3 Ways to Become Involved with Campus Life if You Study Online

Being an online student means being able to get your degree without ever having to leave your living room. This convenience lets you balance work and family life without worrying about things like transportation, parking, overcrowded lecture halls, going outside in bad weather, and actually having to set aside the time for being in class at a designated point. The big downside is there's little involvement in campus life, which is one point students repeatedly say contributes to the whole college experience. But just because you're an online student doesn't mean you're completely excluded from taking part of campus life, and here are 3 ways how.

Write for the School Paper

There are some topics you just won't be able to write about unless you're there in person, like covering sporting events or rallies and protests. That's a small part of what happens on campus, though, and certainly doesn't comprise the whole paper. One of the biggest concerns of students is rising tuition and the quality of education their dollars actually pay for, and that's something you can report on from home. And if you have a cell phone — which almost everyone does — you can easily conduct phone interviews to add spice to the story.

If Not the Paper, then a Blog

Some schools may be stingy with their requirements of who can actually write for the paper, such as only in-person or journalism students. Fair enough. The school paper can do what it'd like, but there are still options for you. Just about every college has an associated blog written by students so others can get a firsthand look of what it's actually like to study there, and offering your online experiences is an excellent way to show that. And if you encounter any resistance, just (politely) point out the fact that online education is growing at a 10:1 rate as compared to in-person education, and you can offer valuable insight as to the benefits of it.

Become a Mentor for Other Online Students

Except for the supremely motivated, most online students have no doubt run into the wall of motivation where they're thisclose to giving up on the course entirely. Keeping going is a tough slog when you can't see the other students in your class, and can only act as cheerleaders for each other through a glass screen. As a result, the majority of online students — but not you! — don't finish the online course they started.

But since you're the successful exception to this statistic, why not share your experience with others? Check with your college to see what kind of mentorship program they have and volunteer your name with it. Colleges are eager to keep ahead of the competition and understand online education is going to be a huge component of it, and you can be part of the coming tide.

Visit the Campus if You Can

If you live 1,000 miles away from campus, visiting is probably not an option for you. But if you live closer and can swing a drive down there, then see what the campus is like. And if you can afford a bit of a trip (like if you have family in the area), then stay for a few days. This is the college that will be giving you a degree so you can get ahead in the world, and you're no doubt curious to see what it's like in person. Spend a few hours studying in the library, check out a football or basketball game, and eat the (usually bad) food on campus. It'll really help solidify the experience and give you extra motivation to keep going.