By Tera Voss, NU Scholar (July 2018 Cohort)
Bachelor of Science, Nursing
Ah, the joys of modern technology. How amazing is it that we can get an education at home? If you’re like me, your life is busy. You may have chosen to go to college in the not-so-traditional way, and now you have kids, work, and a house to maintain. Or perhaps you’re fresh out of high school, and an online class is a whole new world for you. I’m here to tell you the major benefits of online classes, as well as tips for being just as successful as you would be on campus.
1. Freedom to schedule your days as you please.
There’s something to be said for attending class in the comfort of your own home, in your pajamas. Seriously, I consider this a very valuable gift. If you’re a morning person, you can get your schoolwork done in the morning. If you’re a night owl, you can go about your day, and attend to your classwork at night. This is the beauty of online classes. You have the freedom to decide when you “go to class.” But be cautious: self-discipline is the key to success in managing your workload from home. Choose the best time for you and commit to it.
Tip for Success: Get yourself a planner (or Google Calendar if you prefer paperless). Go through your syllabus as soon as it is available to you, and write down all of your deadlines for assignments. Always plan ahead, and work ahead when you can!
2. More time spent at home with family.
This is my personal favorite factor of online classes. I am a single mom to a toddler. Not only do I need eyes on her at all times (because she’s really into exploring everything right now), but the time I spend with her is valuable, and I can never get it back. Even if you’re not a parent, work-life balance is so important. Online classes allow you to be home, be present, and still accomplish your goals.
Tip for Success: Make sure your family understands that you need to set aside uninterrupted time for school, and work with them to find out what time is best to accomplish this (for me, I work when my daughter sleeps). Having everyone be on the same page makes for a much smoother and more productive day.
3. No commuting. Ever.
Who doesn’t love to save on gas? Who doesn’t love attending their desired school while living in another state? Who doesn’t love traveling!? This is such a cool thing about technology. We can learn and work towards a degree, and the classmates who participate and interact with each other can be anywhere in the world, so long as they have internet and computer access. This is especially beneficial for are active duty military, military families, or anyone who has to travel often.
Tip for Success: If you’re on-the-go, try uploading your school schedule to an app, and make sure you can access email and other important class information from your phone.
The most important thing to remember about online classes, and college classes in general, is that the level of success you achieve is entirely up to you, and the effort you put in. My hope is that these tips will guide you in a positive direction, and you will feel confident in forging the path of online class success.