Academic Advice: The Top 5 Online College Tips

Picture of Academic Advice: The Top 5 Online College Tips

At California Coast University, our applicants and new students ask us for tips on how to be successful with online learning. While there are more similarities between online and traditional brick and mortar schools than differences, there are some important considerations when deciding on the type of school to attend. When attending college online, there is a great deal to keep track of. Online learning is very convenient, but it comes with its own obstacles that must be overcome. Few degrees worth having come easy.

The good news is that online learning can be made easier with the following tips we have listed below. Join us as we review some of the best online college practices for keeping focused and landing good grades.

#1: Study Your Course Materials

This tip is a simple one and yet a surprising number of students don't do it. If you want to guarantee a good grade in your course, you need to study.

This goes beyond reading what is needed to do your homework. If a text is assigned, read it. There isn't any downside to doing so beyond the time commitment.

These materials will help you master what is required of you and gauge where you might be weak. If something confuses you, it's time to review that part of the course or even talk with an outside mentor or tutor. 

Studying is about memory and recall. You need enough time to really absorb what you're reviewing. If you rush studying or skip it entirely, you're going to miss key information that the course is meant to deliver to you.

#2: Be Your Own Boss (and Be a Good One)

When taking an online course, it's easy to get lost in the weeds. Online classes often have an element of anonymity some students aren't used to. 

In high school, most students have little control. They are told when to get up, when to go to school, and what to do. Much of this isn't true when it comes to online learning.

You need to be your own boss, making sure to check your assignments, and any announcements your professor makes. If you drop the ball, it's usually you who is to blame and it could cost you points off your grade.

Attending college online means freedom and convenience, but it also means discipline. Pay close attention to what a course requires of you and deliver what is asked.

#3: Budget Yourself Enough Time

Budgeting your time isn't always easy. College students often must live a double life, working to pay the bills while also needing to do course work and study. 

That said, college requires some of your time. Whatever else you intend to do in your life, you must remember to budget some time for coursework.

We won't deny some classes are harder than others; not every class takes a great deal out of your day to pass. However, when it comes to tougher classes or bigger assignments such as essays, time management is key.

As a good rule of thumb, finish your work as early as you can. This will give you more time to do it if there is an issue, more time to check it when you're done, and help you better predict how the rest of your time can be spent.

#4: Choose a Good School

There's an uncomfortable truth about online schools we don't want to ignore. Many online colleges are scams; some don't even give out accredited degrees.

If you're going down the online learning path, there are good options to choose from. We include ourselves on that list too (and we have the testimonials backing that up).

Before you sign up for the first college you look at, do some research to make sure they offer what you need. Because you don't need to travel, you have many options to choose from; you don't need to rush. This may sound like odd advice coming from an online college, but we believe in our programs. If you research our school and our staff, we think you'll see why we're confident.

Most importantly, make sure the school you are considering is accredited. You can search the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to find out if a school is accredited. To become accredited, a college or university must be evaluated by a recognized accrediting agency as having met established education standards.  

#5: Contact Your Student Success Advisor as Needed

In an online program, the truth is that you are somewhat anonymous. Many schools will only know a small bit about you. They will grade your assignments and may otherwise assume you're doing what is required without issue.

Some students thrive in this setting, but others worry they won't have a chance to ask questions or get clarification. Luckily, there is an easy solution to this. Contact your Student Success Advisor!

If something is confusing you or you are having an issue, contacting your Student Success Advisor can make a huge difference. It can help the school understand your personal struggles and they can often present solutions to any issues you're having.

That said, remember to read your syllabus and assignments first. But if you can't find it anywhere, your Student Success Advisor is sure to know what you need.

We Hope These Online College Tips Serve You Well

These have been just a few online college tips to help you land good grades and reduce your academic stress. College may not be easy but it also does not have to be hard.

As a sort of bonus tip and a thread present throughout this list, remember not to procrastinate! Whether it is doing your work or asking questions, do it early for the best chance of success.

If you'd like to learn more about California Coast University and our programs, you may request it here. You can also call or email us using the information on that same page. We look forward to hearing from you!


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