Adjusting to Online College

Online college used to be an option but given today’s climate more schools are moving to virtual learning as the primary method for learning. Understanding how attending class on your laptop differs from a brick and mortar experience is going to help you make the transition with the times, especially if online college was not your original plan. Assuming that virtual learning is the easy way out can create a real problem for students. It is important to understand that the expectations, requirements and good habits that were all a part of earning your education the traditional way still apply in the online arena, and in some ways, they are even more applicable.

Financial Adjustments

Just because your school is transitioning to virtual learning does not necessarily mean that the costs will decrease. Setting your expectations as having to still be financially responsible for your tuition at the same rates that were in place when you were inside the classroom is going to set you up for a better understanding of how to plan for costs moving forward. You can take out student loans from a private lender in order to pay for your education and you can do so without the need for a cosigner to get approval on the loan.

This is helpful information regardless of if you are just starting or already participating in earning your degree because not needing a cosigner means that you get to be in control of your decisions when going through the loan approval process. You will also have the freedom to explore your options without having to be worried about the impact rearranging your loan may have on your cosigner. The privilege of not having to consider anyone else’s wallet when making the important educational decisions that only affect your life is a big one.

Create a New Normal

Understanding the environmental differences between physically attending class and attending online is the foundation of creating successful habits for your new normal. If you are the type of person who thrives on structure and can create it for yourself, you might not have to adjust much. However, if you are the type of person who needs the external accountability of a classroom, attendance, study groups, etc. to be successful, then it is time to create a new normal for yourself. Find a space that you can concentrate and be productive. Maybe that is a certain room or spot in your home, or maybe it is at a coffee shop in your neighborhood, either way be diligent in finding or creating a space that fosters concentration and learning because it can be really easy to fall behind without the accountability of an in person learning opportunity.

If you have a previously established schedule that was working for you, mimic it virtually as much as possible. For example, if you always had a certain class Mondays and Wednesdays at the same time, dedicate that exact window each week to working on your assignments for that same class. This can also create efficiencies in your everyday tasks, because the commute time is eliminated, so you actually gain time in your schedule that can be allocated to other tasks as they relate to your studies.

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