Making the decision to embark on a journey to further your education—and your career—is a big commitment. But the time and effort you’ll put in will be worth it as long as you approach your online degree the same way you would if you were physically going to classes. Here are just a few tips for making the most of your online learning experience.
Take ownership of your progress
Pursuing a degree online means you are responsible for setting your own goals and accomplishing them. As you adapt to the demands of online learning, you’ll learn more about yourself and how you work best, therefore increasing your value as a professional in your chosen field. Your professors aren’t there to keep track of attendance or make sure you’re progressing, so it’s essential that you commit yourself to your own success in whatever way makes sense for you.
Make a schedule and stick to it
Online learning may lack a schedule that is set in stone, but that just means you’re free to set your own schedule according to what is most convenient for you. Many online degree students continue to work full or part time while they study, which combined with family and other responsibilities makes for a packed schedule. Even if it seems like there are never enough hours in the day, the flexibility of online degrees will give you the opportunity to develop a routine which will help you stay organized, get things done, and give you a sense of control over your education.
Participate in online discussions
Without the opportunity to meet your classmates in person, online message boards, social media, video conferencing and discussion forums become that much more important to the learning process. Engaging with your fellow students will encourage you to learn from different perspectives, develop your own ideas and become a better-rounded student and professional. The potential for learning goes far beyond course work when you factor in the opportunities for networking that a globally recognized online degree program offers.
Connect with your classmates
Networking is always important, but it’s even more beneficial when your classmates are located all over the globe. Not only will they have insight into how things work in different countries, but they’ll also have connections you would never be able to make all on your own. If going to residencies or offline events is an option for you, make an effort to go and get to know a classmate or two the traditional way—you never know when you might be able to help each other, on and offline.
Put your knowledge to work
One of the great things about online learning is that it can be completed alongside a part-time or full-time job. That means you’ll have the opportunity to apply the things you’re learning in a real-life scenario, sooner rather than later. The more you put your developing skills to use in your current role, the deeper your understanding of core concepts will become.
Make an impression
In an online classroom environment, it’s easy to blend into the background. But your professors are an important resource and networking opportunity. Standing out to your professors will help you capitalize on their experience and connections, not to mention send the message that you’re taking your education seriously. Just because you get less face time than in a traditional classroom setting doesn’t mean you can’t still connect with your teachers and classmates through the myriad of digital tools offered by an online degree program.