Despite once being looked down upon with skepticism, online learning is becoming an increasingly popular way to get your degree. Studying online has been made even more popular by the COVID19 pandemic as more schools had to find a safe alternative for students who were in the middle of their program when the coronavirus pandemic caused closures and lockdowns around the world. However, online study has been around since pre-COVID times and is likely to continue to grow in popularity into the future. It is an ideal choice for people who want to get a degree from a college or university that they cannot relocate to, along with being useful for students who need to continue working and upholding other commitments while they are studying. Online learning offers more flexibility and is often cheaper since being able to study from home with all the resources that you need online means that students can avoid paying for commuting, relocation, equipment, and more.
However, online degree study does have some downsides – and one of these is that it’s entirely up to the student to make sure that they succeed. Some students might struggle to stay motivated when they have the option to study whenever they like from home, without the structure of classes or their peers around them to hold them accountable. It is hard to deny that getting an online degree can be an ideal, flexible option for students in a wide range of situations – but if you’re planning to do this, what can you do to keep yourself motivated and make sure that you stay on track?
Choose the Right Degree Program
First of all, it’s important to make sure that you are going to be enrolled on the right degree program for you. Put a lot of thought into the degree that you want to study. Today, there are more options for programs that you can study online at St. Bonaventure University including options for nursing, business, counseling, journalism, teaching, and much more. The main thing to consider is how passionate you are about the subject that you are going to be taking. Choose your online degree based on your interests and your plans for the future, rather than only considering what might have good prospects. Good prospects alone are not always enough for success, as you need to have a genuine interest in what you are studying, or you may struggle to motivate yourself to spend time on it. This could be something that you are already knowledgeable about and want to learn more or a subject that you are new to but have always had an interest in.
Choose the Right School
Along with getting your choice of online degree program right, the school that you’re studying with can make all the difference when it comes to how motivated you are to succeed with your online degree. More and more colleges and universities are now offering online degree programs as a result of the COVID19 pandemic, which is great. However, this has also led to an influx of online programs that are run by schools without much experience of distance learning. Ideally, you should choose to study at an online school that has a lot of online learning experience. This will help you make sure that you have the right support from your school and access to the resources that you need to stay on track. Before choosing the right online school for you, do some research into their reputation, especially when it comes to online programs. Find out more about how much support you can expect to receive as a student and the type of resources and facilities that you are going to have access to. If you can, try and get in touch with past and current students to find out more about their experience with the school.
Create a Space for Studying at Home
While you can get started with an online degree from anywhere with a laptop and an internet connection, you’re probably going to lose motivation quickly if you are studying from your sofa and surrounded by distractions.
Treat your online degree study like you would working from home and dedicate a space in your home to be your study area. If you are already working remotely and have an office, this can be an ideal place to study as well as most people set up their home office away from the distractions of the home. If you don’t work from home, a spare bedroom, basement, or other room in your home that’s not right at the heart of all the activity might be an ideal option for you.
For those in smaller houses or apartments without a dedicated space to set up, consider a corner of your kitchen or bedroom, and ask any housemates or members of your family to avoid coming into the area when you are studying to keep distractions to a minimum.
Plan a Study Schedule
Once you have found the right online degree for your goals and a school where you feel supported and have access to the resources that you need to succeed, the rest is up to you. Most online students find that getting into a regular routine with their studies can help a lot. Instead of studying as and when you feel that you have the time to, setting aside time each day to study can help you get into a new habit and be more likely to stick at it for the duration of your degree program, which will ultimately help you stay on track with assignments and other work.
Spend some time going over your regular schedule before you start and identify any times of the day where normally you don’t have much going on; these are usually ideal times to study when you are getting your degree online. Some online students who are also working full-time prefer to do a couple of hours study in the evenings after work and take the weekend off, while others don’t mind studying more on the weekends if it means that they get to relax in the evenings after work. Ultimately, it all comes down to you and what your preferences are.
Consider the times of day that you are usually more alert and focused – some people might get more done if they get up early to study, while others might find that they are better able to study and take in information in the afternoon or evening.
Ask for Flexible Working
With more and more employers switching to flexible working as a result of the COVID19 pandemic, there’s never been a better time to ask for a more flexible working schedule if you are an online student. If your degree choice is mainly so that you can progress in your current career, then asking your employer for more support is definitely recommended since your degree qualification will not only benefit you but them too. Many employers who know that they are going to have a better qualified and more highly skilled employee as a result are happy to offer flexible working to make things easier for you while you complete your degree. But even if you’re taking an online degree to completely change careers, with more employers adding flexible working schedules to their list of benefits, it’s always worth asking for.
Take Regular Breaks
Getting an online degree can be a lot of hard work, especially if you are also working full-time while you are studying, on top of looking after your family and any other commitments that you might have. Studying and working full-time, at the same time, can often leave you feeling like you don’t have much time to do anything else in your life, which is just one reason why sticking to a schedule is so important But when you put your study schedule together, don’t forget the importance of taking regular breaks.
Just like it’s important to take a break for a few minutes after you have been studying for an hour or two, it’s important to have a day a week at least to yourself where you don’t have work or studies to worry about. While taking time away from it all might seem counterproductive, it will, in fact, help you avoid getting burned out and may even help you get better results when you can return to your studies well-rested after having some time away.
Working full-time and studying full-time for an online degree is not impossible, but it can be quite daunting. It’s always better to do this with support rather than all on your own, so it’s good to know who you can turn to. Most good colleges offer student support services where you can get advice or talk to somebody if you are feeling overwhelmed. Get support in your personal life, too – be honest with your family members and friends who want to see you succeed and accept any offers to help you out.
While studying online has a lot of benefits, it can also be hard to keep yourself motivated. Keep these tips in mind if you’re considering getting an online degree and want to stay motivated throughout.