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What’s So Great About Online Students?

What’s So Great About Online Students?

Can you imagine online students in the 1990s? Back when you had to wait to connect to the Internet … with that irritating, chirping, shrieking dial-up sound and your mom in the background yelling, “Get off the line!” When you finally got online, she then would yell, “Don’t tell anyone in those chat rooms your real name!”

It’s a little different now.

Not only is logging on practically instantaneous (and quieter), the way we work and communicate online allows us to get information much quicker and, perhaps more importantly, engage on our time — allowing for a healthy work, school, life balance.

I think that’s why online learning is such an up-and-coming starlet in the higher education world. Online classes used to be here or there, sprinkled throughout a schedule with the majority of classes based as lectures (with required attendance … the horror!).

Now, however, colleges all over are realizing the beauty of online education. Entire degrees can be obtained online, without ever leaving your couch. All degrees, from certificates to Ph.D.s can be found online through different channels and price ranges.

According to a study conducted by CollegeAtlas.org, 80 percent of online students live within 100 miles of a campus or a satellite campus of the institution they attend. Eighty percent! But why choose online classes?

Well for starters, life is crazy!

Per the same study, 60 percent of online students are employed full time. Coming from a retail management-based background, one of the most difficult challenges during my senior year at Kent State University was juggling senior projects, classes, and still maintaining my 40-hour workweek. I owe all of my super coordinated calendar habits to that semester, hands down.

Sixty-eight percent of online-education students credit the ease to balance work, family and other obligations as the reason they chose online based learning. That means after working, spending time with family, and just carving out a little something for yourself, you’re free to spend your Sunday poring over some classwork instead of pouring a mimosa.

Also, 37 percent of online students say they enjoy the accelerated coursework, and 64 percent love the “anywhere, anytime” mentality. No more missing out on a spur-of-the-moment vacation because your butt needs to be in a chair at 9 a.m. on Monday.

How is your institution attracting online students? Do you find yourself competing with online-based schools?

Over the last year, the use of Capture Higher Ed’s cutting-edge marketing automation — Capture Behavioral Engagement, or CBE — has reached beyond undergraduate enrollment. Now, universities and colleges are using CBE to boost recruitment of online students.

The technology allows them to progressively identify stealth prospects, identify individual points of affinity and serve prospective online students custom, program-specific, one-on-one communication. The tech also alerts university officials to follow up at the most influential time in an online student’s decision journey.

CBE might be the edge your institution needs in attracting students who are searching for an online experience.

Guest blogger Monica Scott is a marketing coordinator in Louisville, Ky.