Worried about how well you might do going to college online? The experience is definitely different than going to a traditional ground school. To succeed online, you have to be focused and disciplined at a level you may not be used to. As an online student, you may also miss many of the social elements usually associated with a brick-and-mortar college. (Virtual frat parties are notoriously dull.)
The advantages of online college are that most offer flexible schedules, there's no commuting time (or parking hassles), and the school may offer programs you just can't find — or get into — at your local university or community college. If you already have a job you don't want to abandon to further your education, or have family obligations you can't put on hold, going to school online can make a whole lot of sense.
So, assuming online college is the way to go, how will you make sure the experience is a positive one? How will you deal with the time demands and block out the distractions?
Here are five ways to successfully study online:
1. Establish a formal class schedule — Online classes may be flexible, but that doesn't mean they're loose. Figure out how much time you need to devote to lessons and homework, and then make those hours a fixed part of your weekly schedule. Take your "school hours" as seriously as you do your job.
2. Establish a formal workspace — Make where you study as fixed as when you study. By having a set workspace, online school will seem more real to you, you can keep all your study materials close at hand, and you don't have to spend valuable mental energy trying to figure out where you're going to park yourself every day.
3. Block out distractions — This is tough if you work at home. But if you can, make sure your workspace is a room with a door you can close, the TV is off, any music is turned down low and all your "toys" (videogames, smart phones, etc.) are safely out of sight and out of mind.
4. Organize your work — Establish separate document files and file systems for your online coursework on your computer. Also, buy some notebooks and folders for organizing and preserving hardcopy documents. Again, take your online studies as seriously as you would those in a traditional ground school.
5. Nurture your online relationships — Online college doesn’t have not be isolating. Most online schools have technology in place that allows you to build social connections with fellow students, join online study groups and otherwise develop relationships with people you may never meet face-to-face. Use these online social tools to not only enhance your sense of well-being, but also as valuable study resources.
Earn Your Degree at Everest University Online
Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, offers associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in some of America's most popular career fields. Its online education programs include:
- Computer Information Science
- Criminal Justice
- Criminal Investigations
- Homeland Security
Its online courses offer the same benefits as Everest's ground schools, including:
- Small classes with an emphasis on practical, real-world scenarios
- Experienced instructors drawn from the fields they teach
- Career Services that help graduates transition from school in the working world
- Financial aid available for those who qualify
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at www.everest.edu/disclosures.