Handling life and work can be a tricky balancing act at the best of times, and a full-on circus when you throw school into the mix. It sounds intimidating, but it is not impossible; thousands of people do it every day, and you can be one of them. The fulfillment and rewards that come from going back to school are immeasurable, and you will never regret expanding your horizons.
If you’ve decided to go back to school via distance learning, you might be searching for some tips on how to succeed in an online classroom environment. And we are here to help!
1. Know Your Limits
When you first start out, you must be realistic with yourself, your goals, and your expectations. How busy is your life? How flexible is your job? How many classes at a time can you handle? If you have never taken an online course before, consider starting out with one class to get yourself used to distance learning. Speaking with a student advisor at your online school can better help you decide what the best course of action is for you.
Some distance learning schools are structured so that you don’t have to worry about taking more than one class. At Brighton, programs are created specifically for students to take one class at a time with 6-8 weeks to complete it on their own time. This allows for greater flexibility and is perfect for students who have more demanding schedules, but does require strict discipline so you don’t procrastinate!
2. Be Disciplined in Your Studies
Speaking of discipline: all education paths, no matter where you go to school, require a certain degree of discipline to succeed and graduate. Taking your classes online doesn’t change this; in fact, it can require more discipline and accountability than in-person classes! Since you do not interact with your professors or fellow students face-to-face, it can be easy to procrastinate or not make the time to get your work done. Allowing yourself some grace if life gets crazy one of the perks of online schooling, but don’t let it become a habit.
To help stay on track, it’s important to treat studying like a job. This is your education–you are paying for it, and you will get out of it what you put into it. So take advantage of the resources and knowledge your school and professors offer! You are investing in yourself by pursuing further education, and you want a good return on that investment.
3. Engage with the Material
Sometimes, you just don’t have it in you to give your full attention to your classes. You had a long day, a lot of unexpected stress occurred, etc. And that’s normal–nobody can run at 100%, 100% of the time. But don’t let yourself continually go through the motions of your online coursework. As mentioned above, you are paying for this and investing in yourself for a better future; engage with the material!
Do the reading and the homework and ask your professor questions. Occasionally quiz yourself while going over the material, to ensure you are absorbing what’s being taught. Take handwritten notes and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. On the class discussion board, interact with your classmates and write meaningful replies.
Keep these three tips in mind as you start your distance learning journey and you will stay on the road to success. Create strategies that work for you and adapt as necessary. Most of all, never be afraid to ask for help! Whether it’s from your student advisor or your professor, everyone at the school is there to support you.