Online College Student Trends: How They Choose Their Online College [Infographic]

Did you know that online college students request information from an average of 2.7 schools and that 61% of them enroll at the first school that responds to them with their requested info? See how students choose their school in Part Three of the Online College Student Trends in the U.S. Infographic series.

title=Online College Student Trends Part 3: How They Choose Their School

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Online College Students...

Are Expanding Their College Search

  • Online college students request information from 2.7 schools, on average
  • More students are contacting or requesting info from three or more schools. In 2016 only 18% of online college students requested info from three or more schools. That amount grew to 30% in 2017.
  • The number of students who contacted only one college for info has decreased. In 2016, 30% requested info from only one college. That amount decreased to 18% in 2017.

Are Quick to Decide Where to Apply

  • 28% apply to an online college within two weeks of beginning their search
  • 32% apply to an online college within two to four weeks of starting their search

61% enrolled with the first school that responded to them with the information they requested

Choose Their Online College Based on Interests, Cost, and Quality

Students said that the single most important reason they chose their school was that it:

  • 25% it best matched their interests/needs
  • 19% it was the only school they considered
  • 15% it was the least expensive
  • 15% it offered the best value (cost, reputation, and convenience)
  • 14% it had the best reputation

Almost 90% of online college students said they would have been somewhat swayed to choose one college over another for as little as a $500 annual scholarship

Wish They Would Have Selected Their College Differently

Current and past online college students said...

  • 40% wouldn’t change anything about their online college selection process
  • 60% wish they would have done their online college selection process differently

What the 60% wishes they would've done differently:

  • 23% wish they had investigated more schools
  • 17% wish they had learned more about tuition and fees
  • 16% wish they had known more about their financial aid package

Prefer Online Learning To On-Campus Learning

  • 50% claim they definitely, probably, or may not have have enrolled in their current degree program if it were not offered online
  • 90% who have also taken on-campus classes feel their experience in an online course is “better or the same” as their on-campus experience

Upon graduating

  • 72% said their online degree was worth their time
  • 69% said it was worth the monetary investment
  • 57% would enroll in another online degree in the future

note: those who did not want to enroll in another online degree cited not needing any additional education as the main reason

Desire to Be a Part of Their Online College Community

  • 50% say interaction with teachers and classmates is important
  • 25% say more contact with instructors and classmates in online courses is needed
  • 59% travel to campus between one to five times per year to

Online students that travel to campus, go there for:

  • Meet with an instructor
  • For administrative purposes
  • To meet a study group
  • Use a library or lab
  • Attend an information or classroom session

See more Online College Student Trends Infographics