Beginning a degree program, whether online or in person, can be an exciting time for any new student. If you’re considering advancing your education soon, it’s likely you’re already making big plans about how to put yourself in the position to succeed in college.
Regardless of whether you’ll be attending an online graduate school program or studying business or literature on campus, there are many ways to give yourself better odds for success. For five ways to give yourself a great chance at academic success, read on.
1. Speak with admissions ahead of time
Earning a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or career certification successfully takes discipline. No matter what type of program you’ll be pursuing or whether you’ll be working in an online program or toward a graduate degree with clinical studies, the first step in academic success is to understand your school’s expectations.
For example, maybe you’re planning on earning your degree at Merrimack College and have already read Merrimack College’s brochures and other admission information. The next step could be to contact Merrimack College’s admissions team and ask about any specific requirements your undergraduate degree program has for students in your specific program.
In reality, not all faculty members work the same and have the same expectations. However, you may find that different departments or schools within the college have their own academic guidelines. Knowing these ahead of time will put you in the position of higher achievement at any school you attend.
2. Build a support system at home
Even more so if you’ll be earning your degree through an online program, it’s important that you have a conversation with the people you live with about your academic goals. Consider setting up a schedule where you’ll be able to study and identifying a quiet space in your home where you can complete assignments.
Trying to work and learn in a chaotic environment, even with people you love, can put a real damper on studies. For the best chance of academic success, you’ll want to have the people in your home understand and support your goals.
3. Get plenty of rest
Sleep is critical to academic success. Many students, especially those in graduate programs working full-time jobs, make the mistake of skipping sleep to fit in studying for those electives with raising a family and other obligations. If you hope to succeed with all your responsibilities, you’ll want to plan out ways you can get a good night’s sleep every night. The more rested you are, the better you’ll be able to perform.
4. Make connections
Even if it sometimes feels like you are, you’re not alone in your degree program. From professors with office hours to the peers you attend class with, it’s a good idea to reach out to your connections as you move through your degree program. Between forming study groups and having people who share your experiences juggling multiple assignments, the peer group you form at school will pay off in the long run.
5. Eat healthily and embrace healthy habits
Like anything, moderation is key. Be sure to form healthy habits during your degree program. You’ll want to eat healthily and plan scheduled breaks. Like with the sleep you’ll need to make it through core courses successfully, you’ll be better prepared to prove your competency with regular self-care routines such as eating healthy and making the most of semester breaks.
By the time graduation day comes, you might be surprised just how quickly your degree program passed by. In starting off on the right foot with a solid plan for high academic achievement, your career path ahead will be wide open to possibilities and advancement. Congratulations on your decision to pursue academic accolades and achievements. Best of luck in your degree program.
Use Available Resources
While it may feel isolating at times, you’re not alone in your pursuit of an online degree. Many student services can help you stay on track toward graduation. Whether you need academic help (e.g., tutoring, research skills), career advice (e.g., mentoring, counseling), or assistance with personal issues (e.g., physical and mental health), resources are available. Don’t hesitate to reach out to these offices to start a conversation about possible solutions.
Remember that your school wants you to succeed and is prepared to provide the support necessary to get you there. If you’re not sure what resources are available, ask your instructors and academic advisor; they can share recommendations and connect you with the appropriate assistance.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s critical that you ask questions in your online classes. If you’re having trouble moving forward for any reason — for example, maybe you don’t understand an assignment’s instructions, want clarification on due dates, or simply need more information about a specific concept — take the initiative to reach out to your instructor.
Even tough topics can and should be handled at a distance if they’re hindering your academic progress.
Make the Most of Your Opportunity to Study Online
If you’re considering an online program or are already enrolled in one, chances are you’ve got specific goals in mind that will benefit from education. Ultimately, online learning is an investment in your future.
Even if you’re only taking online courses because of the pandemic, use this opportunity to really hone your study skills and independent learning. Commit yourself to the process and practice proven study strategies so you can get the most out of your hard work and eventually transform the future you want into reality.
As one survey participant wrote, “There were days I didn’t believe I would make it. But I did. I kept at it and made time for every aspect of my life. It was well worth it in the end.”