Mapping out your plan for success is a key step in starting on the right foot as an online student.
Understand the resources available
Attend all orientation activities offered so you can learn firsthand which resources the school makes available. Online students don’t have to learn in a silo. Online universities create a collaborative environment to help students thrive. Recognize that you are part of a larger community. Identify supportive resources so when you run into trouble, finding help will be easier when you know where to look.
All schools offer tutoring services of some type. Take advantage of these services to gain a foundation in subjects that are challenging. Each year in the program will build upon the previous. Overcoming any academic challenges will set you up for greater success as future classes deal with more complex subject matter.
Sometimes learning how to be a successful student can be a game changer. You may need help on note taking or effective study tips. Reach out to faculty advisors for offerings in these areas or for general strategy tips to be successful in your online education. When you know that there are people in your corner, you have a higher chance of accomplishing your goal.
Finally, seek out student groups related to your degree or a particular subject area. Making connections with likeminded students can be a morale boost. These students understand your journey. They can relate to the courses you’re studying. Students also help guide each other based on their experience with past teachers or course topics.
Make your education a priority
Carving out specific time to focus on classes, coursework, and study is important for most students to be successful. Set up a schedule and let those in your life know in order to respect it. Treating your online class just as you would an in person class is key so you can absorb the lecture with minimal distractions.
Think about your schedule in blocks of time that help you see the big picture. Planning your schedule in a week, month, or semester basis can help you avoid over committing and keep the focus on doing well as a student. Run all decisions through a prism of what impact and activity will have to your ability to stay current with your college education. You’ll make better choices that way and be able to prioritize your degree program.
While you may have to bow out of extra-curricular activities for a time, the additional time to focus on school in the short term will pay off in the long run.
Define your journey early
While you may have a preferred degree in mind, there are many ways to accomplish that goal. Sit down with a faculty advisor early to define a path that will best fit your strengths, interests, and abilities. Using your elective courses to round out your education experience can help set you apart from the competition when looking for internships and eventually a post college career.
Understand the technical requirements for each program. Develop a sense of the type of material covered in each course. Your faculty advisor can help you in this area.
An online program can be a wonderful experience which allows students to continue their education with the flexibility to attend classes around their schedule. This options works well for those with families or work schedules that would be more challenging to work in for a traditional degree program.
However, there are unique challenges to attending an online program that must be considered if a student is to be successful. Students must be proactive about establishing relationship with school resource providers who can offer the assistance, support, and guidance necessary for them to be successful.