Time Management for Online Students
Posted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 by
A great attraction of online colleges is their (usually) flexible schedules. When taking classes online, you can generally choose when to attend lectures, participate in discussion groups and even take tests. For people dealing with day jobs and/or family obligations, this kind of flexibility can make getting a college degree or career training more practical than going to a traditional ground school.
But flexibility can be a two-edged sword. To make online learning effective, you have to become a time management expert. You have to develop a schedule and work habits that fit with your other commitments — and then stick to them. Online colleges require a level of personal discipline not everyone can achieve, but once developed, can yield major rewards even after you have your diploma in hand.
If you are attending — or plan to attend — an online college, here are some time management tips that can improve your chances for success.
1) Make sure you know how much time you must really commit to your education. Before you even try to develop a study schedule, make sure you understand how many hours your class schedule realistically requires. Overall, time commitments for traditional and online schools tend to be similar, so budget your time accordingly.
2) Commit a certain block of time every day to your studies. Like most other aspects of life, online learning is usually done best when it becomes rhythmic. You usually eat meals the same time every day, go to bed and wake up the same time every day and schedule other events at regular intervals. Make study time a daily habit as well. If you’ve chosen an online college because you work during the day, this probably means committing certain evening and weekend hours to school.
3) Select a study space. Just like you dedicate certain hours to your education, choose a personal, permanent “study space” as well. This can be a den, a bedroom desk, the dining room table, etc. Choosing a single space to study not only makes studying psychologically easier, it will save time, too, since you won’t waste precious minutes looking for a place to work, and you can make sure necessary study materials are always close at hand.
4) Prioritize your assignments. When you have multiple tasks to complete, getting started can often be difficult. To overcome this problem, rank your tasks from most important to least important now. (Obviously, all your assignments are important, but a report that is due tomorrow should have a higher priority than one that’s not due for another week.) You might also choose to begin with a short, easy assignment just to give yourself an immediate sense of accomplishment and get your mind into “work mode.”
5) Avoid distractions. When you’re learning at home, it’s very easy to be distracted by household demands and the many entertainment options at your disposal. Do your best to avoid these distractions/temptations during your allotted “study time.”
6) Give yourself a break. Regular “break times” are beneficial for both the mind and spirit — as long as they’re not overdone. The occasional snack or bathroom break is a good way to keep yourself refreshed and your energies focused.
7) Don’t forget “review time.” Commit a few minutes before the start of class at the end of each week to review your notes, make sure you haven’t missed any assignments and remind yourself about what you’ve learned so far.
Studying online requires that you develop a whole new set of work habits compared to the kind of structured education you experienced during your childhood and teenage years. But with these challenges come many rewards, and learning to manage your time effectively is a skill you can use for your entire adult life.
Everest University is Available Online
Everest is one of North America’s leading career education schools with more than 100 campuses nationwide. Online degree programs are available from Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, in a wide variety of subjects, including specialties in the health care, business and IT industries. For more information on programs, schedules, accreditation and costs, contact Everest University Online today! Financial aid is available for those who qualify.