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5 Ways to Be a Successful Online Student

Online programs offer many unique benefits. They let you set your own schedule, offer flexibility and save you commuting time and money. It is important to remember, however, that online coursework is not a shortcut when it comes to hard work. Any reputable program requires a certain amount of personal sacrifice and commitment. Below is a list of strategies for success in the online learning environment.

1. Be Organized

This may be the most essential online learning strategy. Online classes make most of your interactions virtual, meaning you need to be responsible for keeping yourself on track. A great way to do this is by developing an organizational system that works for you.

Start by selecting a designated work space. It should be comfortable, quiet and offer few distractions. *Tip: find a place away from beds, children and televisions.

Next, come up with a schedule. What days will you do coursework? How much time will you dedicate to coursework each day? It is OK to make changes in your schedule as you figure out what works best for you.

Besides coming up with a solid work schedule and a designated space, it is important to keep track of your work. Work on developing a system of coursework organization. If you prefer to print out files and have physical copies of some of your work, ensure you have enough paper and ink for your printer and file folders for organizing your work by course. If not, find a way to organize your files online and be sure you keep a backup copy of your work. Remember, it is fine to adjust your organization methods as you go, as long as you start courses with an initial plan to help you get started.

2. Avoid Procrastinating

You may have chosen to complete an online program in order to accommodate your busy schedule. If that is the case, coming up with a plan to help you avoid procrastination is especially important. One online learning strategy to help you avoid procrastination involves keeping a calendar. A calendar can help you space out your work so that you are not stuck completing a big project at the last minute. Late assignments often have a negative effect on your grade. The best way to manage a project is by spacing out your work by following a schedule. Time management is an online learning strategy you need to succeed.

3. Create Balance

A hectic schedule with no downtime may work for a week or two, but most students cannot maintain it. In order to successfully complete an online learning program, you have to maintain a balanced life. Create a list of priorities and make sure that you are dedicating the most time to what you most value. Also, remember to take care of yourself — get the rest you need, maintain a healthy diet and be sure to get enough sleep. It can be hard to do anything well when you have not been taking care of yourself.

4. Be Prepared

Remember that an online program requires an understanding of technology and a certain comfort level with computers. If you do not feel prepared to dive into the world of computers, you may want to consider a technology course or two before signing up for an online program. Once you begin the program, you might want to consider starting with a smaller course load. Give yourself time to adjust to online learning and become acclimated to the rhythm of coursework.

5. Be an Active Participant

Just because an educational program is online, it does not eliminate the need for communication and interaction. Ask questions. Communicate with the instructors. Interact with classmates. The more you get to know your classmates and instructor, the more you will enjoy the experience and be motivated to excel.

Following these online learning strategies can help you meet your goals in an online program. Enjoy the journey!

Learn more about Lamar University online Bachelor of Science in University Studies.

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