Night school is an option that many students choose because it allows them to maintain a job or tend to family commitments during the day without giving up their educational goals. Almost any type of degree program, certificate, or training is available at night school, making it a convenient option for people with careers or families, or even people who prefer to keep their days open.
The Convenience Factor of Night School
Online degree programs have a lot of similar benefits to those of night school. The ability to take as many or as few classes as you like concurrently is one of the biggest attractions. Taking one or two classes at a time can lead to a degree eventually, and for people with busy lives who want to keep chipping away at their educational aspirations, night school and online school offer a happy medium between nothing and full-time college.
Additional Benefits of Online School
Online schools have a few things to offer that night school can’t match. The convenience of getting course materials and interactions with a professor via computer make customizing your schedule much easier, and having your materials in electronic form to look back on at any time can help you reinforce what you learn. Some of the other ways that online colleges are more convenient than campus based night schools are:
- Go To Class Any Time You Want: Though most online schools require at least some synchronous sessions, where students and professors all log into a chat room or video conference at once, most of the material can be viewed at any time. This is useful for students with irregular schedules. You won’t end up missing class because of an unexpected conflict, because class is whenever you decide to do the work.
- Your Classroom is Wherever You Choose: Doing coursework online means you can make yourself comfortable anywhere with an internet connection. A coffee shop or your own living room can be a great place to do your homework, or even participate in a synchronous class session.
- Streamlined Access to Course Materials and Your Own Work: Chances are, if you go to an actual classroom, you’ll bring along notebooks and pens and try to write notes about something that a professor is fast-talking about, and you’ll miss something. Notes on paper are difficult to organize and archive. With online courses, every assignment is saved, everything you submit is accessible by you later via the internet, and all of your course materials, even your textbooks, are in an easily searchable and portable electronic format. The miracle of the internet is changing higher education for the better, and these small improvements in convenience are just the beginning.
Career Training and Certificate Programs at Night School or Online
Some people considering night school or online college don’t necessarily want to get a full degree. There are career training opportunities that result in a certificate or some other credential that looks good on a resume. For students who want to try out a new discipline or get some more academic credit under their belts as a career booster, both night school and online colleges have great offerings.
Getting practical experience in a field almost always makes it easier to get hired in a related job, and both night school and online college offer the opportunity to volunteer, work an internship, or get an entry level job in your chosen industry while still pursuing your education, so that when you graduate you’ll have both the experience and the education to compete in an intense job market.
The Hybrid Model: Combining Online with In-Person Education
For almost any type of educational program, it is possible to do some of the learning in a classroom setting, and some of it online. This “hybrid model” of education is growing in popularity as the price differential between online colleges and campus ones increases, and people are more inclined to find their own educational and career paths instead of taking the well-trod four-year college route. Some of the benefits of the hybrid model are:
- It Makes Your Resume Look Great: Showing that you did well in an academic setting both online and on-campus looks good in itself, and if you also held a job, your work ethic will look great.
- Provides Both Personal Interaction and Computer Literacy: While great strides are being made in online education, there’s something people still find more useful and trustworthy about an actual professor in a classroom. Learning how to use online, interactive learning tools, while also getting the benefit of in-person education, is the best of both worlds.
- Flexible Schedule Without Sacrificing Benefits of In-Person Learning: Some people are willing to give up the “campus-experience” in favor of a totally flexible schedule offered by an online college. For those who aren’t, the hybrid model can offer a blend of convenience and traditional-style education.
Programs Available at Night and Online
Almost any kind of program that is available at a traditional college or university is available on a different schedule through night school or an online college. An especially popular choice is to take online courses to get a certificate that will result in a promotion or pay raise at work.
Some of the most common types of programs for night schools or online schools are specifically career oriented. The following are all possible pursuits at a night school or online school:
- Graphic Design, Web Design, and Photography
- Writing, Editing, and Journalism
- Healthcare and Nursing
- Law, Business, and Finance
Why Go To Night School?
Choosing night school or online classes offers schedule flexibility, but that isn’t necessarily the best for every student. The ability to fill in the cracks of your life with schoolwork might just lead to you to overwork yourself, which can lead to burnout, and ultimately, dropout.
Choosing an educational option with lots of flexibility is only worthwhile if you are good at budgeting your time. If you need the regularity of classroom attendance requirements, and the accountability of classmates and professors who will notice if you’re gone, night school or online college might not be for you, but if you’re a responsible adult who can prioritize tasks and efficiently take care of many responsibilities, getting an education “on the side” will be good for your career.
If you’re unsure about the career path you want to pursue, and are more interested in experimenting, online courses are the way to go. Taking one or two classes online at once allows you to:
- Test out different disciplines, and dip into various possible pursuits to see which ones you are most passionate about.
- Meet people with diverse interests, which is a learning experience in itself.
- Learn new skills without actually having to complete a degree in the field. By handpicking courses to take, you only get exactly the topical education you’re looking for.
How to Choose the Night School or Online Course for You
The program you choose should depend on what you want to get out of it. If you’re in for the long haul, and want to get an associate’s, bachelor’s, or even a master’s degree, then it is important to do in depth research about the programs you apply to. Some questions you should definitely ask about any program you look at are:
- Is the school accredited?
- Do the courses available lead to a certificate, a degree, or some other credential?
- Are the costs different when you take a single course versus taking a full-time course load?
- What kinds of financial aid are available?
Of the above questions, the first may be the most important. Accreditation is the means by which educational programs verify their quality and usefulness. While there are different education accrediting agencies in different parts of the U.S. ,they all have to be approved by The U.S. Secretary of Education. An unaccredited school just isn’t worth the time or money, so it is crucial to check this detail. You can check the accreditation status of any school by visiting the Office of Postsecondary Education website.
The colleges linked to below are all accredited and offer an array of courses, certificate programs, and degrees for students at any point in their education or career.