Advances in technology, the increasing integration of the Internet into our lives and a lessening stigma around online degree programs have led to a sharp increase in the number of people pursing their education through the Internet. The convenience and flexibility make getting a degree a reality for many who cannot pursue higher education the traditional way, such as busy parents and those already in the workforce. But, it is important to remember that while online education programs may make it simpler to get a degree, it does mean it is easier than a traditional degree. It is a pursuit not to be taken lightly and in some ways, distance learning can be more challenging than a campus-based program. Here are some tips for succeeding with your online courses.
Take Your Studies Seriously
While some people may still think that an online degree is inferior to a real degree, the reality is, you are trying to accomplish something equally important to someone who is heading off to a classroom after a full day of work. It is easy to take a casual approach to getting a degree online—you can work in your pajamas after all. But, if you adopt this sort of attitude towards your studies, you will falter quickly. When things get challenging, you may give up. You will not give top priority to your studies. Make sure the people around you also take your studies seriously.Whether you are pursing your degree in nursing, philosophy, business or taking online courses in organizational leadership, it is important to treat your studies with the respect they deserve.
Make Time Management a Priority
The flexibility of online courses is great, but can be the kiss of death for someone who is less than skilled with time management. Without set class times forcing you to focus on your studies a certain amount of time each week, it can be all too easy to fall behind by putting off your work or not devoting sufficient time to it. If you are one of the many people pursuing an online degree because you already work or have a family to raise (or maybe both), you have a lot on your plate and adding an online degree program to the mix will only further challenge you.Without a commitment to examining how you use your time and how you can make it work for you instead of against you, you are in for a hard time. Map out your schedule and write out how you will spend your waking hours each day. This one little step can do wonders for creating order in your mind and in your life—order that will allow you to get everything done when you need it to get done.
Get Clear on Your “Why”
If you are committing to the time and money it takes to get your degree online, you probably have a pretty strong motivator for doing so—very few people go back to school for the fun of it. This will be a challenging time in your life; there will be times when you feel overwhelmed, where you will question your decision and may even feel like giving up. But, with some clarity on why you are doing this, you will find the motivation to keep going through these rough patches; you will do what you need to do to get this degree and it will be easier to make the sacrifices required.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all things education.