Studying online has been the way forward for pupils and students in 2020 and it looks like it will remain so for some time to come.
South African universities' Central Applications Office (CAO) has opened so you can apply for 2021 enrolment. But, with the pandemic not yet over, you may not be heading to campus next year.
Studying online instead of on campus may just be the answer for those matriculating in 2020.
As much as universities are starting to open up right now, with the country rumoured to be close to Level One, lockdown has changed perceptions of safety and accessibility.
The use of digital alternatives in 2020 has already acted as a test-run to see how much we can do online. With this in mind, here are six things to think about when contemplating studying online.
1. Save on accommodation
Students who had needed to live in residences because of their university choice are able to save on res fees.
Even if you do not intend on living in a residence, you are still able to save on transport costs to and from campus. Studying online from your bedroom, lounge or home office has a strong saving factor to it.
2. Cut down on distractions
When they say college is the best time of your life, they are usually speaking about everything besides the academic aspects!
And these are all distractions: Partying, going out, skipping lectures, and even sporting activities take time away from your studies. Digital learning takes these distractions away so you can focus on your academic career.
3. Have a flexible schedule
One of the most anxiety-provoking aspects to tertiary education is the pressure of the work load and a full day of lectures.
Studying online still has structure and deadlines but there is a certain level of flexibility which will allow you to balance your academic life more easily.
4. Enjoy more career choices
Depending on which university you can afford to travel to or attend, there are likely to be different courses offered. Some universities will have restricted courses per faculty.
However, if you are studying online there are so many more universities to choose from. This may give you the chance to pick a much more specific course to suit your career path.
Once you get used to studying from home, with a schedule and a daily routine, productivity from home can be a breeze.
5. Learn in home comfort
However, studying from home does not necessarily tie you down to your home, you can study from a local library, coffee shop or even outdoors. You are not restricted to set lecture rooms.
6. Improve your digital skills
Studying online equips you with the technical and digital skills you can use for your career ahead.
You will learn to use applications such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and others. Your extended usage of these and other digital platforms should make you more tech-savvy.