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I'm in an online ANP program that also has a traditional program:
My Pros - not stuck to going to a scheduled class, can do my assignments any time of the day, more flexible schedule (except for the onsite days I go that may cut into my clinical time or work time). For many of my classes I worked in groups. So I was able to form a group with a couple of women I met duiring my onsite orientation - that was the best because these ladies were dependable and we we a group for all of our classes together. Many of the textbooks you many need may be available online via the school's library so you don't have to spend money on books that are easily accessed.
My cons: My first year in my program, I felt like I had little support from the faculty (little communication during courses). I felt like I was teaching myself all the material with the porwerpoint slides given to us on our online database. Finding my own preceptors is the worse - very had because many NPs can't or dont want to precept, and many programs require you to have at least one NP preceptor during your clinicals. Sometimes I also do miss the in class interaction and discussion of material. However, you can get some of this from your group members depending on how much you interact with one another. Also so schools do have the class lectures videotaped so you can get som semblance of what the onsite students get.
I also am in an online FNP course.
Pros: I can set my own schedule (hard at first to get yourself disciplined). Not having to take tests (just LOTS of writing). No on-campus visit with the school I chose (closest NP school is nearly 2 hours one way).
Cons: More expensive than traditional state university (my tuition is very doable, and not much more though. Some are VERY expensive). Arranging own clinicals (local practitioners not familiar with school). LOTS of writing and researching for supporting evidence to assignments.
Unlike Sha-Sha RN, I have found my instructors very informative and helpful. During two of my classes, my father became quite ill and passed away. I don't know what I would have done without their support. I have made friends in my online classes also as many of us are in the same classes on and off. I was able to arrange all my preceptor/clinical requirements ahead of time by meeting with the practitioners and office managers in a two-way interview <smile>.
I did a "brick and mortar" program and was happy I chose it.
Pros: Live face time with my professors. I could ask questions in class and get immediate answers. No waiting around for someone to email me back. I also loved the interaction with classmates. We learned from each other and I made some very good friends. We were able to study together, car pool, and generally support each other. I was able to get very good references from professors who actually knew me. The school arranged all our clinicals. I also enjoyed being able to use the campus facilities (library, fitness center, graduate student center) .
Cons: No flexibility in scheduling. Although I do well with structure, there were times I wish I could have stayed home and accessed classes on line.