By: Jonathan Goad, Ozarks News Journal

SPRINGFIELD, MO. – The decision of attending a traditional four year university versus an online university has never been more difficult than now. Both routes have their own advantages and disadvantages.

“One of the benefits of an online university is that you’re more flexible in when you take your classes so students that are planning on working have more flexibility in their schedule to work on their classes at night or on the weekend,” said Shawn Wallace, a Kickapoo high school counselor.

On the other hand, some feel that “brick and mortar universities” offer a true college experience along with face to face interactions between students and professors.

“One of the big benefits of being on an on campus university is being able to talk with professors easier, work on projects with classmates, and really just get that interaction with other students and the professor as well,” said Wallace.

Online universities also tend to be cheaper than tradition on campus universities.

“I think cost is a big factor that students want to consider,” said Wallace. “They want to see what kind of financial aid is available at any university they’re considering and as well as look at scholarships, grants, any way that’s going to help them be able to afford college.”

According to the CollegeBoard.org, the average cost of a tradition on campus university is nearly 20 thousand dollars per year. Online universities start around five thousand dollars per year.

Mary Ann Rojas, who is the Director of Workforce Development at the Missouri Career Center, said that each individual needs to look at their own situation to figure out what is best for them.

“I think what’s important is that individuals especially students do some research into what types of jobs are available and what kind of career track are you going to get on as soon as you graduate from college,” said Rojas.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding between a traditional on campus university or an online university. It is a case by case situation.

“I think the biggest thing students want to consider is looking at the jobs they’re interested in, the career they’re interested to make sure the college they’re going to is going to get them prepared for that career and that it’s going to be a good fit,” said Wallace.

Rojas also says that many jobs require a bachelor’s degree but having a vocational certificate or other kind of certification can have very good earning potential.

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