Monday, February 21, 2011

Top 10 Tips to Succeeding in an Online Course

If you want to be successful in an online course then make sure that you note these tips.

Are you taking your first ever class online? Or have you taken classes before but only done moderately well in them? It isn’t always easy to succeed in online classes. However, with some top tips in mind, it’s possible to be successful in any online course.

Here are ten top tips to follow if you want to be at the top of your online class:

  1. 1.    Attend class at a set time each week. Although the online class format often allows you to study any time you want to, it’s best to stick to a schedule. Set time aside on your calendar each day or week for studying and doing homework. This will help you avoid the problem of falling too far behind in your online class.
  2. 2.     Keep a calendar showing all of your deadlines. One of the problems that online students often have is that they miss deadlines and even tests. They simply forget to log on to their classes and check when things are due. What a dumb reason to fail an online class! Make sure that you keep a calendar of deadlines on your computer and check it regularly.
  3. 3.     Find a place where you can work consistently. Although it’s nice that you can do your online class work from anywhere, you’ll find that there are places where you don’t work well. Some people get distracted if they try to work at home where their family is. Others work fine at home but get distracted in coffee shops. Find the place that works best for you and stick with it.
  4. 4.     Ask questions. Many online students feel like it’s their responsibility to figure out the material on their own. This is a mistake. Make sure that you regularly ask questions of your teachers and peers so that you fully understand the material that you are studying.
  5. 5.     Lessen your course load if necessary. After a few weeks, you’ll easily be able to tell if you’re taking too many online classes or if you’re going to make it through the semester. If you need to drop classes, do it early in the semester when it doesn’t cost you a lot of money or result in incomplete grades.
  6. 6.     Form a study group. You may find that you do better when you do have some sort of opportunity to meet in person with other people. You can connect with other students in your local area to study together in person. If you’re in a remote area away from other students, try to form an online video conferencing study group.
  7. 7.     Set aside study time before finals. Make sure that you clear your calendar of your other obligations during this important time of the semester. Take a few days off of work and don’t plan any trips or other appointments during this time.
  8. 8.     Be prepared for your computer to fail. To succeed in an online course, you need to have steady, quality access to the Internet. Don’t assume that this will be the case all semester. Plan for problems. Keep backup disks of all of your course materials. Make sure that you have a plan for where you can study and complete tasks at the last minute in case your own computer fails. Public libraries and friends’ computers are top options to have as a backup.
  9. 9.     Don’t give up. If you feel like you’re not doing well in the class, it’s easy to give up. You can just stop signing on to your class online. However, you’re only hurting yourself when you do that. Instead, call your counselor and talk over the situation to find a better solution.
  10. 10.  Take your education seriously. All of these other tips add up to one common sense tip that many students don’t follow when they attend school online. That tip is to take your education seriously. This is a real education. It costs real money. It takes real time. And it results in a real degree. By keeping that in mind, you’ll do what you need to do to succeed in your online classes.

What do you think is the toughest part about succeeding in an online course?

Chase Jenkins is a freelance writer for helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online college education and online school they can choose from to reach their goals.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Running for Office

I found this excellent article on the Website Campus Progress about young people running for office. The youngest candidate I've ever heard of was an 18-year-old (still in high school) who ran for mayor and won. Take a look:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Making Money

Everyone knows the traditional ways of making money in college, such as loans, a job, or scholarships. Today, I'd like to know my readers' most creative or unusual ways (as long as they're  legal) of making money. Post them in the comments and I'll post some of them in a post soon.
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Online Colleges

Online colleges have a lot of benefits, particularly for non-traditional students and students who want to get their degree in a shorter amount of time. In fact, I have heard the argument made that online colleges will soon take over campuses and we will all attend class through the internet within twenty years.
Online education and Financial AidImage via Wikipedia

Frankly, I believe that there are enough benefits to campuses that they will remain popular despite the growth of online colleges. First, despite the Internet's "old age" there are still a lot of flaws that remain to be fixed. It has a bad habit of shutting down at inopportune times. This could prevent students from attending class, or turning in their papers on time. And college libraries allow student access to a lot of resources not available online.

Also, some students learn best by attending class. It allows a structure that encourages them to be more productive and they learn best when they can see the professor lecture.

Finally, for many higher classes after undergrad classes, campus classes are a must. Take psychology or counseling: these require practical experience and would likely work best if they could talk to their professor one on one about it. And imagine if doctors went to medical school online. Its not possible. And if they took all of their undergrad classes online they might take longer to adjust.

What do you think? Do you take online classes? Do you have a preference? What are the pros and cons you have noticed?
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Things I Wish I Knew When Choosing College

In the spirit of college application deadlines, I thought I'd share some wisdom I learned about researching colleges through four years of college.

1. If you plan on studying abroad, where you go matters. Some schools require it, and others strongly support it. Some may encourage it but do little to help you acheive it. If you go to the last kind, you will find it very difficult to raise the necesary funds or even graduating on time.
2. There is such a thing as "free college." An article on Fastweb has a list of schools where you can get the tuition waived. Of course, you still have to pay other fees, but it gets rid of one big cost. While all of the options are fairly competitive, I wished I had tried for one of these.
3. Travel can be a huge expense. Although I live and go to school within the same state, traveling can be difficult and expensive. Going to a closer school could have saved my family a lot of time and money.
4. Look for scholarships early. I did the majority of my scholarship search while I was in school, and as a result did not get as much of a chance to apply for scholarships with large prizes.
5. Start visiting schools early. I know that two years seems like a long time, but most of senior year will be spent applying. I did not want to go to any school that I hadn't visited, so I did not apply to several schools merely because I didn't have the time to visit.
6. You will have to take the SAT/ACT more than once. I only took the ACT once, and was not completely satisfied with my score, but I had not chance to take it again.

I hope this helps everyone who is planning to go to college. Do any of my readers have any tips to add?
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Religious Colleges and Univeristies

Students choose to attend religious colleges or universities for a variety of reasons. Some want to pursue a career relating to religion such as clergy. Others prefer a more conservative environment. Some want a private school and the one they choose such so happens to have a religious affiliation.

Here in the United States, most religious colleges and universities are Christian. Jewish colleges include The American Jewish University, United Talmudical Seminary, and Yeshiva University. I found this article about a Muslim University opening back in 2010.

So readers, I am asking for your help on this one since I go to a public school. Why did you choose to go to a religious school? Do you have the same religious background as the school? Did you look specifically for a religious school? What religion or domination is the school? How would you say it differs from a public school or non-affiliated private school? Who would you recomend your school for? And, finally, do you feel you made the right choice? Feel free to also answer these questions if you are planning on attending a religious university.

For those students who do not attend a religious university, would you ever consider it?

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Best and the Worst Parts about Graduating

A few weeks ago I wrote about my feelings about graduating (here). In some ways, I think the feeling has gotten worse. I (only half-joking) tell my friends that I'm not leaving, and instead plan to hide out in someone's dorm room. Since this isn't the most practical solution, I've decided to find as much positive about graduating as I can. Also, in an attempt to actually deal with my feelings, I will share why I don't want to graduate.

The Good:

Having my own apartment: I will be able to decorate it with much more freedom than I have now, and my stuff will always be there. No more having to run out and buy something I already have or wait for my mom to ship it.

More freedom in food: I love not having to worry about budgeting for groceries, but at the same time, I don't have a lot of options on campus. Grocery shopping will mean that I can eat basically whatever I want and get to experiment more with cooking.

Privacy: I've had really good luck when it comes to roommates, and for that I am grateful. However, it can't be denied that having a roommate, even if they are a dream, has its drawbacks, and a lack of privacy and a certain freedom is one. With my own room, I can have friends and my boyfriend over or watch T.V. without worrying if my roommate is bothered by it.

Having a job: I signed up to get updates from one company I am working for and the other day I heard about a position. One that I knew I would feel confidant holding and I qualified for. It gave me new hope, despite the state of the economy. I honestly can't wait until I have a full-time job and start making money.

The Bad:

Close proximity to my friends. This year, I lived on the same floor as most of m sorority sisters. If I ever felt like hanging out, all I had to do was go to the lounge, right next door to me. In the past most of my friends have lived in the same building, or even the same suite as me. I never lacked for company. This also meant it was pretty easy to get free rides. Now, they'll all be living in different parts of the state, maybe even country, and I won't be able to see them that often.

Responsibility: being in college meant I always had a safety net. I knew I wouldn't get kicked out of the dorm if I couldn't pay rent, or starve if I had no way to get to the grocery store.  I also didn't have to worry about health insurance because I was covered under my mom's policy.

For anyone who will be graduating soon, what are you looking forward to about graduating? What are you dreading?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How to Be Well-Liked in Your Classes

College Football Hall of Fame side entrance.Image via Wikipedia
While in college, one of the most important things you will do is study. If you are smart, your biggest goal will not be to become the best liked person on campus. If the latter just comes naturally, of course, than more power to you. That being said, my title seems pointless. The goal of this post is not so much so that you will be popular among your classmates so much as it is to give you tips so that you do not make their college career more difficult.

1. Before you ask a question, decide whether it benefits anyone in the class other than you. If it is something that the teacher has gone over more than twice, or about a situation that applies only to you, wait until class is over to talk to the professor one-on-one or go see him or her during office hours. On that note, keep the "What if" scenarios to a minimum and keep them reasonable.

2. College is a great place for debate, and everyone has their own opinion. However, the middle of class is not the time or place to get aggressive. If you and another student or the professor disagree, handle it like the adults you are and discuss things calmly. If necessary, agree to disagree.

3. Before you go on any kind of tangent or attempt to steer the professor down another track, decide whether or not what you have to say is relevant, at least in part, to the class. For example, your feelings about the nation's exercise habits may be a very good thing to share during health class, but not in the middle of marketing class.

4. Respect your fellow students and the professor. There will be annoying classmates no matter what your major is but resist the urge to roll your eyes every time they open their mouths, or talk about them behind their backs. This goes for your professor as well. Don't interrupt anyone while they are talking, have patience, give everyone a chance, they might surprise you.

Readers, is there any advice that you would add to the list?
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