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More Tips On Completing Your Online Degree Program Successfully

Mar 1, 2008
Just as the popularity of online education has spiked, so has the number of online education program dropouts. Many professionals and busy parents who do not otherwise have time to complete a traditional degree are lured into distant learning programs because of the convenience of online study that allows them to complete coursework at their own pace. However, as an added element to an already busy schedule, many distance learning students find that their stress level greatly increases. This stress is caused by a variety of factors, including the often heavier-than-normal workload as many distance education courses are compressed to enable a faster completion time. This being said, how can one overcome the added stress and successfully complete an online degree?

Don't take life too seriously. As a distance learner, purpose to have fun and enjoy your learning experience. Make sure you have adequate breaks in between your study sessions to talk on the phone, mingle with your family, grab a snack, or even read something humorous and unrelated to your curriculum. Take time to laugh out the stress. If you have a way to chat with other students taking the same course, take advantage of the opportunity to do so and build healthy relations online.

It is very important to enroll in a program or course of which you are passionate. There is a higher likelihood of dropping out of an online degree program if you are in it solely for the money. It has been reported that students who go to school to feed their passion are more likely to succeed. Before you enroll, do a self-evaluation of your goals and then purpose to pursue only those courses that you have a personal interest in.

Another way to alleviate stress is to make sure that your computer equipment is in good working order. This point cannot be stressed more. Many online students have experienced a computer breakdown or malfunction the day of a final exam, or when a project is due. Installing anti-virus software like Norton to weed out viruses that may disrupt the speed and workability of your computer is important. You may also want to upgrade your memory if your computer is older than three years.

Along with the "health" of your computer, your own physical conditional is important. Lack of sleep and unhealthy eating habits can cause your system to crash when it is put under stress. Ensure that you are getting adequate sleep, eat healthy foods, and set aside time for physical exercise. One of the best (and cheapest) exercises is walking. Take a break from your evening study and go for a walk down the street.

A decade ago, online students formed the minority of the total student body. It used to be that taking an online class was for those who didn't quite meet the standard set for traditional college education. These attitudes have changed, and have largely been replaced by an army of online education students whose evenings are spent behind high-speed computers completing various curricular assignments. Online education is here to stay as more and more colleges are churning out online courses in just about career field under the sun. For many universities now offering online courses, after weighing the pros and cons of online education, they now realize the innumerable benefits associated with this form of education.

Online courses have the obvious benefit of allowing student to complete courses from the comfort of their own home, as opposed to time and money spent in a commute to a residential campus. Another great advantage of online classes is the structure that comes with the online flexibility, meeting the needs of busy men and women can who would otherwise not have time to complete a traditional degree. Students can work at their own pace by taking an online class, yet still have the support of the staff and faculty of the university to see them through each course toward the successful completion of their degree. Traditional curriculums can be long and tedious, and often tend to consume more resources than one has actually budgeted.

Most of us are aware that the best colleges are concentrated in specific parts of the world or nation. In the U.S., the best colleges tend to be in New England and the Southern States, although there are excellent colleges in practically every corner of the U.S. With online classes, a student can now attend a top college without ever having to relocate. The University of Phoenix for instance, has gone on to become the largest university in the U.S. in terms of student enrollment. Anyone from anywhere can now attend the University of Phoenix, and many other national colleges are now following suit.

Online courses generally take a shorter time to complete. The academic experts who design online home curriculum do so with busy professionals in mind. These students have specific professional goals and aspirations, such as additional training toward a promotion. Online courses are designed with this in mind, and therefore they take a shorter time to complete. It is not entirely uncommon to hear of students completing a four-year degree program in two years or less!

Online classes tend to cost less because of the shortened course duration. Students who attend traditional colleges have to pay for transportation, or room and board, especially if they are attending college in a different location then the area they are from. Books are also an additional cost, as well as meals away from home. Online students have access to online libraries as well as e-books, which can result in a considerable savings, and food costs are also lower for online students because they study from home.
About the Author
Ronald Kennedy is Executive Director of Distance Learning for Liberty University. Overseeing a school with over 22,000 students has given Ron a special insight into the mind of the online student. Ron can be contacted at Liberty University Online or at Ron@RonaldKennedy.com.
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