It was only 25 years ago that the World Wide Web was introduced, but it is amazing what we have been able to accomplish using the Internet since then — send emails, conduct research, upload content, and now, receive a fully immersive graduate education from universities across the globe.

We have made huge strides in using the Internet for educational purposes, as we’ve detailed in an earlier post. If you’re considering the potential of an online graduate education, this post will examine the top ways that online graduate programs have improved the student experience.

1. Accessibility

I can’t relocate. Can online be the right solution?

Accessibility to graduate programs can be a major factor of where a student chooses to go to school. Prospective grad students often feel limited by their location and want to avoid moving costs and limit expenses while still attending a desirable and reputable program. As such, location can often be limiting if the programs offered locally do not match a given student’s interests or needs.

As a result, many students with financial or location constraints, who do not want to choose among only a few local options, opt for online programs to access specific courses and degree tracks, and achieve their educational goals — something that they might not have otherwise attained.

Online programs essentially mean that for students around the world, programs that might have once been inaccessible are now available.

2. Flexibility

How can an online program ensure I’m able to continue my career without compromising my current balance?

Brick-and-mortar graduate programs tend to stick to rigid schedules for students, where most courses are offered during the day. And for those who want to continue to work while attending graduate school, the rigidity of a daytime class schedule can be difficult to manage.

This is where online grad programs can be helpful: They enable students to learn, interact and study when it makes the most sense for their individual schedules — whether it’s at night, in the wee hours of the morning or in 20-minute increments throughout the day. Working professionals often prefer online programs for their flexibility.

3. Real-Time Insight

But what about my degree?

For traditional and online graduate programs, degree designations are often the same as those accessed in any other modality. In terms of interaction, online students frequently report that the level of interaction they get with teachers and peers is actually deeper and more robust than they have previously experienced in a brick-and-mortar campus.

In an online classroom, everyone must have a voice, and every voice must be heard and acknowledged. Student success is built on the relationships students foster with their teachers and the learning that ensues. Online university programs that rely on the interactivity and insight from educators in real time, can offer the same degree of individual attention that students need to succeed.

Ultimately, HotChalk finds that the student experience is enhanced by the addition of online programs, by allowing access to broader opportunity, without compromising value. For those who want to continue working while attending school, or have a very specific program in mind, online programs offer access, flexibility and a quality experience.