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My Life As…An Online College Student

Just a typical Tuesday in class.

While every college girl shares many of the same college experiences (selling books, sexiled, one shot too many), she also carves her own path and has her own unique adventure. Have you ever wondered what it’s like for other girls? What it’s like to be an engineer? To get married?! To play an NCAA sport? Well wonder no more. Our one-of-a-kind CollegeCandy writers (and readers!) are sharing their unique experiences and opening our eyes to different college worlds.

It’s late on a Friday and I’m enjoying a night out with my friends at the local Steak ‘n Shake. I’m just about to dig in to a nice, juicy burger when a sudden realization hits me. I have a paper due in exactly one hour, and if I miss the deadline I will fail my web design class. I rush home and spend the next hour furiously banging out the rest of my paper about famous designers. With ten minutes to go, I hit the submit button. Crisis averted—for now.

This is a typical day in my life as an online college student.

I started as an online student with just one class. With a history of barely passing my on-campus classes, I needed a change. I knew it would still take a lot of work, but taking a class in my pajamas sounded like too good an idea to pass up. The result? I squeaked by with an “A” and scored higher online than in any of my real classes. The next semester I took two more. After that, I was hooked. Last semester I started my life as a full-time online college student working toward a degree in web design.

Don’t let me mislead you into thinking online classes are easy. Sometimes they’re down right infuriating. You can only talk to your classmates and professors by email, and working on a group project is like trying to herd cats. You’ll put in just as much time and hard work into your assignments as you would in any other class, and you’ll still find yourself chugging energy drinks in the library and cramming for finals.

Online classes do come with some drawbacks. If you take them through a real, accredited college or university (and the University of Phoenix does not count) you have to follow some strict guidelines. You need to be a least a little computer savvy to save your work in different formats and ensure it gets submitted to the right place.

More importantly, though, most professors take the stance that if you miss a single assignment or project during the semester, you fail. Since you don’t have to physically go to class, they see no reason why your project should be late. During my last semester I had surgery. I spent an entire week cramming to get in two weeks worth of assignments so I could take a week off to recover.

On the plus side, I can work from anywhere. If I need to go out of town, I can pack up my laptop and go. I also have the freedom to attend virtual classes at any time. I boot up the computer late at night and sign in to start reading the assignment for that week. Then I head out to the library to get some work done.

It’s not your typical college experience, but it works for me. And I love it.

If you ever consider online classes, be it one or an entire degree, take them from a college you know and trust. Pick one with a physical campus that offers regular degrees. The University of Phoenix, DeVry University, and ITT Tech are all scams. Let me repeat that. Scams. Your classes will be a push over, your credits won’t transfer to any other college, and your degree will be worthless. They’re known as degree mills because you’re essentially paying them to award you a worthless degree. So if you decide online is for you, talk to your current college and see what they offer. Whether on-campus or online, you still have to work your butt off to get a college education.

[Story submitted by reader, Jessica R. Thanks, Jess! You got your own story? Tell us all about it and you could be featured on CollegeCandy.com!]

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