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99 Tips For Being An Awesome Online Degree Student

Online Learning

Posted by Mary Beth Erskine on Jan 8, 2015 5:57:00 PM

It's a New Year and a new term. Whether you’re just starting your online degree program, or you're an online learning veteran, these tips will help you achieve success.

Saint-Leo-University-OnlineWho doesn’t love articles with lists? Especially self-help lists of tips, tricks, and how-to's.

Just glance at the magazine rack while you’re in the check-out line at the grocery store: 16 Ways to Lose Weight Fast; 8 Tips to Look 10 Years Younger; 12 Ways to Cook Vegetables Your Family Will Love.

Lists are easy to read. They get right to the point.

And, most importantly, lists offer the promise that we can make changes that will improve our lives.

The following list of 99 tips for being an awesome online student may not be life changing. And they certainly won't get your kids to eat their greens. But hopefully, you will find at least a few ideas that will help you be successful in your online degree program.


Make Education a Priority

1. Create a study space.

2. Evaluate your schedule and tweak your routine at the beginning of each term.

3. Work even when you don’t feel like it.

4. Join a student club or association. Attend the meetings. Take a leadership role.

5. Be accountable. Find someone who knows your goals and can help hold you responsible for reaching them.

6. Complete assignments early.

7. Check e-mail and announcements daily.

8. Maintain regular contact with your academic advisor.

9. Become knowledgeable about university academic programs, policies, and procedures that affect you.

10. Take the time to post thoughtful, detail discussion board replies. They do count toward your grade.

11. Turn off all social media when you are online doing coursework.

12. Ask. Don’t guess.

13. While working at home, close the door when distractions abound and don’t open it until you can check something off your to-do list.

14. Attend all of your classes all of the time.

15. Get to know your professors. Communicate with them regularly.

16. Finish assignments a day in advance.

17. When doing schoolwork, close every browser window that you don’t need for completing the assignment.

18. Talk with your professors about assignments to gain clarity and direction.

19. Plan to finish each term strong by building additional study time into your schedule.

20. Be resourceful. Investigate academic and student support services and take advantage of them.

21. Shoot for making the Dean's List every term.

Sharpen Your Academic Skills

22. Write something every day.

23. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get free tutoring when you need it.

24. Learn how to ace a multiple-choice test.

25. Don’t be satisfied with the first draft. Edit. Edit again.

26. Play classical music when you study.

27. Follow a study routine.

28. Listen to podcasts that relate to your field of study.

29. Use Evernote to capture ideas.

30. Mentor someone else.

31. Take advantage of research and writing support.

32. Write simply. Limit use of adjectives and adverbs.

33. Attend academic webinars such as those offered through clubs and associations.

34. Read all papers out loud or have someone else read your paper before final editing.

35. Contact your Learning Resource Center to learn critical test-taking techniques.

36. Read with purpose. Look at assignments and discussion post topics before you start reading for the week so you know what to look for.

37. Read great literature.

38. Proofread everything, making sure every word is spelled correctly and re-reading the assignment to make sure you haven’t left anything out.

39. Take time to let your mind wander before you write.

40. Read and print the syllabus for each course at the beginning of the term.

41. Stay current on what’s going on in your discipline by subscribing to blogs and bookmarking professional websites.


Be Organized

42. Make the most difficult task on your to-do list for the day your first priority.

43. Practice good time management.

44. Prioritize assignments each week: reading, discussion posts, written assignments.

45. Make daily, weekly and long-term to-do lists and keep them visible.

46. Keep a pad and pen in the car to jot down tasks that occur to you when you’re out.

47. Use of “free” minutes by keeping a textbook or course materials with you when waiting for appointments or in the car pool line.

48. Make to-do lists. Keep items specific and realistic by breaking large tasks into small chunks.

49. Check things off your list once they are finished.

50. Stay motivated by giving yourself rewards for completing certain tasks.

51. Use the calendar setting on your phone to set reminders about deadlines.

52. Divide up large projects into manageable tasks and develop intermediate deadlines.

53. Never miss a due date.

54. Create short-cuts on your computer to take you directly to folders you need.

55. Use your smartphone to make a voice recording of ideas that hit you at random moments.

56. Download and use a to-do-list management app like Astrid to your smartphone.

57. Pay attention to assignment guidelines.

58. If you get stuck, do something mindless: wash the dishes, step outside.

59. Avoid multitasking. Focus on one task or assignment at a time.


Take Care of Yourself

60. Set and try to follow a regular sleeping schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

61. Eat right, especially during exam time and when papers are due.

62. Embrace all your emotions, the joyful moments, the painful ones, and everything in between knowing that life is not perfect, but it is good.

63. Learn to be comfortable with uncertainty and discomfort.

64. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning.

65. Drink plenty of water.

66. Exercise.

67. Know when you need a break – and take it.

68. Reward yourself in some small way when you complete a task.

69. Disconnect from technology for a short period every day.

70. Reflect on how you spend your time so you can better prioritize.

71. Remember that all advice does not work for all people.

72. Create time for solitude.

73. Realize it's okay to say “no.”

74. Smile often.

75. Pay your bills on time.

76. When you get stressed, take a “mini vacation”— go the movies or take a walk in the park.

77. Remind yourself that happiness isn’t outside yourself; it comes from within.

78. Make performing random acts of kindness a habit.

79. Find gratitude; count your blessings.

80. Take two minutes every day to sit still and focus on your breathing. Nothing else.

81. Use the time when you are at your best mentally and physically for challenging work and the time when you have less energy for mindless tasks.


Develop a Can-Do Mindset

82. Embrace technology.

83. Believe in yourself.

84. Pray or meditate for a few moments every day.

85. Focus on the present.

86. Surround yourself with people who believe in you.

87. Be okay with going outside your comfort zone.

88. Persevere.

89. Change what you can and accept what you can’t.

90. Remember why you went back to school in the first place.

91. Face your fears.

92. Be curious.

93. Let go of expectations so that you keep an open mind.

94. When making big changes or tackling huge tasks, concentrate on the step in front of you.

95. As Kenny Rogers says in “The Gambler,” know when to walk away.

96. Embrace the struggle. If you wait for perfect conditions before you embark on a new challenge you may never get started.

97. Accept criticism and grow from it.

98. Know your passion. It’s a lot easier to stay motivated and focused if you’re passionate about your vision for your life.

99. When starting out, realize that you need time to adjust. Give yourself time to adapt to new routines.

What other tips for being an awesome online student would you add?


Image Credit:
SFerdon on Shutterstock

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Topics: Study Skills

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