How to Survive Your Online Master's Degree Program

Discover the steps you can take to increase your chance of success in your online graduate program.

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You’ve worked hard to get accepted to an online master's degree program. You’re going to start classes soon and you’re starting to get a little nervous. Don’t worry. This is completely normal. First day jitters can’t be helped, but you can ease your anxiety by being prepared for what your online graduate program will demand from you.

If it is provided, you should have already taken the online learning orientation provided by your school. Most grad schools online have one, and they are designed to ease you into a learning environment that you are presumably unfamiliar with. These presentations will walk you through using the online course software and familiarize you with the expectations of your online graduate program.

If your living space is too hectic for you to complete your coursework, try visiting your local library, coffee shop, or internet cafe.

Setting up Workspace for your Online Master's Degree Courses

It is best if you have one location in your house that you can devote solely to your online coursework. Many people find it helpful to have a room, or their desk partitioned off from the rest of the room in order to be free from distractions around the house. Make everyone that you live with aware that when you are working on your assignments and tests that you are not to be disturbed, unless it is an emergency.

You want your space to be organized to provide a calm atmosphere for you to complete your work. Have a designated place on your desk for your books, calendar and other school materials. How you decorate your workspace is a personal preference, however remember the more clutter you have around your office, the easier it will be to get distracted.

Lectures in a Master's Degree Program Online

Lectures are delivered in various formats depending on the online graduate school you are attending. Some schools require students to log-in at a specific day and time for a live video lecture in which you can interact with your professors and peers in real-time. Other programs provide the students with pre-recorded videos or audio. Or, your online program may provide a written transcript of lessons. In our hi-tech society, it is becoming increasingly common for programs to combine formats to create a multi-media approach to teaching.

Online Master's Degree Program Participation Requirements

Most online graduate programs specify the minimum amount posts you must make to each week. Typically, this requirement is between three and five posts per week. Keep up with your discussions on a regular basis because a large part of online graduate education is based on sharing your thoughts, opinions and research findings with your peers and professors.

Deadlines in Your Online Master's Degree Program

Just because you are not commuting to classes, it doesn’t mean that your assignments can be finished completely at your leisure. In most reputable online masters degree programs, you will at least have weekly assignment deadlines. Depending on the online graduate school, quizzes and exams may be available online in 24 hour, weekly or semester long windows. Keeping a school assignment calendar can help you keep track of your deadlines in order to create a successful schedule.

Tips & Tactics for Surviving Your Online Master's Degree Program

  • There are many online tools available today that can help you keep track of and complete your assignments. Have links to help you with your graduate studies bookmarked on your internet browser before you start your online courses.
  • If your living space is too hectic for you to complete your coursework, try visiting your local library, coffee shop, or internet cafe.
  • Note taking not your strong point? It's easier to find term definitions and concepts in online courses, as most online graduate schools make course material available for the duration of the semester.


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