While you know just how important it is to earn your degree, sometimes life happens and throws your plans off course. When raising a family or juggling a full-time job with your studies is a necessity, an attractive option to allow you to fulfill every necessary duty in your life is to take online courses. Online classes offer significantly more flexibility than in-person classes do. However, taking them requires dedication and determination since you will be responsible for keeping yourself on track and caught up. Here are 7 tips to help you find success in online schooling so you can earn your degree while balancing everything else in your life.
1. Create a Designated Workspace
Whether you prefer to work from your couch at home or a quiet corner in the public library, it’s important to find a space where you feel comfortable and can focus. Consider the use of headphones to block out outside noises when working from home, especially when you have kids and chaos running rampant through your house. Use your desk or workspace to store your books and school supplies so you always know where things are.
2. Review the Syllabus Often
Sitting in a classroom each week typically means listening to your professor go over the syllabus nearly every session, reminding you when tests are coming or papers are due. Online courses are much different, in that your professor may remind you about upcoming tasks, but for the most part, keeping up with your assignments is left completely up to you. Mark important dates on your calendar or put a reminder in your phone. You may also find it useful to print out the course syllabus and highlight important points.
3. Maintain Communication
Even though you’re not seeing your professor face-to-face each week, they are still there for you when you need help. If you’re having trouble in the class, feel like you’re falling behind, or need any kind of help, reach out to your professor. Most will understand when you have a sick child or emergency at work that keeps you late, forcing you to miss an assignment, and will do what they can to work with you.
4. Organization Is Key
Take the time to invest in a daily planner or start utilizing the calendar app on your phone to keep track of assignments to avoid missing anything or falling behind. Online coursework requires dedication and more personal responsibility—keeping yourself organized will make it easier for you stay on top of all of that.
5. Make a Schedule
While all of your assignments might be due Sunday night, it’s a good idea not to put off doing your reading and studying until then. Schedule time during the week for reading and completing your assignments. Breaking them up over the course of the week will keep things easier and allow you to better focus, preventing you from having to worry about running out of time finishing your work at the last minute. Remember that selecting and keeping to a predetermined schedule may be one of the most important actions you take to ensure successful studying!
6. Reach Out to Other Students
Many online courses require students to post one or more comments each week, then comment on the posts of other students in the class. Take this assignment as an opportunity to reach out to other students and get to know some people in your class. It doesn’t hurt to have a classmate to ask questions or study with, even if you live states apart.
7. Remember that School Is School
Although your method of attending classes online is much different than attending in person, everything else about your school experience is the same. Utilize the resources offered online, but don’t forget to make flashcards and take handwritten notes to help you process what you’re learning. School is school, after all, and even if you’re not going about it the traditional way, you’re gaining knowledge all the same.
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