Misperceptions Regarding Distance Learning

The fact that I have chosen to pursue a college education through a distance learning program makes my life a bit of an anomaly to others. Even in homeschooling circles, it seems most young people choose to go away to continue their education. I was homeschooled all the way through highschool. After I graduated from highschool, I made the decision to continue with college through a distance learning program. As I’m nearing the end of my undergraduate work, I do not regret my decision to continue studying at home.

However, I do want to take the time to dispel a few common misperceptions about distance learning. Through all four years of college, I’ve had quite a few people not take my college learning seriously because it’s not a “real” college. Most people forgot that I was in college since I wasn’t away at college. The same people would ask me again and again, “So what are you doing in life?” I would always answer, “Well…I’m still in college.”

If you are considering getting your degree through a distance learning program, hopefully this post will help you have an idea of some comments and ideas you will face from those who don’t really understand what you are doing.

Common misperceptions about distance learning programs

Misperception #1 – A distance learning program will not result in a real degree. Just like other college programs, a distance learning program will also result in a real bachelor’s degree (or associate’s, or master’s). There is nothing “fake” about a degree from a distance learning college.

Misperception #2 – A distance learning program is academically easier than a “regular” college. Distance learning programs are as diverse in the academic challenge they present as regular colleges are. Some distance learning programs may be easier than some colleges but it could just as easily go the other way as well. In my experience, a distance learning program requires comparable amounts of studying and work as actually physically attending a college class.

While we’re talking about distance learning programs, I will definitely recommend Whitefield College. I have been working on my bachelor’s degree through Whitefield for the past (almost!) four years. I am a senior at Whitefield and hopefully I will be finishing up my degree in the next two months.

Misperception #3 – Distance learning education is just busy work. I recently had someone ask me whether I really learn anything from studying at home as opposed to studying in a classroom. My response? There are some definite benefits of studying in a classroom where you can interact with a teacher and your fellow students. But that doesn’t mean distance learning is just busy work. After spending one semester at a “real” college (i.e. I was in a classroom where I could interact with my teacher and fellow students), I believe distance learning as well as classroom learning are comparable in what I retained from those classes.

Distance learning is a great way to get a college education. Don’t be discouraged when other people don’t take your education seriously.

~ Melinda ~

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One Response to Misperceptions Regarding Distance Learning

  1. Mindy says:

    I completed three of my four “years” of my first Bachelors degree via distance education through the University of Iowa. While I ultimately spread it out over a whole decade, this was because I was busy raising my five children. I feel deeply blessed that I was able to have that opportunity to complete a college degree while also raising my children at home.

    I have since completed an additional 1 year+ at University of Alaska in pursuit of a second Bachelors, which will be almost entirely “in person,” but I was able to complete all prerequisites and some of my upper level courses through Alaska’s outstanding distance education program, including science lab courses. This had me culturing bacteria and growing it in a home lab, doing dissections, and all sorts of crazy projects.

    I can vouch for the fact that distance education is challenging and quite formative in many valuable ways. Being self-motivated and disciplined to complete these courses, which I have found to be heavier in regards to content compared to “in-person” classes, is far from easy. There are some downsides, but the same can be said for classroom learning. Great post!

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