An online master’s degree could be just what you need to take your career to the next level. You don’t even need to turn your life upside down to earn a master’s degree online – you can take classes wherever you are, at whatever times work best for you.
But can you get as much out of an online degree as an in-person one? You can if you play your cards right. You have to manage your time well, and take your coursework seriously. Make learning and remembering easier by doing all your studying in the same place. Make self-care a priority, no matter how much work you have to get done, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
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Manage Your Time Well
Good time management skills will make or break your online master’s program. Part of the appeal of online master’s programs is that you get to set your own schedule. But, the downside is that you do have to actually set a schedule. You have to sit down with your syllabi every semester and write out important deadlines on your calendar. You have to schedule study time for yourself each week. You have to be good at blocking out times for studying, social and family obligations, and self-care time, and you have to be diligent about holding yourself accountable to that schedule.
Take Your Coursework Seriously
Online courses aren’t easier or less serious because they’re delivered in a non-traditional format. To get the most out of your online courses, take them seriously. You have to show up and engage with the material, listen to your lectures, and do your readings. You have to complete your assignments. You have to have the self-discipline to get the work done and meet your deadlines with minimal external pressure. You have to take your coursework seriously if you want to succeed and really learn the skills.
Give Yourself a Study Space
Studying in the same place every time and taking your exam in that place can make it easier to remember what you learned. Give yourself a dedicated study space that you can go to every time you study. Maybe it’s the kitchen table or you have room in a back bedroom for a desk of your own. Maybe you prefer to go to the library for a quiet atmosphere free of distractions.
Wherever you go, make sure you have access to everything you need easily when you’re there. Keep your space or your bag organized so you can use all your time effectively and won’t have to waste any time on looking for notes or study aids. Take the time to make notes and flashcards, study guides, outlines, concept maps, or whatever helps you study.
It’s easy to let self-care fall to the wayside when you’re working hard towards a goal and juggling a lot of other responsibilities besides. But the time you take for self-care now will save you more time in the future that you won’t have to spend sick, burnt out, or exhausted. In order to be in top form and feeling your best, you need to exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and spend time with family or friends, or just with yourself. Making time for self-care will mean that you’ll be alert, healthy, and full of energy when you come to your studies. It will put you in the best position to learn efficiently.
Get Help When You Need It
There’s no shame in asking for help when you’re struggling with something. University resources typically extend to tutoring for students who need extra help in specific subjects, like math or writing. Don’t be afraid to make use of your school’s writing center or learning center.
You can also go to your professor’s office hours with questions about concepts from the class or for help with assignments. Your professors would love to answer your questions about their field and help you grapple with concepts from the course material. Take advantage of your professors’ office hours or, if you can’t make it to their office hours, ask to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions.
Earning a master’s degree online can be just as rewarding as earning one in person, and you can get just as much out of it. Start looking into online master’s programs now – the sooner you start, the sooner you can finish your degree and move up in your career!