10 Habits of Highly Successful Online College Students

successful student habitsWhy is it that some people enter college and make it to graduation and others don’t? It’s because some students understand what it takes to be successful and other do not. If you are planning on enrolling in an online college this fall, it’s important that you understand what it will take to make it to graduation. Here are ten habits of highly successful online college students:

1. Organization

On the very first day of class, print out each class’s syllabus and add important due dates to any type of planner that you decide to use. There are several great class scheduling apps available on both iOS and Android! Don’t make the mistake of keeping a different calendar for every facet of your life; you’re guaranteed to miss appointments! Instead, keep all of your appointments, assignments and other important dates in one place.

2. Attend Class

Attending class online is a bit different than attending class at a brick and mortar college. Make sure that you sit through any online lectures, watch assigned videos and take part in any chats or forums that are required. Once you start skipping class or glossing over assignments, it can quickly become a habit. The more classes you skip, the further behind you’ll get. Skipping just one class, or online lecture, can mean that you miss valuable information that you might just see on an exam!

3. Plan Time to Study

Many people choose online schools because of other obligations. If you work full-time or have children, be sure to schedule specific times to study. If you don’t schedule time for yourself to complete assignments, read your texts and study your notes, you’ll find that you’ve reached the end of the week and have to cram it all in. Completing your assignments a few days ahead of time will also prevent them from being late due to technical glitches on the college’s end.

4. Set Study Goals

Set goals for yourself before you sit down to study. Setting goals will help you stay focused and allow you to track the progress that you’ve made. For instance, make it your goal to read one chapter per day and review your notes for 30 minutes each night. When you set study goals, you are more apt to get things done!

5. Reduce Distractions

Make sure that your friends and family know that you are in school and take it very seriously. Ask them to not interrupt you during your scheduled study time, and ask them to be understanding if you have to forego functions and activities from time to time. You’ll undoubtedly find that some of your friends soon stop asking you to do things altogether. When this happens, remind yourself that your real friends are those who are supporting you, not the ones who abandon you.

6. Join a Study Group

Students often find that they benefit by joining study groups. If you don’t live close enough to any of your classmates to meet in a central location, utilize Skype and hold a study session online. Skype is free to download onto your computer or mobile device and incredibly easy to use. If you aren’t comfortable using Skype, try one of the many instant messenger programs that are available. You can also try a conference call! There are several ways to hold a study group; the important thing is that you are all able to discuss your material and share ideas.

7. Use College Resources

Take advantage of any resources available through your online campus. Math Labs, academic advisers and tutoring centers can all help you make it through to graduation. If you need help or advice, there is always someone that you can contact for guidance via phone, chat or email. If you aren’t sure what resources your college offers, contact the student life or admissions office for more information.

8. Get Help

Never wait until the last minute to ask for help! One of the benefits of online schooling is the ability to contact professors almost immediately. You have access to your professors through email, and sometimes chat, without having to wait for set office hours. Always seek help before you fall behind; at that point it may be too late. If you can’t get in touch with your professor, try asking a classmate for assistance. They may not be your first choice, but they may very well be able to answer your questions.

9. Finish Hard Projects First

Don’t put off your most difficult projects! If you procrastinate, you risk running out of time. Get your biggest, most important projects done at the beginning of the week. Not only will you have enough time but you’ll make sure that any technical glitches can be resolved by your due date. Experts call this “Eating Frogs”! If you were given two frogs to eat, you’d eat the ugliest one first to get it out of the way. Treat your assignments the same way! If you save your big projects for the end of the week, or even the end of the term, you’ll invariably find that you’ve run out of time.

10. Get a Sitter

Recruit friend and family to babysit the kids for a couple of hours once a week. Getting the kids out of the house will remove distractions and allow you to really focus on your work. This could be particularly helpful when you have a large project that requires your undivided attention! Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help; you may be surprised at just how supportive they are.

If you have the ability to discipline yourself, you will be successful in an online learning environment. Organize yourself, plan your study time and seek help when you need it! If you can follow these tips, you’ll make it through to graduation!

Geri Mckay writes full-time for education blogs nationwide. She writes for www.ufl.edu where you can find out more about masters degree music.