The Ultimate Showdown: ASU Online vs. In-Person – Which One is Best

Arizona State University is one of the largest postsecondary institutions in the US enrollment-wise.

Believe it or not, it has more than 80,000 students, around 82% of which are undergraduates.

Its 2,006-acre urban campus is in Tempe, AZ.

However, did you know you can attend ASU without having to fly to the Grand Canyon State?

ASU Online is for non-traditional students or adult learners who cannot afford to attend a physical campus and follow a structured schedule until they complete their degree programs.

Both in-person and online campuses of Arizona State have high US News rankings.

ASU is #105 in National Universities and #51 in Top Public Schools.

Some of its high-ranking undergraduate programs include:

  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Nursing
  • Psychology

Meanwhile, ASU Online is #4 in Top Online Colleges.

US News highly ranks its various online bachelor’s degree programs such as:

  • Business
  • Psychology

It’s worth pointing out that Arizona State Online has numerous high-ranking master’s programs.

So, should you attend ASU traditionally or via the internet?

Let’s find out by comparing ASU Online vs. in-person!


Cost of Attendance: Cheaper Online

There are many reasons why some students prefer to earn an undergraduate degree online.

One of those is that online colleges generally have lower asking prices.

Because it’s a public research university, ASU charges in-state students and out-of-state students differently — attending it is more affordable for residents compared to non-residents.

Here’s a table comparing tuition and fees for students based on residency:

ResidencyTuition and Fees

Whether or not you’re residing in Arizona doesn’t matter to ASU Online.

So, in other words, the online campus of Arizona State charges in-state and out-of-state students equally!

Online tuition and fees can vary, depending on the undergraduate program of your choosing.

The following table shows the tuition and fees for some online bachelor’s degree programs at ASU Online:

Online Undergraduate ProgramTuition and Fees
Business Administration$8,276
Computer Science$8,276
Electrical Engineering$8,276
Graphic Design$7,316
Information Technology$8,276
Software Engineering$8,276

Please note that the tuition and fees above for each undergraduate degree program ASU Online offers are based on 12 credits per semester, which is the minimum number of credits full-time students take per semester.

Still, across the board, tuition and fees at ASU Online are lower than at ASU the physical campus.

ASU, the physical campus, expects first-year students to reside on campus.

There’s no need for you to abide by that rule as an online student, which means you don’t have to worry about paying for room and board and other related expenses, such as transportation.

Getting In: Lower Acceptance Rate Online

ASU is one of the least selective postsecondary institutions in the United States.

As a matter of fact, it accepts 90% of applicants each year.

Unfortunately, the lower Arizona State Online acceptance rate than at the physical campus may intimidate some individuals looking to earn a bachelor’s degree in a non-traditional way.

Based on the latest data, approximately 65% is the ASU Online acceptance rate.

It means that you have higher chances of getting into its traditional campus rather than into its online campus.

Refrain from assuming that ASU Online, like many online schools, has lax admissions.

Planning on applying as a first-year student online?

Check you have completed at least 14 of the following course requirements to be accepted into ASU Online:

  • Four years of math
  • Four years of English
  • Three years of lab sciences (One year each from biology, chemistry, earth science, integrated sciences, or physics)
  • Two years of social sciences (including one year of American history).
  • Two years of the same second language
  • One year of fine arts or career and technical education

Or are you thinking about applying to ASU Online as a transfer student?

Ensure that you have 12 or more transferable credits from another accredited postsecondary institution — otherwise, you will have to apply as a freshman student.

It’s also a must that you, as a transferee, meet any of the following requirements:

  • High school diploma
  • General Educational Development (GED) certificate
  • Currently completing or have completed an associate degree
arizona state university

Degree Programs: Fewer Options Online

As mentioned, ASU is a massive university as far as enrollment goes.

That’s why it isn’t surprising it offers lots of traditional degree programs: more than 800!

Meanwhile, Arizona State University Online offers fewer degree programs for online students — it only has 300+ available options, consisting of certificates, undergraduate degrees, and graduate degrees.

According to ASU Online itself, some of the most popular degrees are engineering, business, and nursing.

The limited degree program options may cause you to think twice about enrolling in ASU Online.

However, you can rest assured that each online degree it offers is legitimate.

Let’s answer a few questions about ASU Online’s accreditation:

Is ASU Online accredited?

ASU Online has accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). HLC, which the US Department of Education recognizes, is the same agency that has accredited Arizona State University.

It’s not just the online campus of ASU with HLC accreditation but also its online programs.

Is ASU Nationally or Regionally Accredited?

ASU and ASU Online are both regionally accredited, given that HLC is a regional accrediting body.

Regional accreditation is the most recognized and accepted type of accreditation for colleges and universities in the United States. So, in other words, ASU’s accreditation is the gold standard.

Because ASU Online is accredited, you can have peace of mind that any degree from it is legit.

It means that you can use it to apply for jobs or apply to graduate school. You may also use credits you earn from Arizona State Online to transfer to another regionally accredited institution, traditional or online.

Related Article: Is Oregon State University Online a Good School?

Classes in Canvass vs. a Physical Classroom

Is ASU Online a good school?

ASU Online is a good school for adults who are busy with their careers or raising a family because it allows them to work on a degree program without having to reside on campus or pay the campus a visit regularly.

Virtual classes at Arizona State University Online take place in Canvas.

A course management platform for online learning and teaching, Canvas allows you to access your coursework and assignments on almost any device (desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone) anywhere you are.

Most online classes are asynchronous or self-paced.

Simply put, asynchronous learning means you can complete your coursework at any time in alignment with your schedule.

Each time you have the time to tend to your undergraduate studies, all you have to do is run Canvas and access pre-recorded lectures and content.

You can return anytime during the course and even re-watch classes to review before the final exam.

While ASU Online offers flexibility like no other, it’s not an excuse to take as much of your time as you like to finish your coursework — online classes are six to seven and a half weeks long, and you must finish everything within the timeframe.

Be warned: not all learners can thrive academically in an online education setting!

Attending the online campus of ASU may not be the best for you if you don’t have the following qualities:

  • Computer literacy
  • Decision-making skills
  • Determination
  • Discipline
  • Organization skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Self-motivation
  • Time management skills

Read Next: University of Arizona vs Arizona State

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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