small private colleges offer generous financial aid for needy students. It can sometimes be cheaper to attend a $50,000 college than a state school because of their grants. Look into it! Regarding loans, the income potential from a real college degree makes them worthwhile.

Dear Troy: I agree with the panel to avoid online classes unless taken within an enrolled college program — and even then, minimize their use. Students report less learning and experiments show the same thing. Online classes cost less, because they are worth-less. Go to a real college. College grads today earn almost double what high school graduates make. The costs are worth it. — Lauren

Ask a question or go deeper in today’s conversation at www.StraightTalkAdvice.org — or write PO Box 1974 Sebastopol, CA 95473. Straight Talk Advice.org is a 501c3 nonprofit. If today’s column has been useful, please consider a donation!

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Readers Choice Awards 2014

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

What would you like to see in Lodi's parks?

Lodi's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department is hosting a public workshop at 7 p.m. at Hutchins Street Square to find out how it can better meet the needs of the community. What would you like to see in Lodi's parks?

Total Votes: 214

Loading…

Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Featured Events

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists