The first day of school is always nerve-wracking. You need to be prepared for the semester. If you want to succeed in your classes, you need to have your materials and your mind prepared so you can hit the ground running. It is no different with an online degree program.
You may not have to worry about having a backpack, lunchbox or protractor, but you should have your computer and your home office prepared to help you succeed. Here are some steps you can take to be ready for your first class:
1. Look at your Syllabus:
It is wise to check out the syllabi for all your classes as soon as they are made available to you so that you can get an idea of how the classes will work. Some instructors may also ask you to do a particular assignment as prep work.
2. Prepare your Computer:
Your computer is obviously the most important tool for starting online classes. Make sure this tool is in working order for the upcoming semester. Defrag your system and delete any unneeded files so you have enough storage space for all the semester’s documents and resources. If you intend to do video conferencing, make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements and is loaded with the webcam and any software your online program requires.
3. Set up your Study Space:
Working from home is notoriously difficult for many people. When you are at home, your brain goes into “home” mode, and it is hard to get yourself to focus and go into “work” mode. Set up a desk or other space where you go when it is time to do school-related work. Get in the habit of turning off the TV and studying in silence, or if you require background noise, play instrumental music that won’t distract you.
4. Reading Materials:
In an online school you will obviously be reading a lot of text from the internet. Doing all this reading on a computer screen can get tiresome, so you might want to consider other alternatives. If you are the type of person that really likes to have a hard copy to work with, you will need a printer and plenty of paper and ink so you can print out your readings and annotate them.
5. Plan out a Weekly Schedule:
Getting a degree online can allow your schedule to be flexible. You don’t have a bunch of classes you have to be at every day, so managing your time is left up to you. The biggest trap college students fall prey to procrastination. You can combat this by giving yourself deadlines. Write out a weekly schedule where you assign your time to doing your readings and assignments for each class. Include time to post on class discussion boards. Sticking to this schedule can keep you from falling behind and feeling overwhelmed at the end of the semester.