It’s Back to School! 5 Habits of Highly Successful Online College Students

Posted by Debi Teter

StudentAh, it’s that time of year that parents all across the country anticipate more than their kids anticipate Santa’s visit. It’s time to send the kiddos back to school!

But what about you? Are you a service member taking advantage of your military education benefits. Are you putting your toe in the online education waters for the first time as you pursue a degree?

If you’re one of those adult students jumping into the world of school again for the first time in a while, check out these five habits that will help you be a success:

  1. Break it down.  No, this is not about dancing. This is about taking a good look at what you have to accomplish during the semester and deconstructing big, unwieldy goals into smaller, achievable tasks.   For example: If you know you have to read two chapters each week, break that down into ten pages a day. Or if you have a 50-page term paper due in a month, plan to write 13 pages a week. Plan the work and work the plan.
  2. Show up. It sounds easy, but we all know it’s not. Online classes are different than red brick classrooms. It can be extremely tempting to gloss over assigned videos, multi-task during lectures and slip in and out of the room. Don’t do it or (trust me) it will become a habit. A bad habit, one that causes you to miss test-worthy information and damage your grade. A huge part of success in life is simply showing up. When you don’t, you miss out. Don’t miss out.
  3. Be a joiner.  This one can be tough for introverts.  Give it a try anyway. Seek out productive study groups, labs, discussion boards, weekly Skype review sessions or any other group resources that allow you to connect with other people, clarify any confusing topics, get study hints or just exchange ideas. The biggest benefit to this is the human connection. If you’re struggling in a class you will probably find quickly that you’re not alone in your struggle. There’s strength in numbers if you’ll make room for them.
  4. Maintain.  A lot of times, people who feel pressure start neglecting the basics. Don’t. Make sure you get enough rest, eat healthfully, and exercise your body. Talk with trusted friends or family if you are stressed and listen if they offer coping suggestions.  Managing a complicated schedule leaves little time for dealing with illness or burnout. The best way to avoid either is by practicing daily self-care – especially when you don’t feel like it.
  5. Protect your time. Give family and friends clear “no-fly-zone” instructions – and enforce them. Letting people know ahead of time when you’ll be studying or doing homework sends the message that your studies are important to you, and it lets them know not to interrupt.  True friends will support your goals and be understanding if you have to decline social activities for a little while.

Success in online education is a result of hard work, discipline and persistence. It doesn’t happen by accident. It can happen for you. These tips are just a handful of key habits adopted by successful online students.

Have you tried any of these tips? Tell us how they worked for you in the comments.

 

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