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 for online college students 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.
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. It will be easiest for you to slowly figure out what environment you best function in during study sessions.
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. It may also be helpful to find a space that is going to ensure that you are most productive. So, this may not include a space where there is TV, family, or other distractions. Just remember, a study space that works for you probably won’t work for your friends. So, don’t get discouraged if you’re struggling to find what works for you.
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 from your favorite coffee shop or run a quick errand. Just because you don’t have to leave your house for remote learning doesn’t mean you should spend your entire day inside!
Going about your day as usual, minus the commute to 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. While your schooling will primarily be completed at home, don’t forget to be interactive with your classmates or friends. If you know some friends that are in your area, plan virtual study dates or quick breaks with them throughout your day! Be sure to include this in your normal routine so you don’t mess up your daily balance of work.
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. One of the best tips for college students is to eat at home. Eating at home is also a good way to save money, so try to stay away from the tempting lure of food delivery apps.
If you find yourself with short time throughout the day to make healthy meals, consider meal planning or “packing” your lunch. While you will be at home, it doesn’t hurt to prepare your snacks and meals in advance. That way if you have a full day of school work, you can quickly grab your meal and enjoy it without all the hustle of preparing.
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. It can also be difficult to stay away from social media. You can waste immense amounts of time scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, so be mindful of where your phone is and make sure to put it away to maximize your study time.
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 and face to face time is a good thing, if it is positive and productive. If you know of a classmate who is studying from home, don’t be afraid to 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. It can also be helpful to make a set study schedule each week. This can be helpful in managing your time effectively and keeping up with your work. 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. If you have a large due date, reward yourself. Your rewards could be a longer break, a snack, social media time, or calling a friend.
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%! Be sure to continue to check your planner or to-do list throughout the day. This will ensure you don’t miss deadlines or skip important assignments.
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. These are just some easy tips for you to excel in college. Good luck!