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How to Become a Successful Online Student

July 14th, 2010

online-student-success.jpgThe decision to become an online student is not one that should be made lightly. Taking classes online is not at all the same as attending a traditional brick and mortar university. In order to become a successful online student you must have discipline, good time management, and focus. Lacking in one of these areas can pose serious issues during the course that could essentially cause the student to fail. If these skills do not come naturally to you, don’t worry; there are tricks that can be used to help make them a part of your everyday life.

Discipline is quite possibly the most important skill of all in becoming a successful online student. Discipline is not a skill that is easily learned. However, that being said, it is not impossible to train yourself to become more disciplined. Some tips to help get you there are as follows:

  1. Make to-do lists everyday of all the important things that you need to get done. This does not only apply to school work, but to all aspects of your life. Finish your to-do list before indulging in anything fun you may have wanted to do that day. This will help to instill a sense of “responsibilities first, play later.”
  2. Prioritize your list in order from most to least important, and accomplish your tasks in this order. For example, you would want to complete the assignment due the next day before you would complete the assignment due the next week, even if the latter is easier at the time. Pushing through and accomplishing things you may not want to do is part of being disciplined.

Having good time management is essential to being a successful student, online or otherwise. Budgeting your time like you would your finances will ensure that you have enough time to complete anything you may have needed to accomplish that day. To help yourself get into the habit of managing your time well, try the following:

  1. Make a schedule and stick to it. Plan out your day, taking into account any school work that is due. To make it easier on yourself, purchase a planner that has a day-by-day breakdown and an hourly breakdown, and block out a few hours each day to get your school work done.
  2. In addition to setting aside the time for your studies, it is advisable to always set aside the same block of time each day. Completing your school work at the same time will help to train your mind to focus on your school rather than other things you may have going on.

Focus is the last of the three important skills that are needed to become a successful online student. Without focus, you will find yourself getting nowhere. Procrastination is the enemy of all students, and you will need to focus on the tasks at hand in order to beat procrastination.

  1. Sticking to your schedule will help you to maintain your focus. As previously stated, following a set schedule for your school time will help to train your mind to know when it needs to study.
  2. Taking frequent short breaks is another way to keep your focus. After staring at a screen for so long, it is easy for your mind to start to wander. Take five to ten minute breaks every hour or so to give your mind a rest, get a snack, do a chore or two, or just lie on the couch and rest your eyes. After the break you should feel more refreshed and ready to keep studying.
  3. Work in an environment that allows you to concentrate. Trying to do your school work with the television running or with your kids playing in the background is not an environment that will be conducive to successful learning. Instead, try to work in a quiet, well lit environment.

Now that you are equipped with the tools and tips that are necessary to become a successful online student, you are well on your way to creating a better, brighter future for yourself. While these values can be difficult to follow at first, if you stick with them you will find that they become second nature after only a short while.

This article was supplied by Shanna Pena from Constant Content.

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