Taking courses online can be a lifesaver if you need to fit your studies around life and work obligations.
As an online student, you can enjoy flexibility in when you study. Still, it’s important to dedicate plenty of time to review material, complete assignments, engage with your instructor and classmates and take tests.
Taking your college courses online is convenient. But fitting your studies into your busy life still requires strategic planning. Take a look at these examples of how students with different responsibilities and schedules merge their studies into their schedules and stay on track.
Full-time worker/part-time student and single caregiver
Though I work full time, I have returned to school to finish the degree I started before my kids were born.
There are days when I feel overwhelmed by the demands of working full time, going to school part time and raising two beautiful boys. Normally, I turn to my parents for guidance, but neither went to college. It will be worth it, though, when I complete my associate degree and get a better job.
I should have listened to my advisor last semester and taken only two classes, but I took three. I failed one, which messed up my GPA. This semester, I am following her advice: taking two classes, blocking off time to study and keeping a weekly schedule for work, home and school on one calendar. I set assignment reminders on my phone.
Typical day: Get up, get kids to daycare, drive to work, work eight hours, drive home, pick kids up from day care, cook dinner, clean up, then get the kids in bed. Monday night, I focus on Math; Wednesday night, on English. I have set aside nine hours to study on weekends. Following a classmate’s advice, I added an hour on Sunday night to review assignments and submissions. I also added an hour early Monday morning to plan my week. It has really made a difference in my grades.
Typical week: I dedicate six hours to “attending” my classes. I also spend 10-11 hours studying, completing assignments, reading the textbook and writing papers.
Full-time student/part-time worker
When I went away to college last fall, I didn’t realize how easy it would be to slack off. I took two online classes there, but it was hard to motivate myself to log in each week to review and complete assignments.
My brother said I should come home and attend Perimeter College for a year to get my GPA back up. My parents said I could move back in with them and they’d pay for one more semester of college before I have to start taking loans.This semester, I’m taking two online and two on-campus courses and am starting to get used to my new schedule. I also am working part time.
Even though I attend his class in person, my chemistry teacher took time to show me how to log in to iCollege and do things like submit assignments.
Typical week: On Monday and Wednesday, I go to 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. classes on the Alpharetta Campus. In between classes, I go to the computer lab to log in to my two online classes. Logging in from the campus computer lab helps me stay on track. Following classes, I work from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I sleep in, but after that, I read my textbooks and do assignments. I usually work all day Friday and on Saturday morning. After that, I spend weekend time on my online classes.
Fully online student
I took dual enrollment classes in high school, and by the time I graduated, I had 15 college credits. Now I take all my classes online at Perimeter College.
My first online class was my favorite. We had the best professor! Her course was easy to navigate; she had fun videos, group work and weekly challenge questions.
When I first signed up for a science class, I didn’t realize I had to go to campus for some labs. Luckily, I saw it on the course syllabus, immediately called the online science department, and they helped me change to an online lab. I learned that students must always read the course notes in PAWS.
I am taking five classes this semester. Soon, I will graduate and go to Georgia State’s Atlanta campus to study Game Design and Development.
Typical day: Get up, eat, then start working on my classes. If I need a quiet place, I stay at home. But sometimes, I go to a coffee shop down the street.
Typical week: I spend 15 hours per week in the courses and set aside more than 15 hours more of study time. Sometimes I take a break on Tuesday or Thursday, but I find that logging into my classes each day keeps me on track.
Georgia State University’s Perimeter College has been pioneering convenient, affordable and flexible degree programs for decades.
Staying on top of your educational expenses doesn’t have to be difficult. The Office of Student Accounts provides services and solutions to help you meet your financial responsibilities while pursuing your educational goals.