Expectation vs. Reality: Taking Courses Online in College

Posted: May 19, 2021 | Author: Sayre Davis | Read Time: 3 minutes

Expectation vs. reality in online educationAttending college online is new to many students and knowing what to expect from online classes can be more of a mystery. Understanding what you are getting yourself into will allow you to know if pursuing an online degree is the right choice for you. Many people hold an expectation for what online school is and this hinders their ability to understand all their options for a degree.

Below we look at a few expectations of online learning and the reality that usually happens, including anxiety levels that follow online courses, adjusting the class to your liking, what visual learners can expect, instructor interaction, and how lonely online degrees can be.

Expectation: Taking Online Classes will Cause Anxiety
Reality: Online Classes Help Reduce Anxiety

The common misconception is that taking degrees online will have a negative impact on the levels of an individual's anxiety. The truth behind online college and the levels of anxiety it induces is that allowing you to be in your own space helps you feel more comfortable. Another reason your anxiety is low in online college is the ability to complete tasks at your own pace. Giving yourself a sense of control over your environment, your time, and your tasks will allow you to complete your degree in as comfortable a setting as possible. Understanding the truth behind online classes and the anxiety it induces will give you a clearer ability to choose the right degree path for you.

Expectation: Taking Online Classes Gives You less Ownership Over Your Classes
Reality: Online Classes Give You More Ownership Over Your Classes

One of the most common misconceptions is that online classes will not allow you to have ownership over your classes. And the ability to feel like you are playing a role in your education and college experience is essential. Many people see online degrees as if they don't have the ability to claim your ownership over the degree but that couldn't be farther than the truth. Online students are actively involved in their education and often have more flexibility and control. Look for ways to own your schooling will allow you to find confidence in your studies.

Expectation: Visual Learners Will Be Hindered
Reality: Visual Learners do Well Online

One of the most concerning thoughts people have about online degrees is that visual learners will be left behind. This expectation has some truth but is not the full truth. Some of the truth behind this expectation is that some of the visual aspects of a physical classroom get lost on students. Yet, many other visual aspects of learning are available through online education. One of the biggest advantages for visual learners is that online classes have the ability for subtitles as well as the ability to search topics as classes unfold. Having both of these advantages will allow you to grow and be catered to as a visual learner.

Expectation: Online Classes Will Have Very Little Instructor Interaction
Reality: Online Classes Have Very Instructor Interaction

Many worry that online courses will leave you on your own without interaction from the professor. This is the strongest stereotype against online courses. This problem can vary depending on the school, and here at Southern Utah University professors are actively involved in their online classroom. At SUU, our expert faculty has been committed to supporting students for over 120 years. You will be part of a close-knit group that cares about your success.


The stereotypes around earning a degree online and online colleges can be hindering if you don't understand what is true and what is not. Many of the people that hold these expectations could do well from learning more about individual college experiences.

Produced by SUU Online
Wherever you are in your educational journey SUU can help you reach your goals. SUU's Online programs provide the flexibility you need and the affordability you want. Accelerate your career with the online degree that's right for you.

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