In-Person Vs Online Vs Hybrid Masters Program – which one is the right fit for you ?

In-Person Vs Online Vs Hybrid Masters Program - which one is the right fit for you ?

COVID-19 has created havoc in all parts of the world in all sectors including education. Schools and Universities have quickly adopted it and made their programs available online. Online education was prevailing for a long time now, yet it never became the mainstream and graduating fully online was not a thing. Now it is a norm. As the covid restrictions went On & Off based on the waves of spread, a lot of educational institutions started thinking of a new model, a hybrid model where students can come in-person periodically in batch size to get the benefits of social and in-person interaction while maintaining the full course online and be able to take the advantage of both in-person and virtual environments and graduating in time. In this blog, we will illustrate the pros and cons of each of these methods and guide  you which one is the best for you.


Which stage are you in your career?

This is something very important. If you are someone just fresh out of your college degree (under graduate or Bachelor of Engineering) and pursuing your higher education in MSc in any Engineering field, or MBA, an in-person degree is a must. This is where you will get the most exposure in terms of experience from the class and from the school’s various resources including the training and placement and alumni network, library, labs and professors’ in-person advice to say the least. But if you are a working professional having at least a couple of years of experience and trying to upskill or change in career, an on-line degree might be more helpful. Online degrees are flexible and don’t have any opportunity cost ( you don’t have to quit your day job or relocate anywhere). A hybrid program is preferred for working professionals where If you are looking for an on-line program that has some physical campus within reachable distance (drive or few hours of flight). Hybrid programs are preferred as this will give you periodical in-person touch with your cohort.


How much cost can you afford ?

Online programs are cheaper than hybrid and hybrid programs are cheaper than the full time in-person programs. When you consider cost, it breaks down to 5 types – 1) Tuition fees that are US dollars per credit. There are subsidies for tuition fees if you are an in-state resident. 2) Study fees including books, research papers, libraries, labs, computers etc. 3) Travel and accommodations  4) Food and lifestyle in a different country or city. 5) Opportunity cost – this is the cost that you will pay by getting rid of your current incomes for the period of the study. If you prefer online, all you have to worry about is the tuition fee. For hybrid programs, tuition fee and the travel and accommodations for the periodic in-person meets will be the main cost. And for a full in-person program, you have to think about all 5 types of costs. If you are just trying to upskill and don’t want to face the opportunity cost, a hybrid program might be the best option for you. But if you are someone looking to switch careers or build a career, an in-person might be the best approach.

How much time can you commit to preparing for the entrance exams and VISA preparations?

Traveling to a new country is an immense opportunity but poses different kinds of challenges. If you are planning for an in-person master’s program in the USA, you need to prepare at least a year before. Planning for entrance exam, (GRE or GMAT) and then applying to college and preparing for F1 VISA to enter into the USA are all rewarding challenges you have to go through whereas if you are planning to do an online masters program from an accredited US university, most of the offering universities will waive the exam and also you don’t need to plan for any VISA. However, for the hybrid programs, where you have to travel to the USA for the periodical meets, you can get the visiting VISA. Process for getting a Visiting VISA is much simpler and can be free of burden. 


What ROI are you looking for?

If starting salaries after graduation is in your mind, you must know that it all depends on what program and what skill sets, and what networks are you building through your program. Building a strong network with your peers, alumni networks and professors is the biggest plus if you opt in for an in-person program. Hybrid and online programs offer a lot of opportunities in this regard but that can be easily overlooked with your day-to-day busy lives. Internship is another great opportunity to increase your skills and hone your professional experience if you are a full-time in-person student. Working on research papers and working on various committees has always been easier in the in-person setting. In many schools, an internship is a requirement to complete a program for an in-person full-time program. Online and hybrid classes don’t require internships.

Online or Hybrid or In-person Graduate program – it’s a difficult choice. Online programs might be tempting based on its cost and quick delivery model. But it’s very important to resist the temptation and think deeply through your circumstance and put down your thoughts on where do you want to see yourselves in next 5 to 10 years and what kind of personal and professional networks you need to build to guide you & guard your fort. If You need more help and need someone to work with you on this, we are here to help, please contact us.