As most colleges transition to online learning, many students are now navigating a remote educational experience for the first time. Even though this school year may not look exactly how you had imagined, you can still make it a great one! Keep reading because we’ve got all the tips you need to crush those virtual classes.
Get your money’s worth
Be sure to take full advantage of all your campus resources, from online library research databases to virtual counseling and advising. Just because you aren’t attending in person, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to receive the same support and guidance you’re paying for. Tutoring is most likely still available from your school, but if not you can still receive help from other online services.
Don’t forget that college is supposed to be fun! Colleges across the country are organizing all types of virtual and socially distanced activities to keep students engaged such as drive-in movies, virtual scavenger hunts, remote workout groups, and online trivia nights. If your school doesn’t offer events like these—organize it yourself! Round up a group of friends and get creative. Chances are they’ll be more than excited to participate.
Stay in the loop
Be sure to sign up for every type of campus email, text or phone notification possible so that you don’t miss out on crucial class info. You’ll need to be informed on any on-campus (or off) changes that could suddenly roll out. Plus, teachers may be lenient with students who miss due dates in the early weeks of virtual learning, but as the year rolls on, “I didn’t see the e-mail” probably won’t cut it.
Even if you aren’t the most organized person in the world, being able to schedule and prioritize your virtual lectures, Zoom calls, assignments and due dates is crucial to your success as an online college student. Thankfully, there are a ton of apps* that can help. Start on these early (trust us) so you’re well-versed on how to make the most of them.
If at all possible, stick to a consistent schedule, even if your class doesn’t require specific times for you to be online. You’ll find it much easier to accomplish homework and find time to study if you’re doing it the same time every day.
*Please check official app website for details
Kick procrastination to the curb
This is probably the toughest one—for all of us. Don’t wait until the last minute! Even if you can only work on your assignment a little at a time, 5-minute chunks can add up to a whole lot of progress. Use a planner to help you compartmentalize when you’ll work on each assignment. Calendar out each project so it doesn’t build up. By splitting your work into smaller goals, you can break up with procrastination for good.
Celebrate your wins!
It can be hard to reward yourself. Sometimes you feel like you’re not working hard enough. But it’s important to acknowledge when you’ve crushed it. Try some simple wins: ordering your favorite pizza after a night of studying, or rewarding yourself with a few extra hours binge-watching your latest show when you hit that essay deadline early. Small rewards will keep you motivated and celebrate your successes.
Don’t be a noob
If this is your first time on Zoom or a similar online platform, you’ll want to brush up on video chat etiquette. Be sure to mute your livestream if you need to grab a snack, use the restroom, or shush your barking dog. If you’ve got roommates wandering around behind you, consider finding an appropriate Zoom background (just make sure it’s not obnoxious or distracting). Make sure you have plenty of water and class materials nearby, and dress as if you were going to class in person. Now, you’re ready to online learn like a pro!
Make a study spot
No one feels motivated to learn with a messy desk. Carve out a space that is just for your studies and keep it clean and organized. It is best if your study spot is somewhere quiet and private so you can focus, but if you live in a shared space it may take some creativity (and some noise-cancelling headphones) to make this work. Once you’ve found a spot, keep all your school materials nearby and make sure you have good lighting plus a comfortable chair.
Notes are still king
This tip is important no matter where you are attending your classes, but it is still worth mentioning. When watching online lectures or videos and reviewing other course materials, it is always a good idea to keep a Word Doc open on your computer to record all of the important information. Side note: Taking notes also helps you stay focused during lecture, and not distracted by your surroundings. Plus, you never know when you may need info again for an essay, project or other class assignment. Labeling each document in the same format (date and topic) will help make the info easier to find later.
With most campus libraries or bookstores closed, and textbooks in high demand, it is more important than ever to order early. As soon as you receive your class assignments, place an order for your books to ensure they will arrive on time. Don’t forget to use Chegg Books to find less expensive rentals for all your classes.
Reach out to your professor
Teachers love students who are active and engaged, especially now during the pandemic. If you want to stand out in class and ensure your efforts are recognized, it never hurts to reach out to the professor via email or virtual office hours. And if you’re having trouble, don’t be afraid to ask for help or request feedback.
Connect with your classmates
Most online learning platforms have an internal messaging system or discussion board where you can chat with fellow students. It can help with the isolation of virtual school to be able to communicate with others who are feeling just as tired of social distancing as you are. You could even set up virtual study sessions to go over class material together.
Even though 2020 has been hard on all of us, with a little extra creativity and effort you can still have a successful remote college experience! Just think of the stories you’ll be telling your grandkids one day.