Online education is growing. Whether you like the trend or not, it is here to stay, especially with the economic situation forcing more families to reduce expenses as they prepare to send children off to college. In the past, there has been a stigma associated with online learning that left many feeling this method of education was less robust, less challenging, and inferior in nature. Nothing could be further from the truth, and in fact, there are a few things you must know about online education before you consider this route.Online education requires more discipline, more focus, and more maturity from the student. This makes online education more challenging in many ways as students must take the responsibility to follow instructions and complete the work with fewer reminders. It is up to the student to keep up with assignments, contact instructors if necessary, complete independent work in a timely manner, etc. Mature, organized students will find this to be easy to manage and provide the flexibility that they desire for their other interests, but for the less motivated student, there will be a significant learning curve.Additionally, online education provides much more access to information, and the wealth of online material makes this type of learning far more rigorous and broad in scope. Students will need to be able to read well, both in comprehension and speed, and be able to use systems for taking notes in order to compile different author’s perspectives. They will also need to be able to distinguish the relevant from the superfluous, and have the ability to articulate their analysis of this material efficiently and with clarity. The richness of online learning therefore, is limited only by the student’s ability to gather and process information. Again, for the more prepared student, this will not be as difficult, but for the casual student, more struggles can ensue.Based on these facts, online education, whether for high school or college, is a valid option for the student who is seeking flexibility and excellence in their educational training and is equipped with the learning tools to operate with intellectual maturity. There have been more than a few students on college campuses who have enrolled in an online class, thinking it was an “easy A,” only to find out that in fact, the online course was more robust, more challenging, and required of them, more consistent, focused attention. These students will agree, online education is not the inferior, “lesser” choice that the stigma has implied. But for the student seeking the “greater” option, with the flexibility of scheduling and academic skills to back it up, online education is a growing and vibrant way to go.