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Keys to Succeeding with Online Courses

ID-100124332Online degree programs offer freedom and flexibility, making them perfect for people with numerous time commitments, such as jobs and families. But, the exact things that are so great about these programs can be the kiss of death for people with low self-motivation, poor time management and a tendency to procrastinate. If you know you need some work in becoming a more ideal online student, here are some tips to help you succeed.

Designate a Dedicated Study Area

One of the best things about going to school online is that you can do your work pretty much anywhere, whether it is your living room or the local coffee shop. One of the challenges with online schooling is getting into ‘’school mode’’, which is much easier to accomplish when you are attending live classes, and have a variety of purely academic settings available to do your schoolwork, like the student center or campus library. As someone who attended classes online, I found just studying anywhere did not work for me. Choosing a designated spot to do my work helped shift me into the right mode. Maybe it can be a particular spot in your house, or a little cubby at your local library. There is no one best spot, but make sure it is an area where distractions are minimized and you will have some modicum of privacy. If you elect one spot as your ‘’school spot,’’ you will be amazed at how much better you are able to focus on your studies.

Embrace the Power of a Written Schedule

Sometimes the simplest things can make the biggest difference in our lives; writing down a schedule is one of them, and will be a great help to you in pursuit of an online degree. You have a lot of work to do, and trying to fit it in with the rest of you r life can seem overwhelming; you will lament that you do not have enough time. But, while things may be packed tight, the truth of the matter is, poor use of time, not lack of it, is the real issue. Put your life on paper. Write out a daily schedule in 30 minute chunks of time—fill in all the non-negotiables first, like your working hours. Then see what is left. Your school work needs to become part of that schedule, not something to fit in around all the other ‘’stuff.’’ Set times to study, read, and start that research paper.


The ability to motivate yourself is crucial for succeeding with online degree programs—you, and no one else is calling the shots, and if you cannot make yourself do something, it is not getting done. One of the most powerful techniques is getting clear on your ‘’why.’’ Why are you getting this degree?Do you want to advance your career? Do you want to make more money to create a better life for your children? Will this degree allow you to pursue your dream job? Whatever the reasons are, list them all out, until you get at the core desires. This will motivate you when you are feeling less than thrilled with this choice. If procrastination is a problem, really think of the consequences of putting off your schoolwork until some undetermined date in the future—I assure you it is more unpleasant than tackling the work now even if it the last thing you want to do.


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