About a year and a half ago, I switched from on-campus to online school. Since I was moving to Hong Kong, online was the best option for me to keep the credits I’d already completed, and still have the opportunity to continue my education. Online classes are difficult, and if the classes are more of an independent study class than an online class, then there are very few deadlines, and finishing school is completely up to self-discipline/motivation. I wish I’d known a few of these tips before starting my online school journey, and hope they can help any of you who are currently online students or who may be in the future:
Plan your week before it begins.
Write down what assignments you are going to accomplish when, so you can stay on track. Be specific. Clarify which day you will do what assignment, and try your very best to complete it on that day. Otherwise assignments pile up, and it can become too much very quickly.
Take avid notes.
Since quite a few online classes rely heavily on textbooks for learning due to lack of lectures, really focus on note taking. The textbook becomes a saving grace when you don’t understand a concept, and taking clear and concise notes while reading the textbook will make studying for tests and writing papers much easier. (This applies for students in all methods of schooling!)
Working on school from home has its benefits, but it also makes it really easy to become sidetracked. While other things besides school may occasionally come first, I found a lot of the time, things I thought rated higher on the list than school were actually just excuses I would make to do something besides completing assignments. Let’s just say my apartment was impeccable when I first started online school since I’d clean it so often!
Take it one day at a time.
When I first started online school, I was overwhelmed seeing how much I had to accomplish all at once. With some online classes, the entire semester’s worth of work is available the first day, and with others, it is possible to see how much you will have to accomplish throughout the semester. It becomes extremely daunting if you focus on how much you have to do, so I suggest breaking it down into days or weeks. It will make the class feel less stressful, and show you what to work on daily or weekly towards completing the class. Some online programs do this for you, but some do not, so I thought I’d mention this tip.
Trust in yourself.
I had some self doubts when I started online school, and lacked confidence in my self-motivation abilities. I was really worried whether or not I had it in me to finish school without the social aspect associated with on-campus schooling, and wasn’t sure how long it would take for me to finish. Over the past year and a half, I’ve learned that I do have it in me, and I’ve learned that when I implement these tips, online school is not as daunting as it seems.
I want everyone to know that finishing school is possible. I have come across so many men and women through my time as an online student who have shown me that it really can be done. Whether you are just starting college and looking at online school as an option, currently on-campus with the potential of switching, or aren’t in school but would like to pursue a flexible education, I hope these tips are useful in pursuing your college degree.