Online school students have to be self-directed and motivated to successfully achieve their online degree. To gain the most from your online school experience, you need to put in as much time and effort as you can spare from your busy life. Just keep in mind that this is only a temporary situation. Sooner than you know it you will have that online certificate, online associate degree, online bachelors degree or online masters degree in hand, ready to start the next phase of your professional life.
Online colleges are like traditional colleges in that they provide some form of lectures, assignments, projects and tests designed to prepare the student for a career in their desired field. However, the nature of the way online schools are structured and delivered differ from traditional colleges and require a different set of skills for succeeding.
- Have the required technology equipment. Every online student should have a computer. If not, they may complete their class work at their local library or Internet café. The most common required software needed is a word processor, which may be downloaded for free off of the Internet. Some online degree programs require additional software programs, depending on the major.
- Read the syllabus before the start of classes. You should have daily calendar devoted to keeping track of assignments, quizzes and tests that can be updated as you read the syllabus. If you notice that the course work will demand too much of your time prior to the start of the semester, you are more easily able to switch to a class that accommodates your busy schedule.
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses. If you are not the best test-taker, you most likely would not want to take a class whose grade is heavily based on quiz and test scores. Similarly, if writing is your strength, you want to enroll in an online course that highlights this skill.
- Set attainable goals. Online schools require students to practice self-discipline when it comes to studying and completing course work on time. College professors have never been known to hold their students’ hands, especially in the online college atmosphere where they serve more as a guide than a teacher in the traditional sense.
- Complete assignments before their due date. This is the ideal online college workflow because it will leave you greater chunks of free time that can be spend on other parts of your life. Maintaining a steady pace with your online coursework ensures that you will pass in your assignments on time. Additionally, if you turn in your assignment a day or two before the final due date, your teacher will most likely review it before the due date and you will have the time to revise and earn a higher grade.
- Participate and ask questions! To make sure you keep up your participation levels, log on to your course at least 5 to 6 times a week, but ideally once every day. Your classmates will be adding to the discussion each day, and missing several days in a row will make it difficult to adequately participate. Asking questions shows that you are taking an active role in your education by trying to understand each concept fully.
- Have a clean and organized study environment. There should be a specific area of your house dedicated to completing your coursework and studying. A peaceful study environment leads to a more productive workflow.
- Schedule enough time for studying. Reducing your leisure time may seem like a big sacrifice, but remember it is only temporary. Take the time usually spent surfing the internet, watching television or talking on the phone and instead, spend it studying for an upcoming quiz or test.
- Use your online school’s resources. Many online schools have their own library and tutoring services. Most online colleges, especially those offering career training have a career resource or career placement centers.
- Stay motivated! Remain up-to-date by reading magazine articles and books related to your chosen field. In addition, talking to people already working in the field can give you an idea of industry trends and remind you why you are choosing to pursue your online degree.
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