Earning a college degree online is not for everyone. Although the flexibility and freedom sound great, online learning requires a special skill set that not everyone can put into practice. Do you have what it takes? Check yourself against the following 10 traits of successful online learners:
1) You can stick to a schedule.
Creating a monthly calendar with times blocked out for study and assignments and adhering to it without exception is the path to scholastic success. If you’re more of a “go with the flow” personality, this might be your biggest challenge. Use the calendar on your phone or computer, or keep a poster-sized, paper “month at a glance” on your desktop or wall to stay on top of assignments.
2) You’re naturally organized.
If it’s just in your DNA to make to-do lists, jot down ideas as they occur to you, keep a notepad beside your bed, and ranks tasks in the order of highest priority — you’re a natural for online learning.
3) You’re self-disciplined.
Students who log in to classes and discussion forums every day are the most successful. It helps you stay on top of syllabus changes, advises U.S. News & World Report. If you have a hard time saying no to friends and family when they want to hang out with you or bend your ear for an hour, it’s time to brush up on your boundary-setting skills.
4) You’re not a procrastinator.
Never one to leave an assignment or task until the last minute, you do not work better with a due date breathing down your neck, unlike deadline junkies.
5) You can resist online temptations.
It’s easy for you to ignore email, social media, and your favorite news and sports sites when you’ve got more important things to do.
6) You’re willing to ask for help.
Whether you’re falling behind in a class or unable to get all of your laundry done on Sunday, you have no trouble reaching out to your instructors or a family member for help.
7) You maximize spare time.
If a lunch date keeps you waiting alone at the table for 15 minutes, or your dentist is running a half hour behind, you seize every extra moment to study. You always carry reading material with you for just such opportunities.
8) You know how to focus.
Reducing distractions to fully concentrate on schoolwork enhances your efficiency and accuracy. Some students need absolute silence and rely on earplugs, headphones, or quiet environments such as libraries. Others need a certain kind of music playing to get them into the study zone. Knowing exactly what you need for maximum focus is key.
9) You’re self-motivated and self-directed.
No one has to pump you up or push you to get things done. You have a strong internal motivating system and take great pride in your accomplishments. You’re accountable to yourself, and rarely break your commitments.
10) You value freedom and flexibility.
Online degree programs let you fit education into your already-busy life. If you’ve got a full-time job, a family, and extracurricular commitments that are important to you, earning your degree at your own pace using a schedule that works for you is the ultimate convenience.
If you believe you have what it takes to be an online student, check out 5 Important Things to Know Before You Take an Online Class.