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7 Tips For College Students To Excel In Online Courses

March 23, 2020

Student working on computer.


With increasing technology and online abilities, being an online student is becoming more common. Online college holds amazing opportunities for students to pursue a higher education and get an online degree all from the comfort of their own home.

However, it can be difficult to stay focused on school while working outside a traditional classroom and in an area where you typically watch TV or sleep. That being said, we've compiled a list of tips to help make sure you stay successful in online classes. Along with helpful tips, we have also come up with places to study for your online classes.

Want to take these tips with you? Download the checklist for how to be a successful online college student at the end.

Online student's study space.

1. Have a study space

Having a dedicated study place is key for online learners. We hate to break it to you, but your bed is probably not the best idea when you’re trying to get stuff done.

Now, you don’t need a whole room or a big fancy set up for your dedicated space. All you need is a desk or table, your computer, a good chair, and the supplies you need. Remember: comfortable, but functional.

2. Keep a morning routine

It is important to keep a good morning routine. Set an alarm, shower, eat a good breakfast, and maybe grab a coffee or run a quick errand. Just because you don’t have to leave your house for remote learning, that  doesn’t mean you should spend your entire day inside! Going about your day as usual, minus the commute school, is a great way to increase motivation and creativity, and can also help you feel more accomplished after your online school day is over.


Male college student eating a healthy snack.

3. Eat healthy foods/snacks

Being able to eat lunch and snacks at home is a great perk of being an online student. Just make sure that you’re sticking to the healthiest options, snacking around on too much junk food can increase laziness and sometimes lead to an upset stomach. Eating at home is also a good way to save money, so try to stay away from the tempting lure of food delivery apps.


4. Stay away from distractions

Keeping your distances between those pesky distractions may be the hardest part about taking classes from home. It may be relatively easy to distance yourself from watching TV or sending text messages, but how do you distance yourself from unproductive browsing on the computer you’re working from? The answer: you can’t.

This is where you need to hold yourself accountable and really do your best to stay on task while completing your remote work. Staying away from friends, family members, and pets is also quite difficult, especially if you still live with your family or roommates, solitude may be hard to find.


Two college students working together on homework.

5. Work with others who are doing the same as you

Although we said to stay away from distractions such as friends, sometimes a little social interaction is a good thing, if it is positive and productive. If you know of a classmate who is studying from home, consider video-calling or messaging them for opinions, help, and advice on the course material you’re working on.

This kind of system is also a great way to make sure you both are staying on top of your responsibilities. It is also a good idea to email your professors or academic advisers if you need any assistance. Just because they’re not in the same room doesn’t mean they’re out of reach!


6. Make a plan

The best way to hold yourself accountable when taking classes online is by having a plan and sticking to it. Invest in a good calendar, planner, and notebook and use it as a time management tool! Keep up with writing down your scheduled time for online learning, goals, study time, and to-do lists, and remember to check them off when you’re done. Keeping up with a realistic plan can also help manage stress.

It is also important that you set hours for yourself. Although the freedom of online school is thrilling, it can get out of hand very quickly. Try to figure out when your productivity period is and base your hours around that.


7. Establish a reward system

Establishing a reward system can be exactly what you need to stay on task without wearing yourself out. Remember those to-do lists and goals you set earlier? Section those off evenly and place rewards throughout the lists. Seeing that you have a snack break or a rest break after you finish a few more tasks can be very motivating! It is also a great way to help you speed up your work, just be sure that your effort is still at 100%!


We hope that these tips help you stay productive while pursuing an online education! Click the button below to print off our handy checklist to help you stay on track while completing online class work. Use it to make sure you’re studying to the best of your ability and hold yourself accountable. Good luck!

Download Checklist




Curious about what you'll be doing after college? Check out How To Find The Perfect Career In Your Major.

Need help staying on task? Visit Tips for Avoiding Procrastination Now (Not Later).