Some people mistakenly assume that taking online classes is a walk in the park. While online learning definitely has its perks, it does not give you license to procrastinate.
One of the best advantages that online schooling has to offer is that it makes earning a certificate or degree convenient, particularly for those who need to study and fulfill other responsibilities at the same time. However, the freedom and flexibility that this distance learning method provides can prove detrimental in the case of people who will not exercise self-discipline and motivation in order to get the most out of their education. There are several habits that you must form that will produce good results and help you succeed as an online student.
- Choose an accredited online college. Not all online schools are created equal, so the wise thing to do would be to look for regionally or nationally accredited universities or colleges. These institutions meet the rigorous standards established by the U.S. Department of Education and the credits you earn can usually be transferred. Most, if not all, prospective employers prefer to hire students who have earned credible certificates and degrees from an accredited academic institution.
- Make sure you meet the system requirements. The system requirements set by different schools may vary, so make sure you check what these are ahead of time. If you are cash-strapped, try to look for online college courses that can run on your current computer and Internet set-up. If the courses require newer systems and high-speed Internet connection, make sure you can afford to upgrade.
- Set a realistic schedule. You wouldn’t want to cram your days full of activities, especially if you work or care for your children at the same time. Make sure that you create a schedule that you could realistically adhere to. An overwhelming schedule can stress you out and lead to burn out, which can eventually cause you to drop your online classes. Once you have come up with a sensible plan, try to settle into a routine that will help you get used to your new schedule. Try to complete your assignments on time. Remember that online classes generally move faster than the usual, so missing even a few study sessions can cause you to fall back quickly, and it may be difficult for you to catch up.
- Establish a dedicated space for your studies. While it may be tempting to study in bed in your pajamas, this can lead to disastrous results. Choose a room in your house or apartment that is free from such distractions as the television or telephone so that you can concentrate on your online classes for college. Make sure that you choose a room that’s brightly lit so that your mind won’t associate it with rest or sleep.
- Enlist the support and help of family and friends. This is especially applicable to parents caring for young children, individuals caring for elderly relatives, and those living at home with their families or friends while studying. It would help you get your homework, projects or paper done if the people around you understand the importance of undisturbed quiet time that you devote to your coursework.
- Communicate with your peers and faculty. Don’t hesitate to ask your instructor or professor questions to take advantage of their knowledge and expertise. There are times when you would need to collaborate with your classmates. Online college programs provide a variety of communication methods, such as email, forums, chat rooms and VOIP programs for just such purposes. Use all the tools in your arsenal to help you get as much as you can out of your classes online.