What best suits your kids?

Sarah Lifestyle

All parents want the best for their kids. It sounds so easy – finish high school, go to college, get a degree, embark on a rewarding career and live happily ever after. What could be simpler? Of course, as the old proverb goes, “there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip,” and the theory might sound wonderful, but making it a reality can be another matter.

There is such a dizzying array of choices in the modern era that it can be difficult to know how to advise your children for the best. This is particularly the case when it comes to the topic of college education. Just 20 years ago, it was a fairly regimented procedure. Decide on a course of study, evaluate the different university options, check out the eligibility requirements and the answer would be presented on a plate.

Technology and education 

These days, there is a wider range of options. Technology has revolutionized practically every facet of people’s lives, from the way that they watch a movie to how they chat with friends. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that it has also had a major impact on education.

All aspects of technology can seem daunting until you become comfortable with it, and then you see the full benefits. How many moms have said that they wouldn’t know where to start on Facebook and are now never away from it?

Let’s begin with a simple example. If your son or daughter has plans to pursue a career in accountancy, then he or she might look to go to any number of universities and study economics, mathematics or a business discipline and then specialize in the elective phase. Today, kids can simply register online at a college such as the University of Alabama and take a bespoke accountancy degree program from the comfort of home. You can learn more about UAB’s online accounting degree program and the nature of online learning in general to see how it can benefit you and, most importantly, your child.

Why choose an online course?

There are a number ofadvantages that studying online has over physically going to a university. Starting with the most pragmatic, it is cheaper. There are far lower overheads involved in running an online course when there are no physical lectures or other campus-based activities, so those savings are passed on to the student or to Mom and Dad.

Online courses offer more flexibility. As seen with the UAB example, this is a bespoke course specifically aimed at someone who wants to become an accountant. The fact that the university is located in Alabama becomes irrelevant – it could just as easily be on the next street from your home.

Flexibility also means that studies can be fitted around other commitments. Many students have part-time jobs to keepa little money coming in and help them remain independent. If they are home-based, then they can fit working shifts and study periods together seamlessly.

Social interaction and support

You might be thinking that this sounds fine, but sitting at a desk at home looking at a computer is not really the same as the adventure and experience of heading off to collegefor four years.

In some ways, you are right, and this is a factor to bear in mind. Being completely apart from Mom and Dad is a rite of passage and an important part of going to a university. Having said that, it is not such a big part as you might think.

The key is in the way that modern teenagers tend to interact. How do yours chat with their friends? Chances are, they spend more time on Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter than they do hanging around the skateboard ramp, local shops or whatever is the teenage hangout of choice in your town.

When they start an online degree, it is important to realize that they are not alone. Once they have registered, they will be able to chat and interact with fellow students, academics and faculty just as they would in real life. To the older generation, this sounds like a poor imitation of face-to-face interaction, but for many teens, it is the norm.

Any downsides?

The biggest challenge of studying online is to maintain self-discipline. As students are not physically attending lectures, it is less likely to be noticed if they are absent. This is where parents can step in and help their kids knuckle down to a routine that works for them.

A degree course is serious business,however it is undertaken. However, an online course offers unparalleled opportunity and flexibility that is ideal for the 21st-century world.