Six Tips for Non-Traditional Online Students

Getting a formal education is said to be easier online, but that's not always the case. The information and work is still the same, but there is a lot more of independent study and online students usually have a lot more going on in their life that they have to find the time to go school and do the work while also taking career of a family or holding down a full-time job. There are some tried and true methods of earning a degree online and getting top marks as a non-traditional student without going bust. Here's some ways that you can make sure your online degree works out for you.

1. Start with Comfort

Wherever your most confident should be your starting point. The classes that you want to take and what you need to graduate don't have to coincide at first. You can start with the easy classes or just look for a degree program that's shorter and offered online. There are accelerated one-year general education online degrees that allow you to get all of the general education credits out of the way and then transfer to a four-year school to get a bachelor's degree. It's best to start with your best foot and see how it goes before getting into a serious four-year program that requires too much time to be worth the hassle.

2. Set Up an Access Point

You definitely need to have a place to study, do school work, and get online in order to take an online degree. Whether you bring your laptop to a free access point such as Starbucks or McDonald's or you have your own home computer, you'll need a stable computer and connection to make this work. Remember that you'll also need word processing programs or graphic design programs, if you're going into digital media. You need to make sure that you'll meet all the requirements of the online degree before applying for admission.

3. Try It Out First

If you're not sure about taking an entire online degree program, why not check out a free online course from some of the top schools around, such as MIT or Harvard? You can also just add an online course to your current degree program and see how it works for you. Plenty of colleges offer online courses and will allow you to replace a course in your schedule if you get in before the registration period is over.

4. Find the Right School

You also want to make sure that you're picking an online educator that has students in mind. This means that the school provides services to its students, the tuition is fair and degree programs are accredited. If you're not sure about a school's accreditation, just call up the registrar's office and ask who the school's accrediting agency is. You can do a quick online search to figure out whether the accreditation is real or not. By default, start with online degrees offered by notable schools in your state, then branch out if you can't find the right online degree program for your interests.

5. Prioritize Your Schedule

You can't get an online degree if you can't make the time. Obviously, you have to study on a daily basis, be ready for examinations and communicate with your teachers. Even if you're working, you'll also still be in school. That means you have to be more strict with yourself about time management. When you have time, you should be completing work or studying for upcoming tests. Part of your schedule should also include talking to your teachers and taking part in class discussions, which could be as simple as just leaving a note on the message board.