The Pros and Cons of Getting An Online Degree As An Adult

Published on: October 29, 2023

Not everyone had the privilege to continue their education after completing school, but thanks to online learning it is possible to do so even as an adult. While it is always worth investing in your future through education it can be a daunting decision as an adult. Online learning has not only streamlined the process of earning a degree as an adult but also removed a lot of barriers that have traditionally made it harder to do so. If you are an adult faced with the choice of studying online here are some of the pros and cons that are worth considering.

Pros of Getting An Online Degree As An Adult

You Are More Invested In Your Education

Many students only attend college because of family expectations, which means that they are often not very motivated when it comes to studying. In addition, because they are young and inexperienced they might not take their studies very seriously, especially if their parents are paying. Adult learners tend to be more mature and know what is at stake as they have to pay for their studies themselves and often have to make other sacrifices like cutting back on hobbies. This means that they are more invested in their education and more motivated to succeed. Unlike younger students who might be unsure about their career paths adults are more likely to choose a degree that will be genuinely useful to them.

You Are Less Likely To Be Distracted

Younger students attending college or university for the first time are often faced with a lot of distractions which can take away their focus from studying. Those who enroll in traditional colleges can be tempted by frequent parties or have to deal with annoying roommates. Those who study online have to deal with social media and all the other distractions that can quickly eat up their time. Adult learners tend to have their priorities straight and are not as easily distracted by things that can get in the way of their studies. There is also less pressure to “fit in” with other students or hang out with friends instead of studying.

You Are Less Likely To Procrastinate

Procrastination is common among students and can end up causing a lot of wasted time. As an adult, you know how valuable time is and typically have a lot more experience with efficient time management. It is easy to prioritize other things over studies when you are younger, but adults tend to be a lot busier which means they cannot afford to leave their studies for the last minute. Since adults already have to juggle so many things with their busy schedules they are unlikely to waste precious time procrastinating.

You Have More Life Experience

Students who attend college or university fresh out of school tend to not have a lot of work experience, which can make it hard to relate to certain topics. Adults who already have life and work experience tend to have firsthand knowledge that can’t be taught in a classroom. This makes it easier to know how to apply the new knowledge and skills being taught in a practical way. The critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills that they have honed in the workplace can also be applied to their studies.

You Are A Lot More Resilient

Enrolling in a degree program can be overwhelming for students as it is often the first time that they are faced with that kind of pressure. This can make it harder for them to deal with the ups and downs of studying. Adults are likely to have endured a lot more hardships in their work and personal lives which can make them more resilient to the pressures of earning a degree.

The Cons of Getting An Online Degree As An Adult

You Have a Lot Less Time

Between work and family obligations adults tend to have a lot less time available for other activities compared to younger students. This can make it challenging to fit everything into a busy schedule and unfortunately, some sacrifices might be required like cutting back on certain hobbies or pastimes. Fortunately, online degrees are flexible enough that it is still possible to complete them even with a busy schedule.

You May Struggle To Adapt

Adults who have not studied in many years might find it difficult to adapt to the new learning methods of online degree programs. In addition, it might take a while to become familiar again with the whole process of having to participate in group activities or study for tests, which is something younger students will be used to.

You May Feel Inadequate

While it is less common in online learning, adults can still feel inadequate when enrolling in degree programs compared to their younger counterparts. Some adults feel like younger students might judge them for waiting so long to continue their studies or they may feel uncomfortable interacting with other students.


As with everything there are pros and cons to getting an online degree as an adult, but the benefits definitely make it worthwhile. Even as an adult a degree can open a lot of new doors and help you to grow in your career. It won’t always be easy, but online learning has decreased the number of cons for adult learners. In addition, aid such as grants, scholarships, and low-interest loans are not only available to young students, which is something adult learners might not know.

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