5 Key Benefits of Attending Graduate School Online

 In addition to the obvious benefit of flexibility, the growth of online learning has been spurred by evidence showing it can be just as effective as face-to-face education. If you’re looking to advance your career and move into a leadership role in your profession, obtaining a graduate degree online carries a multitude of benefits.

Here are five distinct advantages to attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette online.

1. Online programs can be more affordable.

Many schools offer discounted tuition for high-quality, career-focused degree programs offered online. At UL Lafayette, out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate as in-state students. Even if your tuition is not less expensive than an on-campus degree, you save not having to commute or relocate.

You can continue to work at your job, you don’t incur additional child care expenses, and although you’ll cover the same amount of material in an online graduate program as you would in a campus-based program, many schools offer accelerated formats that let you obtain your degree in less time.

When assessing the cost-effectiveness of an online graduate degree program, keep in mind that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, having a master’s degree delivers, on average, a $12,000 per year salary increase. Think of it as a solid investment in your lifelong earning potential.

2. Enhanced discussions and enriched interactions

In an article for U.S. News & World Report, contributor Lila Romero, an online graduate student studying communications at Purdue University, said she found the online discussion forum experience to be a superior way to not only learn the course content, but also to gain an in-depth understanding of classmates’ views.

“In an in-person class, it's sometimes hard to hear thoughts from introverted classmates who typically shy away from speaking up … As a student, it has been very fulfilling to know that others are actually taking the time to reflect on my points and offer support in the development of my ideas.”

Because your cohort will include students from different regions of the country and perhaps even international students, you cultivate diverse relationships and broaden your networking circles.

3. Improve virtual communication and technical skills.

Effective online communication requires that you organize your thoughts well, express your ideas clearly and succinctly, and are ever-mindful of the tone you project. The constant written communication you engage in with your peers and professors advances and sharpens your professional communication skills.

Additionally, an online program gives you the chance to become proficient in new technologies, such as video conferencing tools, shared documents, and audio/video products. All of these skills are increasingly important in today’s globalized, virtual workplace.

4. Access to the best programs from a distance.

The superior accessibility of an online graduate degree program lets you attend the school of your choice no matter where you reside. Want to earn your Doctor of Nursing (DNP) advanced practitioner degree from one of the country’s leading institutions based in Louisiana when you’re living in Alaska? No problem. You’ll learn from dedicated and skilled ULearn-certified faculty members who provide meaningful, consistent engagement to help you master your coursework.

5. You can take a master’s program for a test ride with an online Graduate Certificate.

Not quite sure if you’re ready to make a commitment to a master’s program, but want to get your feet wet with advanced studies? An online Graduate Certificate helps you build the knowledge and develop the skills you need for career advancement in a short amount of time. Some programs include coursework that can be applied toward a master's degree if you do decide to go on.

Follow UL Lafayette Online on Facebook for program updates and information.

About this Author
Hope has worked with online students for more than five years, telling their stories and sharing tips for succeeding as an online student.

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