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Profile of the Average Online Student

Not everyone is cut out to be an athlete, chef or author. Nor can everyone successfully telecommute, work the third shift, or hold two jobs.

Personality, preferences, temperament, habit—they all factor in.

Same with online learning.

Sure, online studies are awesome, but it takes a certain kind of person to excel at online learning and earn a degree 100% online.

See if you fit the profile of the average online student:

  • Female (70%)
  • 33 years old
  • Working and earning a salary of $65,000 a year
  • Studying business (34%)
  • Attends part-time
  • Seeking a bachelor’s or master’s degree (75%)
  • Lives within 100 miles of the physical campus (80%)
  • More likely to attend a nonprofit institution (65%)
  • Value the school’s reputation (75%)
  • Motivated by career advancement (46%)
  • Prefers online studies because they're busy & need flexibility (68%)
  • Appreciate the ability to study anywhere, anytime (31%)

Of course, that doesn't mean you have to be all of these things to finish your degree online. These are simply the common characteristics of the average student.

If you’re willing to work hard, be flexible, apply self-discipline, and finish your assignments in a timely manner, it really doesn't matter if you’re a certain age or  gender. If an online degree is what you’re after, go for it!

On the flip side, if you prefer in-person interaction, need lecture-style classroom instruction, or lack the ability to manage your time constructively,  you should acknowledge that reality. You may need a more traditional learning environment. Just because online learning is popular doesn't mean it’s right for you—and that’s something only you can decide.

Source: The Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research, “Online College Students 2012: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences,” July 2012

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