5 Tips for Being A Successful Online Student
Online students are often met with some harsh criticism of their decision to further their education online. People often assume that online students are lazy, not intelligent enough to complete their program in a traditional setting, or that the degree they earn will be worthless. Pursuing a college education online has become incredibly popular. It is estimated that nearly three million students are currently enrolled in online degree programs, with another six million students taking at least one online class that is included in their degree program. As a result, degrees that are obtained from online universities are no longer viewed as being inferior by potential employers.
No one ever stops to think about the overwhelming sense of aloneness that online students can feel. It is incredibly difficult to be successful in an academic environment where you feel like you have little to no interaction with other people. It’s even more difficult when it feels like no one can relate. Don’t give up though; success is possible. I’ll share some tips and tricks that have allowed me to have a robust and rewarding college experience from the comfort of my own home.
- Manage your time – This is probably the most important tip I could ever give an online student. Buy a planner. Write down everything you need to read, every assignment, every quiz. Create a weekly plan and stick with it. While it’s nice to work at your own pace, once you fall behind it’s very hard to get caught back up.
- Be comfortable – Set yourself up a workspace in your house that doesn’t move. This is your area. Fill it with things that keep you comfortable while studying. Enforce the rule that while you are in this area, you are off limits. This is your bubble. Within it, distractions should be reduced, and concentration should be encouraged. The less stressed or restless you feel, the more time you will spend studying and working on assignments.
- Keep in touch with advisors and instructors – These people are literally being paid to help you. So, let them. Call your advisor when you have questions. If they don’t have an answer, they will find one. If you are struggling with an assignment or are going to be submitting an assignment late, email your instructor. Usually they are understanding and willing to work with you.
- Learn about what interests you – Ask if your university offers certificates that may be relevant to your program. Use electives to take classes about things that interest you, but are outside of your major. Having the flexibility to take control of what you learn and when you learn helps to avoid feelings of burnout or boredom.
- Get involved outside of the classroom – This has been one of the most beneficial things for me. I found out that my university offers a social media space for students, and we can participate in clubs, contests, honor societies, and access tutors. We can apply to serve as Peer Leaders and serve as members of the online Student Advisory Board. Participating outside of the classroom is a good way to forge bonds with your classmates and create lasting friendships.
Being an online student can be difficult, but there are ways to make it work and be successful. If you decide that online learning is right for you, shop around and research your options. Programs can vary from place to place, so it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. Continuing your education is an admirable feat, no matter how you choose to proceed.