Read Time: 5 minutesCOVID-19 has raised many questions – especially for students. As learning institutions across the world shift to online education platforms, you may be wondering “Why aren’t all classes online?” Almost three million students attend their higher education classes online, and at least six million take one or more of their degree-required classes online at some point in their academic careers. They do so for various reasons – cost effectiveness and flexibility among the top proponents of what’s really drawing millions of students to pursue online degrees.And now, as students around the globe are gearing up to get a taste of online education due to the pandemic, we at Write Track Admissions have put together a list of the benefits and drawbacks of online education. PRO: Cost SavingsOnline schools tend to be cheaper, primarily due to the elimination of the cost of living on campus at a brick and mortar university. Though some online schools have higher per-unit costs, these are typically offset by the decrease in living costs. CON: Lack of interaction One of the most profound and understated benefits of attending face-to-face classes is the social development that goes alongside it. Learning with others helps you acquire key social skills (patience, compassion, adaptability, teamwork), develop or test out your emotional intelligence, and build a strong network that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. PRO: Flexibility & ApplicabilityTaking an online class gives you control and flexibility – something that you likely won’t find much of at a traditional university. Students are able to plan your schooling around the rest of your day, giving you greater freedom to pursue your passions. Moreover you can listen, re-listen, engage with and learn both from a visual and an auditory perspective. Online learning has also been known to better meet the needs of students with learning challenges including ADHD/ADD. First and foremost it removes the in-person classroom stigma and instead provides an environment that is more comfortable, thus promoting a more positive learning experience. It also eases coping with distractions or problematic social situations as students who are struggling can take a break and learn at their own pace with more sustained and repetitious exposure to the material. CON: Lack of Learning EnvironmentThe exceptions to the joys of flexibility are traditional schools that have simply moved their classes online. You still have to attend class during its designated time, albeit via video conference, which undoubtedly opens the door to a lack of focused learning environment. Some students need the structure and accountability of in-person classes to help them learn and thrive. PRO: Improved Technical SkillsTeachers and students alike are forced to become best friends with their computers/electronic devices in order to properly attend online classes. Programs like Blackboard and Canvas are the Learning Management Systems (LMS) of choice and they have many great technical features to help you absorb, interact, and learn in ways you never thought possible before. These technical skills will serve you as you enter a workforce that is becoming increasingly reliant on technology. The more computer programs you are familiar with, the better!CON: Technical Difficulties & AccessibilityOnline learning will likely pose a host of technical difficulty as generational differences and incompatibility between Mac and PC operating systems collide, as well as the sheer number of low income students who simply do not have access to proper computers and reliable internet. Indeed, internet accessibility has posed a major concern for students who relied on brick and mortar institutions for that necessity.If you are struggling with imposed shifts to online class due to COVID-19, or need help deciding whether or not to pursue your degree online, contact Write Track Admissions!Aly Hartman, Communications Director – Write Track Admissions
Online vs. In-Person: Should you do an Online MBA (COVID), or just defer all together?
Reading Time: 5 minutesThere are two clear paths (below) that have emerged in light of COVID-19 for those planning to pursue their MBA for Fall 2020. Whatever path you choose, remember there are definitely advantages to entering an MBA program in 2020. Historically, recessions have seen an increase in higher education enrollment. This is largely due to students wanting to be prepared to re-enter the workforce as the economy opens back up again following a financial crisis such as the COVID-19 one (you can find out more about how to get ahead of the job market with an MBA from our recent blog post).
Pursue the traditional, brick and mortar degree as scheduled, and run the risk of it being partially online due to the pandemic extending into the next school year;
The obvious factors here are cost and quality. Many students choose to study in a classroom rather than online to reap the benefits of engaging with diverse and accomplished colleagues, joining student clubs, building networks, and experiencing the campus environment of their chosen university. Applying to a brick and mortar program right now leaves you at risk of missing out on these benefits for at least part of the degree, as virus concerns are still running rampant and many programs have yet to decide whether or not they will extend their online curriculum into the next school year. However, it is important to note that many top universities like Harvard and NYU are currently facing petitions from their students asking for decreased tuition rates – and have yet to come to a decision on whether or not they will be offering their online classes for a decreased rate. Be sure you are keeping up to date with news surrounding this decision for your institutions of interest, as it could end up working in your favor financially.
Defer for a year until the future of your program is more set in stone
Deferring for a year will give you some much-needed clarity and certainty. Since virtually all campuses are closed indefinitely, there is no way to truly know where you will be at the start of the next school year. Taking a gap year before tackling your MBA might be best if you need the time to solidify aspects of your personal life – money, family, health, career, etc. It can also give you more time to perfect your application. For those applying for Fall 2021, there is less worry that the pandemic will be disruptive to their academic careers. However, you never know what may happen and it may be worth looking into online MBA degrees. Pursuing your MBA online entirely is better for students’ pockets, as online degrees tend to be far less expensive. Furthermore, an online MBA offers more flexibility, which is desirable for some during these uncertain times. At the end of the day, whichever path you take is up to you – do some soul searching and discover which option best meets your personal goals and needs. If you need some guidance on this matter, contact email@example.com for help. Aly HartmanCommunications Director – Write Track Admissions
MBA and COVID-19: Everything you need to know about how the pandemic will affect you
READ TIME: 5 minutesWith top MBA programs at Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, and Columbia (amongst others) moving their classes online indefinitely, it is no wonder applicants are questioning whether or not they should be shelling out for an MBA from a prestigious program when they could get what is to be considered the same education from a B-level school at a lower cost. First things first, the reality is online classes do not have much bearing on the prestige of the program as all programs are in the same boat at the moment. That being said, do not let the national pandemic deter you from applying to top MBA programs. In 2009, during the last economic crisis, GMAC reported that there was a surge in GMAT exams with the attendant increase in MBA applications: Indeed, if conventional wisdom holds, applications increase in economic downturns when it becomes harder to find a job, maintain employment, or receive a promotion, leading professionals to apply to business school. The idea is MBA applicant would sit out the recession and then hit the ground running on the next economic upswing as freshly minted MBA graduates who have sufficiently upskilled, networked, and pivoted into a new role/industry/market. To this point, GMAC conducted critical research and found that despite the recession, there will likely be an uptake in applications to MBA programs, and as such, programs will become more diverse, with one-year programs taking the cake and seeing a rise in popularity. Further, it is critical now more than ever to future-proof your career by gaining the skills necessary to ensure your job position is essential. With the new hard and soft skills gained, the economic downturn will likely see businesses relying more heavily on MBA students to fill their ranks in an attempt to re-energize their companies and help with their digital transformations to withstand future economic swings that may impact how business is traditionally conducted. For those applying, it would seem like the biggest impact of COVID-19 would be on testing. However, with the recent move to an online format for the GMAT, the closure of testing sites will be of little consequence for those already planning to take their GMAT online. Beginning in April, students will be able to take the GMAT online from home. For those anticipating taking the GMAT at a testing site, you will have to closely monitor the status of your local testing center in order to determine whether or not you can take the test in-person. Though note: many top MBA programs are going TEST OPTIONAL, so make sure to look into to avoid even having to take the GRE/GMAT!More importantly for those applying will be the changes in MBA admissions deadlines. The onslaught of COVID-19 has rendered the traditional MBA admissions rounds relatively obsolete as schools around the U.S. continue to push back their deadlines and add additional admissions rounds. This has created an MBA admissions cycle entirely unique to COVID-19. Now more than ever it is important to ensure your MBA application is as robust as it can be if you are intending to apply during one of the upcoming admissions cycles. Check out our blog piece on how to craft an MBA application that stands out from the crowd. If you are still overwhelmed with all the changes and complications COVID-19 is bringing to the MBA world, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help. Aly Hartman, Communications Director – Write Track Admissions