Wading into the waters of online education for the first time can pose unique challenges and take some getting used to for the uninitiated. There will likely be a learning curve, especially for those who are not technologically savvy.
This article is designed to help you get your feet wet and guide you along with 10 helpful tips for online college success as you steadily immerse yourself into the online college experience, one foot at a time.
Online College Success: 10 Best Tips
1. Self Motivation
Being motivated is a necessary prerequisite to online college success. One way to stay motivated is to actually care about what you’re studying. Being engaged in the text and content of the subject that you’re studying will foster motivation, because you actually care to learn it. You care to learn it because you’re genuinely interested in it. It’s an uphill battle to self motivate for studying a subject you’re not really interested in learning.
2. Gather All Resources
Familiarize yourself with what you need to have at hand, such as:
- Learning labs
- Technical Support
- Online Chats
- Professor Emails
- Library Hours
- Online Libraries
- Textbooks (including digital textbooks)
3. Understand Degree Program Options
Probably the most important question to decide is what degree you want to get. If you have certain schools in mind, see what degrees the schools offer.
For instance, Capella University offers degrees in marketing, business, finance, nursing, criminal justice, counseling, and others, with often with different concentrations in a subject.
4. Become Technologically Savvy
Part of your success in taking online classes will rely on your ability to navigate various computer softwares, and it is important that you familiarize yourself with this technology, such as Blackboard.
Also, the various resources that will be at your fingertips, such as chat rooms, tutors, etc., will be online in various software formats. You should be able to concentrate on the school work itself and not have any additional learning curve in using the relevant software that online college requires.
5. Effective Time Management
While it is true that much online college coursework offers more flexibility than traditional college coursework, time management is still an important part of success.
There are still deadlines and due dates for the coursework, and mapping out and scheduling the work accordingly can help greatly. A calendar and schedule is important to keep preferably on your smart phone or in some format that is always accessible and can be updated as necessary.
6. Begin Small
As with any new experience and endeavor, start small and take some time to learn how the process works. Take just a few classes at first. Do not overburden or overwhelm yourself with too many classes and responsibilities. In this regard it may behoove you to take the first class in a summer semester and see how well you adjust and like program.
7. Write Clearly & Always Proofread
Online college can be a helpful learning environment if you’re a good writer. Use the Hemingway App. It will help you parse complicated sentences down to more understandable writing. Of course proper grammar and punctuation gets your message across correctly. Read Write to the Point, authored by Bill Stott for guidance.
8. Make Good Use of Downtime
In online courses there isn’t always going to be immediate feedback on your assignments that you’ve submitted, so while you are waiting try to use your time wisely.
Don’t spend excessive amounts of time watching television or playing games when you could be getting a head start in reading or writing for next week’s assignments; it will only improve your grades by giving you time to learn and anticipate the next assignments.
9. Talk with Professors and Other Students
What do the professors expect? This has to be sorted out through the channels available, such as by email. This will require some initiative on your part, to seek out the professor or fellow students to get clarity on matters.
Should you ever need help, you need to find out how to get help. Often there is an online chat or portal which can be used to reach the professor or other students. Reaching out to other students can be most beneficial, as often times students learn from other students.
10. Make School Routine
As with other aspects of life, we often learn by doing, and in doing we get most proficient when we get into a routine. The same is true for online education. It is best to determine what time of day and where you are most productive and can give your full attention to the coursework, and make that a habit.
It will become evident that online courses are not vastly different from traditional education. You will find that most things are shared in common, only it is predominantly the means by which information is transferred that is different.
Following the 10 best tips for online college success guidelines above will bring effective online education and avoid some initial challenges.
Online College Success: 10 Best Tips
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