Online graduate programs are more popular than ever. In 2018, the majority of graduate students enrolled in programs that were fully online and with good reason. Online programs deliver outstanding education in a way that’s convenient for busy students. More than three-quarters of graduate students are 25 years old or older, and most have family and job responsibilities. Finding a flexible online graduate program is a top priority for these students.

Here are five reasons why students are continuing their graduate education online.

Career Boosters

According to the 2018 report, Post Traditional Graduate Students, published by Education Dynamics, more than 50 percent of surveyed students said they were interested in graduate studies for an increase in income or a promotion. It’s clear that today’s graduate students are looking for a boost in their careers, so they’re enrolling in programs that are career oriented. Business degrees have been the most popular choices for graduate students for the last several years the report has been published, and it remains true in 2018.

Unity’s unique online Sustainable MBA lets students apply sustainability principles to all aspects of business practices, giving them an edge among employers. Almost one-quarter of online graduate students are enrolled in business programs, and the reason is simple: employers are eager to hire graduates with these skills. As more businesses become more concerned with the environmental impact of their operations, MBAs that focus on sustainability will become more in demand.

A Sense of Community

A good online graduate program offers both convenience and a sense of community. Students are interested programs that offer limited class sizes and give opportunities to interact with classmates and instructors. When selecting a graduate program, many students have reported they’re looking for a program that offers a chance to interact with faculty and students, and a large percentage have reported they’d be willing to log on at specific times during the semester if it meant a chance to interact with others in group discussions or projects. These hands-on and interactive experiences add to the quality of an education, while still delivering lessons in an online format.

Finish Quickly

The traditional 14-15 week semester is just too slow for online students these days. Because the majority of online graduate students are currently employed and looking to graduate studies for a boost in their career, they’re eager to get started with their studies and complete them quickly.

Traditional graduate programs can take at least two years. Programs that can be completed faster are particularly attractive to today’s online students.

Flexible Start Times

Students also rank flexible start dates as important when choosing graduate programs. With busy lives, students don’t want to wait around for the fall semester to begin, and with online programs, there’s no reason to wait. Unity’s Master’s in Professional Science and Sustainable MBA offer students five start dates throughout the year. These flexible start dates mean students can get started on your online graduate program when they’re ready, and the degree can be completed in 14 months or less.

Cost Effective

The majority of students considering graduate studies rank cost as the number one factor when deciding to enroll. They’re looking for an affordable program that delivers value. A great online graduate program combines outstanding faculty and affordable tuition. Students also report that they want to know the fees up front and are turned off by colleges that bury cost information or use hidden fees to drive up prices. Unity’s online programs are affordable and all costs are clearly laid out on our costs page. Many students report they intend to rely on financial aid or working during their graduate studies to pay for their tuition. With the convenience of online programs, integrating work with education is possible.

Online graduate programs have a lot to offer today’s graduate student. With in-demand subjects and flexible course schedules, we can expect the number of students choosing to continue their educations online to increase in the future.

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