When you daydream about that day that you will receive your online education diploma, do you imagine a cap and gown? Do you have a mental image of yourself proudly walking across a long stage to shake the hand of the college president as he or she hands you the diploma you have worked so hard to earn? Surely, this is an image that is burned into the mindset of many people, most likely including your very own friends and family, who have been longing for the opportunity to cheer for your success. But, what is a graduation ceremony like for those working towards online degrees? Is this scenario possible for online students?
This may be viewed as one of the pitfalls of attending online school versus pursuing your degree at a traditional "brick and mortar" institution. In most cases, students enrolled at online schools are scattered across the country, and possibly around the world. It would be no small feat to collect these students into one building at the same time in order to have a traditional graduation ceremony. Not to mention, it would be extremely expensive for students to travel to the home base of the online school in order to participate. It is for this reason that the typical answer for this question is no, those students who are pursuing online degrees do not usually have the opportunity to participate in a traditional graduation ceremony. Traditionally, degrees are mailed to students upon completion of the program, often with a congratulatory letter. But — what if it is your dream to walk across that stage? What then? There are always exceptions to the rule!
So, if you aren't quite ready to give up on the dream of pomp and circumstance just yet, how are you to find the loop hole in this situation? Well, the answer is actually quite easy. Certain online schools offer different opportunities. Many online schools have satellite campuses, where students can take a part of their classes in a classroom instead of solely online. For example, the University of Phoenix offers a variety of degree programs, as well as varying ways to obtain online degrees. Though students can opt to perform all of their coursework in the online setting, they can also opt to attend the "first and last class" of a course at a satellite campus. There are a number of these campuses scattered across the country, and students are able to attend classes with other students from their geographical area. Because the University of Phoenix has satellite campuses — they also have a main campus, and offer a graduation ceremony to their online degree students once a year at this main campus. Students are not obligated to attend, but are given the opportunity and are encouraged to celebrate the successful completion of an online degree program.
Another "loop hole," so to say, is if you are to attend an online degree program which is based out of a traditional "brick and mortar" institution. In this fashion, you are considered a student of the college, and are offered the opportunity to participate in the graduation ceremony, even if you have never set foot on the campus!
So, although the majority of online education programs do not offer students pursuing online degrees the opportunity to walk across the stage in a traditional graduation ceremony, there are options for those who desire that celebration. All you have to do is ask!
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