Skip Navigation

DCE Magazine

Should You Study On-Campus or Online?

International students have more flexibility than ever.

Fall 2021

With the delivery of education rapidly changing in the face of COVID-19, you have probably found yourself wondering if on-campus or online learning is right for you. There are benefits and drawbacks to both but wading through all of the information can be a bit overwhelming. Here is how you can decide if you should study on campus or online.

The importance of lifelong learning

Navigating the constant evolution of the workplace is important and having in-demand skills will help you land a great job after graduation. Therefore, it is beneficial to consider yourself a lifelong learner. Whether you have left university to pursue a career or are a first-time student, it is essential to keep up with the latest skills. As the Corporate Finance Institute reports, “The corporate world is continuously evolving, with industries and jobs expanding at a rapid rate. Job descriptions change and skill sets that used to be needed for a particular job may not be enough nowadays.” Therefore, being open to continuing education is one of the best ways to make sure you will be a viable candidate.

As time goes on, lifelong learning will become more and more normalized as part of our educational experience. While in the past, folks trained for one career and generally stayed on that path throughout their lives, that is not so much the case now. As Roger James Hamilton, Founder and CEO of Genius Group, writes in Global Banking and Finance Review, “With technology blurring the lines between sectors and speeding up processes, working adults are more likely to jump from sector to sector, picking up new skills and acquiring new knowledge.” Therefore, you will also need to discern how you want to accomplish continuing education in the long run, be it on campus or online.

“For me, the biggest benefit of the program was definitely the networking. I will apply everything I learned during the program to my professional life.” Fernanda Figueira, Brazil, UCI DCE Graduate


Students who attend classes on campus get full access to all the university has to offer, from in-person support services, clubs, organizations, tutoring, and other activities. Additionally, being on campus allows you to meet and mingle with other students who may share similar interests, which can be helpful for sparking friendships or creating study groups.

Attending school on campus allows students to partake in student life, which can include living on campus in residence halls, dorms, or apartments. This can give you opportunities to be involved, make friends, and stay better connected with your university. But of course, to study on campus, or at least to experience the full, immersive benefits of doing so, often requires a lot of time and financial resources. Many students can save on accommodation, transportation, and food and drink by studying at home.


There are many pros to choosing online education. First, you are no longer restricted by geography, meaning you can have access to the top nations for education in the world, such as the USA, from wherever you are based. Wherever you can take a laptop and get reliable internet access, you can learn.

Additionally, you will be able to engage with a wide range of people quickly, while also receiving swift assistance from educators, and other university officials when you need help. Learning how to navigate an online learning environment can also help you gain valuable experience with utilizing different platforms, which can be helpful down the road in your job search.

For many students, an online education proves to be more cost-effective than in-person schooling. This allows students the opportunity to remain at home, have more flexibility in their scheduling to accommodate work and family schedules, as well as save money on commuting to campus.

With the pros, there are of course some cons. Depending on their personality and the set-up of the program in question, students who choose to go to school online may feel they miss out on the in-person engagement on campus. Additionally, they will need to be comfortable with receiving support virtually and get used to working primarily over computer screens with professors and peers. Finally, online students will miss the benefits of visiting a student center where many student affairs offices, as well as other learning and social opportunities, are often housed.

The Choice Is Yours

UCI Division of Continuing Education (UCI DCE) offers students on campus and online programs for you to choose from. For example, to prepare students for the expanding needs of employers in the technology industry, the three-month Accelerated Certificate Program (ACP) in Data Science covers a wide array of topics in data science, making it a great choice for students who want to enhance their skillsets — whether they want to learn on campus or from their home country.

There are tons of other great offerings, particularly for international students. Students from abroad can participate in English Language Programs, Certificate & Internship Programs, and can even customize their own learning plan. No matter where you are in the world, you can find an education program that fits your needs and gets you prepared for a career in your chosen field.

Mariana Boeira Pozas enrolled at UCI DCE after leaving her marketing business in Brazil to move to the United States. Realizing she needed to freshen up on her skills to attract American clientele, she enrolled in an ACP at UCI. She created her own educational pathway by combining studies in Data Science, Data Analytics, Digital Marketing and Communications, as well as Business English. After graduating, Pozas earned an internship at retail marketing innovator AWM Smart Shelf, which led to a full-time data analyst position.

Fernanda Figueira, Brazil, UCI DCE graduate said, “My program was very organized, and all the teachers had a wide range of knowledge in the subjects they were teaching. For me, the biggest benefit of the program was definitely the networking. I will apply everything I learned during the program to my professional life.”

Students choosing to return to campus or to continue their education online are sure to find support from DCE, which provides many activities and opportunities for students to engage in the classroom and local community. Whether you’ve been out of school for a while, or are continuing on after graduation, you’re sure to find activities and organizations that support your academic and personal goals.

Ultimately, choosing whether to pursue more education on campus or online is a decision only you can make. However, with DCE’s wide array of options, there’s lots to explore…

Learn more about DCE’s International Programs.

Article written in association with