What Does the Average Online College Student Look Like?
Demanding work schedules and inflexible routines make returning to college more difficult with every passing year. It should come as no surprise that online degree programs are surging in popularity. After all, they offer a high degree of customization and a flexible schedule that doesn’t interfere with your daily responsibilities. The online classroom is the new home for hard-working individuals who don’t want to take a four-year break from their career.
The growing trend has many individuals wondering whether an online degree could be the right choice for them. After all, what does the average online college student really look like? Because these students are hidden behind their brightly-lit computer screens, it has been an elusive figure at best. Now, the statistics are starting to show us exactly who are enrolled in these online programs.
If you’ve ever wondered what the average online college student looks like these days, here are a few key indicators that many of them have in common.
Most online college students are women.
The gender gap is extremely visible when considering the enrollment rates for online college courses. In fact, the disparity between men and women who are currently enrolled in these courses is significant. Some online learning institutions would estimate that approximately seventy percent of the students enrolled are women, many of whom are in their early to mid-thirties.
Online learners are abundantly employed.
One of the driving forces behind online college courses is the flexibility of the course schedules. The majority of those who are enrolled in online universities are employed elsewhere while they learn. Full-time employees comprise sixty percent of online learners, while part-time employees make up twenty percent of this demographic. Only seven percent of people are both unemployed and uninterested in finding current employment.
Students primarily pursue health or business degrees.
While there are countless online degree programs available, the majority of students are currently seeking a health or business degree online. These two programs are the most popular programs by a landslide, with each claiming roughly thirty percent of enrolled students. All other majors have much lower enrollments, including liberal arts and sciences (8%), criminal justice (4%), and psychology (3%).
Most of the students who are enrolled in these classes are no longer first-time students. In fact, first-time students are overwhelmingly outnumbered by their more experienced “classmates.” Just five percent of the new entrants were considered first-time students on a recent year’s survey. This indicates that there has been a marked increase in the number of people who are now realizing the true value and importance of higher education in the workplace.
Higher education is becoming far more accessible to the general public, primarily because of the flexible scheduling it offers. These new students are able to do it all for the first time ever – balancing careers, families, and education at the same time. As their confidence in managing these crucial tasks grows, so does their capacity to excel in all areas.
The online college student isn’t as much of a mystery as we have often been led to believe. Instead, they tend to resemble an average person who is content to work hard and find that unique balance between their current responsibilities and their desire for self-improvement. Compare yourself to this profile to determine if you could possibly fit the stereotype to return to your education this upcoming academic year.