The Complete Guide to Being a Successful Online College Student
It has become a lot more common in recent years for students to participate in their education through remote digital learning. Thanks to the amazing advancements in communication technology, it is easier than ever for anyone with internet access to connect with the world around them and reach out to a whole online community of fellow students. You can become a successful and high-achieving student even if you don’t attend traditional classes. Use this guide to help you fulfill your potential as an online student.
The pros and cons of online learning
Online learning has many advantages over traditional classroom or lecture hall learning. Apart from the obvious preventative qualities it has when it comes to public health, it is also beneficial in a number of other ways.
- More flexible learning and teaching times. Strict timetables that require room bookings and commutes from home to school or college can take their toll on your ability to concentrate and, in turn, absorb information.
- Being able to study and listen to lectures from the comfort of your own home has the advantage of putting you in a more relaxed mindset before starting any potentially difficult tasks or assignments, making you more likely to achieve highly.
- There are many ways that an online lesson can be more entertaining and personalized than a traditional one depending on the teacher’s technical abilities. Files and documents can be shared more immediately rather than by passing out papers or emailing links after the class.
- You often save money by studying from home. Not only are most of your resources digitized, but you also don’t have to commute or find yourself tempted by coffee shops at break times.
- Sometimes, the pressure of having to present yourself while trying to learn can be an unwanted burden. By learning from home, you can socialize in your own time and at your own pace.
Although it is an incredible feat of technology and innovation, remote learning admittedly has its fair share of disadvantages compared to traditional in-person education.
Here are a few:
- Students may be limited by their ability to access the appropriate technologies. Not everyone can afford a smartphone, tablet, or computer with which to access online learning.
- Some technology poses a security threat to shared documents and data of institutions, staff members, and students. This is often overcome by strict privacy measures and tight regulations.
- It can be more difficult to make friends without sharing a physical space with them.
- If the internet occasionally fails, it might cut off communication between a student and their class or teacher, making the lesson less accessible.
It is up to you to decide whether or not online learning is the best course of action for you. Some institutions offer excellent online courses, whereas others boast amazing traditional and in-person programs. Make sure to keep in mind these advantages and disadvantages when making your decision.
Success means something different to everyone. You need to set your own goals and figure out what success would look like to you. For some people, success might mean achieving straight As and graduating at the top of the class. For other people, it might mean using their education to land a prestigious internship or job after college. There is no point in having vague goals around what success means for you, as this will only lead to confusion and disappointment. Instead, choose how you want your education to play out and look at the ways you have control over this.
Choose the Right Course For You
One of the best ways to set yourself up for future success is to choose a course that closely matches your interests, your abilities, and your desired lifestyle. For example, if you want to be an entrepreneur, a course in business management will likely set you up with helpful knowledge to start you off on the best possible path. If you want to spend your life helping other people and making their lives better, you can find a nursing degree online to suit you. Think carefully about how you want your future to look and what values you care the most about. Do you want to earn a lot of money, make a positive change in the world, share knowledge with future generations? All these considerations and more will need to be taken into account before deciding which educational path you want to follow.
Look Ahead to Important Dates
When you have chosen your course and enrolled at your college, it’s time to check the student calendar for important dates. If your teachers have provided them, mark in your diary any assignment due dates or exams. This way, you will be better able to plan ahead and work towards these milestones. You won’t have deadlines creeping up on you out of nowhere if you take note of them in advance.
Create a Detailed Plan of Action
Once you know what important dates lie ahead, you can start to create a timetable for the semester. Block out time for your lessons, even if they are pre-recorded and can be viewed at any time. Having structure within your routine is a great way to stay on top of your studies while working from home. Break down each task into smaller ones, such as researching for an essay, compiling notes, writing a first draft, proofreading, and final editing. Give yourself mini-deadlines leading up to the real ones to keep you from falling behind.
Connect with Your Fellow Students
Do your best to reach out to your fellow students despite the fact that you don’t see each other in person or on campus. It is particularly difficult to create these bonds through digital spaces, but it can be done. Set up online video chats or arrange in-person social events to get to know each other better. It can be daunting to try and make the first move when you don’t know anyone, but the fear of rejection isn’t worth dwelling on. When you have a group of friends who take part in the same classes, you might find it easier to study and share notes on your subjects.
Get in Touch with Your Teachers
Just because you don’t see them face to face doesn’t mean you can’t also reach out to your teachers, professors, lecturers, and tutors. They will most likely provide you with their email addresses so you can ask them questions and seek their advice. You are paying for your education, and you deserve to make the most out of all the resources available to you, including your expert teachers. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or guidance if you find yourself stuck on a problem or unable to understand the assignment. They are there to help you fulfill your potential.
Leave Room for Mistakes
Failure and making mistakes are vital parts of reaching for success. Without failure, you will never learn or grow. Attempting to go through your education without making a single error will only result in greater disappointment when you inevitably stumble. Instead of avoiding these pitfalls altogether, accept that no one is capable of perfection and that striving for it is a waste of time. Focus your energy on doing your best, not aiming for unattainable goals. This doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious; it just means not beating yourself up when you encounter a setback. Perfectionism is the enemy of success.
Set the Right Scene
When working from home, it’s important to have a quiet space where you can study uninterrupted. This might be difficult if you live with family or share your home with other people but do your best to find somewhere relatively peaceful so you can concentrate fully. Invest in comfortable furniture and maybe even some noise-canceling headphones to block out unwanted sounds from other parts of your home. Avoid studying while in bed, as this can negatively impact your focus as well as your ability to get a good night’s rest.
Figure Out Your Personal Learning Style
How do you learn best? Can you only absorb information once you have listened to it or read it? Do you need to draw a diagram or act it out before you grasp a concept? Different people have different ways of learning, and figuring out yours will help you tailor your education to suit your style. Teach yourself about the forgetting curve, and use study techniques to embed important information into your brain. Being a good student isn’t just about what you want to learn, but how effective you are at learning it.
Manage Your Time Properly
How you divide and allocate your time is one of the most important considerations for any student, online or traditional. However, it is particularly relevant to remote students, as you will be required to manage yourself. Even though it might be tempting to have a lie-in every day and stay up late, you will be more likely to succeed if you have a routine that focuses on effective periods of study. Work out what kind of routine works best for you and your education.
Take Effective Notes
Good notes are concise and well organized. If you find yourself frantically trying to write down everything your teacher is saying, stop and think whether everything is actually relevant or useful for you. Divide your notes into subcategories so you can find them easily in the future for studying closer to exams or assignments. You can use your notes to test yourself and your classmates on your knowledge to help reinforce the information in your brain. Don’t get too distracted by expensive stationery or high-tech gadgets; you don’t need more than a pen and a notepad to take effective notes.
Remember Why You Are Passionate About the Subject
Being a student involves a lot of hard work, and this can, over time, make you forget why you chose to study your subject in the first place. Remind yourself of all the reasons you wanted to learn about this topic to begin with, and find ways to inspire yourself all over again. This can truly help you return to the path toward success when you are feeling discouraged.
While some students find it hard to muster the energy to study, others are not very good at knowing when to take breaks. While not working might seem counterproductive, it is, in fact, necessary for effective learning. When studying at home, you might find yourself absorbed in the notes or textbooks for hours without coming up for air. The human brain isn’t designed to learn this way. To more efficiently teach yourself new skills and information, it’s important to incorporate regular breaks and reward yourself for your hard work. Techniques such as the Pomodoro method are great for those who both struggle with procrastination and refuse to take enough breaks.
Develop Good Study Habits
Whatever study techniques you find that work the best for you, it’s useful to develop them into lasting habits. When an action or behavior becomes a habit, it is more likely to come naturally and cause you less stress. Developing habits is about deepening the grooves in your mind to make information travel quicker and with less friction. At the beginning of the semester, take some time to test out a few different study techniques and pay attention to what works best. Practice these until they become second nature, and watch as your productivity increases and your stress decreases.
Look After Your Physical Health
Good physical health can go a long way to helping promote better learning. The mind and the body are intrinsically connected, and caring for one will always help the other. Even when you have a lot of work to do, set aside some time for exercise or cooking a nutritious meal. These small changes to your lifestyle can have an amazing impact on other aspects of your life, including your education and ability to learn.
Use the advice from this guide to become an excellent online student and achieve your goals with confidence.